The Twin Captains
A Commedia

Authors: Members of the Golden Stag Players
based on the Commedia Scenario by the same name,
written by Flaminio Scala1
Performed at: Commedia dell'Austin, September 8-15, 2001
AND West Kingdom Twelfth Night, January 5, AS XXXVI (2002)

Synopsis:
The basic premise of this is sort of vaguely similar to Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (the author of the translations of the scenarios, Flaminio Scala, believes this may have had some influence on Shakespeare's play). There are two Capitanos who are twin brothers, separated for years. One is living in Rome, the other elsewhere. While the one brother leaves to find the other, leaving his wife for 6 years, his brother comes to Rome. Amazingly enough, they have servants who look alike. The first Captain's wife gets lonely, and starts seeing a local young lad. This causes friction on several levels, and of course things get real interesting, as the two captains keep missing each other, right up until the end. When they finally meet, the fight that ensues is very amusing indeed ...

Play 24?
Why are we calling this "Play 24", when it's the same show as "Play 22"? Well, if you read on, you will see that we re-cast the play a bit, and with different people playing some of the parts, we re-wrote parts of the script. In addition, since we took this to the Commedia dell'Austin Festival (see below) the script has been altered based on things we learned at the festival.

The Performances:
The Golden Stag Players were invited to Commedia dell'Austin, an international Commedia festival held in Austin, Texas. Due to time constraints, we decided we would revive a play we had done in the past, rather than attempt to create a new one.

We went with The Twin Captains again because among other things, it is the best Commedia we've done. This is not to even mention we had costumes and masks for the characters done. While with re-casting in a few places we had to make one new mask, and some different costumes, that made things a LOT easier.

To see details about the Commedia dell'Austin experience, from various view points, click on this link which will take you to the "logs" written by members of the Golden Stag Players during the trip. There are photos and drawings as well ... Commedia dell'Austin Logs ...

During the play one of the characters throws some coins down on the stage, and if all works right, some of them end up in the audience. She says "What are these “Golden Stag” coins? I can’t spend this worthless foreign currency! Are you sure this is even real money?" This is what they look like. If you watch the show at 12th Night and manage to get one, keep it! It's a souvenir.

While we were in Austin I tried to give coins to Aaron and his crew of folk who worked so hard to make the festival happen, I hope I got one to each of the members of I Sebastiani who were there (I tried to) ... I almost gave one each to Olly Crick and Gian Giacomo Colli, who were some of the instructors there, but I kept getting sidetracked.


Golden Stag Player Coins

Twelfth Night
After we came back from Austin, some of the members of the troupe took it upon themselves to work on the script, making it a bit more "coherent" in a few places where there were inconsistencies, and such.

We then took a couple of months off, as we needed some down-time -- we'd been rehearsing and then performing from June up through the middle of September, and we didn't want folks to burn out. We went back into rehearsal in early November to get the show ready for 12th Night.

At Twelfth Night, before the play was to go on, was the first court of the day. Among the many awards given by Their Majesties Hauoc and Ginevra, was a series of awards to members of the Golden Stag Players -- several folk were admitted to the Order of the Rose Leaf (Seamus, Iricus, Kaell, Nightshade, Eoin and Michael), all done in a group. The rest of us were called forward to witness, which was unusual. However, after the Rose Leaves were done, the rest of the troupe was called on stage, and the Golden Stag Players were made Pillars of the West. When that was done (and we were all stunned by it ...), the troupe was dismissed but told not to go far, then I (Hirsch) was called back onstage and made a Baron of the Court of the West. We were all in a bit of a state of shock after all of this, as you might imagine.

At the end of Court, Their Majesties suggested that people attend the play, which was very nice. They were wonderful and very supportive, and they'll be a tough act to follow ...

The actual performance went well, despite poor acoustics in a hall filled with people, many of whom were not watching the play, and with a large number of young children up front (who were really enjoying the show, but were quite loud ...). As an interesting note, it appeared that we filled most of the chairs in front of the stage, which court didn't manage to do ... that's kind of a nice ego boost. The timing of the actors was good, and everyone was "on their game", which is nice as this is the final performance we'll be doing of this show ...

Special Thanks:
We have several folk to thank for their assistance in helping us out with this particular performance. We've never gone "on the road" in the big way needed to go to Austin for this festival, and several folk helped us out, particularly in the finance department:

Incidents:
During the rehearsal on August 5, Seamus managed to mis-time one of the parts of a pratfall and sprained Rose's ankle. She's ok, but was in quite a bit of pain for a bit there ... oh well.

After Commedia dell'Austin the GSP took a break. During that time Teresa's health which had been giving her problems while in Austin, took a turn for the worst. As we started into rehearsals Teresa decided it would better if she stepped out of the role she'd been doing at that point, and have someone take it over. We put Ilia Filia Symeon into the role, and she's been doing an admirable job, although she's rather nervous (this is her first time on stage as an actor). (Teresa's had surgery at the time I'm writing this, and is recovering nicely in the hospital, and hopefully will be fine after ...)

Also between the Festival and starting back into rehearsal a few folk got together and did some script doctoring, so the script will be slightly different for the 12th Night performance than it was in Austin. (The big change is at the beginning, but there are some minor changes throughout.)

The year before, we did a get together on Thanksgiving Sunday for those who could make it, and had food (there are some good cooks in this group), and a fun get together. Well, we decided to do it again this year. There are photos from this at: Thanksgiving Sunday Photos.

During the performance at Twelfth Night in January, a whole bunch of young children were sitting on the floor down in front. They were really enjoing the play, actually getting a bit too boisterous (where were their parents?). They added a nice touch, and the actors actually played with them a bit. At the point that Anne's character throws some coins out into the audience the kids went nuts and scrambled for them. This got them even more excited, since only about three of them actually got coins ... so after the play was over, I went to them and handed coins out to the ones that hadn't managed to get one, because some of them were really upset about it ... oh well. It was fun.

Online "Busking":
Partway into the rehearsal schedule for 12th Night, a few members of the troupe decided to do some "busking" online -- some goofing around in commedia characters on SCA-West (an email list server), partially as a way to just play around, but also to drum up interest in the play.

The conversations got quite interesting ... you can read the whole set of conversations between various characters here: Online Busking.

The only problem with all of these conversations online was that we had no good solution. So, what we did was to contact the constables (Wulfstan, Ivan, and Eirik), and worked out an arrangement with them. During the Curtain Call, Fionn (who was our stage crew for the play) came out with a Brighella mask and tried to get in on the curtain call as Brighella. If you read the messages in the link shown above, you'll see that Brighella was claiming to be the true proprietor of the players. I came on stage with the constables and had them arrest Brighella -- they hauled him away, and we finished the curtain call. It was a nice touch, and many thanks go to the constables for playing along with us on it (I also gave them each a GSP coin ...).

 Photos:

 Video:
We don't have a video from the Commedia dell'Austin festival, but have one from the 12th Night performance. Risa (who ran the camera) did a nice job with it, and despite the sound problems in the hall, you can hear most of the dialog on stage.

 DVD: Available (12th Night performance only), contact Hirsch for details (probably $5-10, just to cover the cost of the discs, the case, etc. and any postage would need to be tacked on).

 The Script:
The script is based on a Scenario from the book by Flamino Scala, as noted elsewhere. The Scenario is copyrighted, so we cannot publish it ...

The Program:
For Commedia dell'Austin we didn't have a program printed up. However, the cast is listed below, if you look at the character Colombina you will see that there are two names -- the first is Teresa, who did the part in Austin, the second is Ilia who did the role for 12th Night. For 12th Night we did do a program, and some of the silliness from the program is listed below.

PrologueHirsch von Henford
Pantalone, a VenetianSeamus Padraig O’Baiogheallain Mì-nàrach
Flaminia, his daughterOriginal Nightshade
Colombina, his servantTeresa le Marchant (Commedia dell'Austin)
Ilia Filia Symeon (Twelfth Night)
Doctor GratianoEoin of Fell Hold
Isabella, his daughterRose de Le Mans
Franceschina, his servantMargrethe Astrid Ravn
Oratio, a gentlemanKæll of the Broken Tower
Fiorinetta, owner of the inn “The Horse and Gate”Anne of Ockham
Captain SpaventoJuan Santiago
Trivilino, his servantWulfric of Creigull
Flavio, his friendMichael of Worcester
The Stranger-Captain, twin brother of Captain SpaventoIricus le Ferur
Arlecchino, his servantCharles Ravenstone (Bonefinder)
Camilla - the "Placard Lady"Aldith Angharad St. George

Support Crew
It takes a lot of people to do this!

DirectorHirsch von Henford
Script AuthorsThe Cast and Crew
ProducersRose de Le Mans, Juan Santiago
Hirsch von Henford, Aldith Angharad St. George
Stage ManagerMichael of Worcester
Stage CrewFionnbharr O’Cathain
Set Design and Construction, PaintingBent Nail Productions
(Seamus Padraig O’Baiogheallain Mě-nŕrach
Juan Santiago, Eoin of Fell Hold, Rose de Le Mans)
PropertiesThe Cast
CostumesThe Cast
Rose de Le Mans, Aldith Angharad St. George
MasksJuan Santiago, Rose de Le Mans, The Cast
Costume and Mask DesignsRose de Le Mans
Aldith Angharad St. George
Gopher and Generally Really Helpful PersonKiara nic Eoin
Camera OperatorRisa
T-shirt Sales Michael of Worcester
Iana of Whitecliff

 

In addition to the usual cast/crew listings, we had some other "stuff" crammed into the program:

Special Thanks
To everyone who helped the Golden Stag Players attend Commedia dell’Austin in September, 2001. People helped in ways they may not even have realized, including: purchasing coffee and goodies at Stagbucks Coffee Emporium at Spring Collegium; purchasing Kingdom of the West badge t-shirts, or Golden Stag Player t-shirts; and we had some anonymous donations as well. People we can thank by name are: From Stagbucks: Talitha von Kopke, Garick von Köpke, Thorfinn Magnusson, Catherine Lorraine, Wulfric of Creigull, Solveig Ivarsdottir, Ivan Ivanovitch Streltsov; Cash Donations: Elspeth the Semstress of Dunkeld, Carolyn Wright, and two Anonymous donations.

The Commedia dell’Austin festival was a great learning experience for all of us, and hopefully the show you are about to see will reflect some of what we learned while there. For more details on the festival, we have a special site with photos, logs, sketches ...: Commedia dell'Austin Logs and Photos

Special thanks to Teresa le Marchant, who created the character of Colombina in context of this show, despite health issues, went to the festival in Austin and did the part. She’s not in this performance due to her health, we all hope and pray that she’ll be better soon. Even more special thanks to Ilia Filia Symeon for stepping in and filling Teresa’s role for her first performance with us at “the last minute”. Ilia had evinced an interest in performing, but we’re pretty sure she didn’t intend for her first show to be this soon! And of course none of this does justice to Eoin of Fell Hold, Teresa’s husband, or their children (Kiara nic Eoin and Morgan mac Eoin) who have been heavy-duty supporters of her and us!

And of course we had to have some sort of biographical silliness:

The GSP Guide to Weights and Measures
(Listed in order of character’s first appearance on stage after the Prologue)

Warning: Do not attempt to measure the velocity of the GSP. If you do they may disappear, since according to Heisenberg they’ll have no idea where they are.

Hirsch – A variable used to accumulate the amount of blame that can be heaped upon a single person regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Hirsch von Henford, for whom this unit of measurement is named, is 18,161,000,000 angstroms tall.

Aldith – A percentage measurement of trivia generally categorized as amusing but otherwise useless. For example, knowing all the lyrics to the Super Chicken theme song would be an aldith. Most people measure their trivia knowledge in percentages of an aldith. Aldith Angharad St. George, for whom this unit of measure is named, is 1083.73 nib-widths tall (assuming a nib of 1.5mm).

Rose – A rose is a measure of fragrance. It is the parts per million of Indigo dye vat needed to knock 5 set construction crew members unconscious. The rose is named after Rose de Le Mans, who is 5.9308 x 10^-9 light seconds tall.

Margrethe – aka the “Meg Factor”. The measurement of the times within a specified month that a person is carded (age is checked against the age of 21), compared to the number of years that the carding is off. A “meg factor” is given as a ratio. For example, if attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages you are carded three times in a month, and the guess is off by 5 years (averaged) – in other words the person doing the carding guesses that you are under 21 but you are actually 26, the ratio would appear as a “3:5 meg factor”. Margrethe Astrid Ravn, for whom this measurement is named, is 9.189 x 10^-4 nautical miles tall.

Anne – The anne is a knitting term – it refers to the amount of time it takes to create a pair of mittens. A scarf might take 2.3 annes, a single mitten would of course be 1/2 of an anne, and so on. The anne is named after Anne of Ockham, who is 16.25 hands tall.

Nightshade – The nightshade is a measure of alcoholic tolerance, equal to about 3 alcoholic drinks. Most people measure their alcoholic tolerances in multiples of nightshades. The nightshade is named after Original Nightshade, who is 0.077 chains tall.

Ilia – The ilia is a unit of time – it is the amount of time from when someone says something complimentary about Ilia to the time that she turns a brilliant shade of red. Ilia Filia Symeon, for whom the ilia is named, is exactly one fathom tall.

Kæll – A kæll is a measure of time used to delineate how long it takes for a person to shift modes between fun loving actor/comedian and serious lawyer. Even faster than the iricus, this transformation has recently been observed by members of the GSP with almost frightening results. But we’re grateful anyway. Kæll of the Broken Tower, for whom the kæll is named, is 54.0 digits tall.

Seamus – The seamus is the measure of the number of times on average that help is called for on what piece goes where or how something fits together on the building of a set. The average seamus is 3. So for example, “Wow we are getting better at putting the Twin Captains set together – it only took 3 seamus’s that time.” (This would be equivalent to calling for help 9 times.) The seamus is named after Seamus Padraig O’Baiogheallain mì-Nàrach who is 1.6 ells tall.

Eoin – A unit of work as it applies to woodworking, the eoin is a much larger unit than the erg: eleventy-jillion ergs = 1 eoin of woodworking. For example “Man, nice sets -- bet it took a buttload of eoins to build them puppies.” (Eoins should not be confused with another unit of work, the argh, which is the amount of force exacted on a thumb when you miss the nail.) The measurement of a buttload is not defined here, you should consult the standard reference works* for it. The eoin is named after Eoin of Fell Hold, who is 11.46 shaftments tall.

Bonefinder – The ratio of the number of lines improvised compared to the number of lines remembered in one script. An example might be 10:5. A standard bonefinder unit is usually in the ratio of 2 to 1, so 10:5 would be 2 bonefinders. Charles Ravenstone, for whom the bonefinder unit is named, is 187.96 centimetres tall.

Iricus – Approximately 2.5 seconds, this is the amount of time it takes to recognize the make and model of any particular car or truck. Most people take several hundred iricus’ to accomplish this task. The iricus is named after Iricus le Ferur, who is 4.0 cubits tall.

Michael – The number of objects that can be juggled for a 3 minute time-frame. This value is usually 4, but sometimes reaches 5 as a standard “michael”. One could claim that it should be averaged to 4.5, but the measurements committee decided rounding down to 4 was a more standard form (juggling 1/2 of an object is just too weird for most people). If a single michael is 4 objects, then 2 michaels would be 8 objects, and so on. One can express michaels in fractions, so a person who can juggle 6 objects for a three minute period of time would be doing 1.5 michaels. The michael is named after Michael of Worcester, who is 6.09 Samanthas tall (“Samantha” is Michael’s cat, 11” at the shoulder).

Wulfric – Expressed as a percentage, the likelihood that an obscure research item is a prevarication. The more plausible the statement, the closer the wulfric approaches one hundred. Wulfric of Creigull, for whom this measurement is named, is 2.12725 baguettes tall. (A baguette length is defined by French bureaucrats as 80 cm.)

Juan – The only one of anything. For example, there aren’t any other Giant Rats of Sumatra, hence, there is juan Giant Rat of Sumatra. Likewise, there aren’t any other Magician--Laurels of the West Kingdom, hence, there is juan Magician-Laurel of the West Kingdom. The juan is named after Juan Santiago, who is 1.1879548169870750515911806234387e-11 Astronomical Units (AUs) tall.

Fionn – A unit of measure for the distance traveled between a joke and a punchline. Generally, for a joke to be any good the distance should be one fionn or less. Unfortunately the measurement changes from day to day, making it difficult to come up with a standard distance. Fionnbharr O’Cathain, for whom this unit of measure is named after, has a height which subtends 1.0186 degrees of arc at 100 metres (plus or minus 2 arc-seconds).

* Standard measurement references include:
How Much IS A Buttload?, Colin de Bray and Eric Foxworthy, Woodwrong Shop Productions, 1992
The SCA Guide to Set Building in the Rain, Juan Santiago, Bent Nail Press, 1995

Height measurements for the members of the Golden Stag Players have been attained from a variety of sources (including some rather fertile imaginations), not limited to these websites, although they were quite useful and informative:
http://www.ex.ac.uk/cimt/dictunit/ccleng.htm
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/

1 Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte: Flaminio Scala's Il Teatro delle favole rappresentative, Translated by Henry F. Salerno, Limelight Editions, ISBN 0-87810-133-4.