The Jealous Baker

Written by the Golden Stag Players
based on the Commedia Scenario
by Francesco Cotticelli, Anne Heck and Thomas Heck
Translated by Lanham1

Performed at: West Kingdom Twelfth Night, January 8, AS XXXIX (2005)

This is a Commedia Dell'Arte script, so anything can happen. In the Tuscany province of Italy lies a town called Livorno. On a street in Livorno is a bakery run by Pulcinella. Pulcinella the Baker is married to Rosetta, who happens to be a bit ... friendly, shall we say? On either side of the bakery are the homes of the gentlemen Tartaglia and Dottore. They both have daughters, and Dottore also has a son. Flour ... oh, and love ... is in the air, as Rosetta makes Pulcinella a cuckold ... again.

The play takes place in Livorno, Italy which is in Tuscany. (Unfortunately the website linked to here doesn't have photos ...)

Research and Design:
The designs for the costumes and masks are based on similar works we have used before2, the drawings of the costumes and masks have been done by Aldith Angharad St. George. This is what we currently have, after the performance we should have photos of the actors in character with masks (for those who have masks), etc. Comparison of woodcuts, sketches, and final costumes/masks.

Also note that James Andrew MacAllister, who did the set design, documents it (see the stuff from the program). I don't think James got enough credit in the program for the amount of work he did, and I wanted to make a public "Thanks" here as well. James single-handedly dealt with getting the set designed, together, painted, etc. While Iricus transported it (and of course would have had to do some manhandling of the sets), James is the one who made them look so good ... many many thanks, James!

The Performance:
The performance went well. We pretty much packed the house. Unfortunately a few folk were upset that they didn't hear the announcement when the play was starting, as there were no real heraldic shouts at that point. But all things said, the actors were "on", the play worked well, the set worked great, and everyone seemed to have a good time. There were a few ad-libbed lines that were very funny, and the audience loved them. The first fight sequence between the two lovers went over quite well. We heard that a few people's faces hurt from laughing so hard, which means we did something right!

In and amongst the usual "life" things, Nightshade came down with a case of pneumonia, thinking she had the flu. She's fine (now), but she surprised and scared a bunch of us ...

And among all the insanity, Robert's wife Naadirah gave birth the week after Thanksgiving to their daughter Kayla.

As rehearsals have moved on, we've added the PG-13 rating to the show, figuring some parents will not want their children to watch it. It is more risqué than anything we've done to date, but frankly it could be even more so. It is, we believe, one of the funniest plays we have done (and that's saying a lot, as all we do is comedy ...).

Even further along, and closer to the actual performance, we changed the rating to R (for Ribald). This ought to be entertaining ... no actual sex on stage, no sim-boffs, no nudity ... not even an enema (there's a great woodcut of Pantalone being given an enema with this huge ... er ... never mind ...).

We had a small preview performance on December 19th, lightly attended, but then this time of year it's hard to get a lot of people out. The important thing is we got some feedback, all positive except for a couple of bits at the beginning, and even that was "slow down the delivery of the lines" for a couple of actors. We even got a video of it, which we're hoping to watch before our last rehearsal ...

The day after Christmas an email was received notifying us that the Royalty had changed their mind on performance times during the day at 12th Night, and rather than performing between courts, we would be performing after courts. That's really frustrating and hard on the troupe (some actors stay "hyped" during the day at 12th Night right until performance -- this is an attempt to keep their energy up and focused -- the longer they have to keep the energy up, the harder it is on them). We'll pull through, but ... it is a bit disappointing ...

The bit above isn't as bad as it sounds -- we heard directly from the Crown Princess (a sweet lady), and it turns out that we're not talking about performing at 8 in the evening (unless morning court is really long -- and I do mean REALLY long). The last court of the day should be relatively short, and may be combined with Coronation. (whew!)

A good thingtm that happened during the 'break' in rehearsals for the Christmas Holidays, was that Iricus and Ilia went to Reno and got married!! We're all pleased as punch for the two of them! We found this out when we got together on January 2 for our last rehearsal, to watch the video of the preview performance ...

From the script for Shakespeare in Love:

Mr. Fennyman, let me explain about the theatre business.
(they stop)
The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road
to imminent disaster. Believe me, to be closed by the plague is a bagatelle
in the ups and downs of owning a theatre.

So what do we do?

Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.


I don't know. It's a mystery.

I don't know about anyone else's theatrical experiences, but that sort of sums us up pretty nicely. It all comes together, but how? It's a mystery ... (well, as I noted for last year's play, I do know, actually -- everyone puts in that burst of work at the last minute and it all gets pulled together ..., but it does seem like a mystery sometimes)

Photos by Aldith Angharad St. George at: The Jealous Baker Photos.
This immortal photo is of the "Austin Suck Face" routine we picked up by one of the troupes while at the Commedia dell'Austin Festival in 2001, shows Pulcinella (Wulfric) separating Coviello (Fionbharr) and Rosetta (Nightshade) during a kiss ...:

Photo ©2005 by S.N. Jacobson, all rights reserved.

We have a video of the Preview Performance as well as two of the performance at 12th Night (one from about center, and one from stage right), and there were other folk with cameras (video and still). The videos below are of the 12th Night Performance:

 DVD: Available, 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 Jealous Baker (PDF)

From The Program:

The Cast
PrologueHirsch von Henford
Tartaglia, father of CeliaAimeric de Foix
CeliaMargrethe Astrid Ravn
Dottore, father of Isabella and OrazioIricus le Ferur
IsabellaGhislaine d'Auxerre
OrazioDonovan Synklar *
Pulcinella, a bakerWulfric of Creigull
Rosetta, Pulcinella's wifeOriginal Nightshade
Silvio (no relation)Robert of Ravenswood
Coviello (no relation)Fionnbharr O'Cathain
Kitchen Helpers/PortersSheaghda Cameron,
Morgan MacEoin
Placard LadyRivkah Ströbele *

* First time on stage with The Golden Stag Players

Support Crew
DirectorHirsch von Henford
Stage ManagerJuan Santiago
Script AuthorsAimeric de Foix, Aldith Angharad St. George, Donata Bonacorsi,
Donovan Synklar, Fionnbharr O'Cathain, Ghislaine d'Auxerre,
Hirsch von Henford, Iricus le Ferur, Margrethe Astrid Ravn,
Original Nightshade, Wulfric of Creigull
ProducersHirsch von Henford, Aldith Angharad St. George
Stage CrewThe Cast
Costume and Mask DesignsAldith Angharad St. George
Mask ConstructionJuan Santiago
Aimeric de Foix, Fionbharr O'Cathain, Iricus le Ferur
Set Design, Construction and PaintingJames Andrew MacAllister
DreyageIricus le Ferur
PropertiesThe Cast
16th Century Venetian Style Book created by Donata Bonacorsi
CostumesAldith Angharad St. George,
The Cast, Leticia de Scocia, Tatiana Nikolaevna Tumanova
Camera OperatorJames Andrew MacAllister

Other Items from the Program:

WARNING: Audience Members in the first two rows should wear protection.

Special Thanks: Several folk need to be thanked this year. First, Garth of Windhaven and Tatiana Nikolaevna Tumanova for storing our flats and various set pieces for the last two and a half years in their garage! Second, the folk whose places we were allowed to rehearse: Fionnbharr O'Cathain and Julia, Margrethe Astrid Ravn and Donovan Synklar, James Andrew MacAllister and Ghislaine d'Auxerre. We took up back yards, living rooms, whatever, and they were great about it. Of course, they're all involved in the show, but ... And finally Maestra Teresa le Marchant, for helping us out with using the Community Center for her area of residence to rehearse in once.

This Commedia is brought to you by the letter ‘P'!, and the color Pu ... Pu .. Pu .. BLUE!

Il Forno Dei Due Corni Bill of Fare

(Listed in order of character's first appearance on stage after the Prologue)

Hirsch von Henford: Panettone - an Italian holiday bread. This bread is round, full of fruit (currants and orange zest) and a bit nutty in flavor. When baked properly the top should be quite cracked. It should be served in wedges.

Wulfric of Creigull: A Fine Manchet. Therefore I recommend to anyone who is a baker who wishes to make this loaf that he use flour from a mixture of mainly European wheat, well blended. After adding the right amount of humour as leavening, keep it in a fog-bound place if you can and let it rise. That is the way this bread can be made without much difficulty. Let the baker beware not to use more or less leaven than he should; in the former instance, the bread will only be half-baked, and in the latter, it will take on a decidedly sour taste and is not readily digested by others.

Original Nightshade: Hot Cross Buns. A sweet bread made with a selection of fruit. Its compact form allows for the diner to enjoy its taste for a very long time. It can be served with a light sugary glaze or au naturale. The distinct strokes on the tops of the buns shows its original trademark.

Fionbharr O'Cathain: Rye Loaf. Seedy, sticky, and with a limited ability to rise. Once you get past the crusty exterior, the flavor is inimitable.

Donovan Synklar: A jelly doughnut. Jelly doughnuts are soft on the outside, softer on the inside, and actually rather more appetizing than they appear at the first glance. If treated improperly, they may turn hard and people tend not to like them so much.

Iricus le Ferur: Creamy Ricotta Tart with Pine Nuts. The creamy cheesy custard filling in these, combined with the pine nuts is delightful. However, the baker should be sure to let these cool all the way ...

Aimeric de Foix: Stollen. As with any other fruitcake, the baker is advised to go easy on the fruit and brandy as this impairs the rising of the yeast.

Margrethe Astrid Ravn: A Spice Cake. A dense cake, but delectable. Small slices are recommended in presentation as too much will sit ill on the stomach. A clever baker uses finely ground barley flour to give a nutty flavor. Spices are up to the taste of the individual but too much will spoil the taste. Be aware not to bake in too high an oven as it will result in a hard crust that is quite difficult to get through. Nor should the fire run too low, as the centre will be moist and most inedible.

Ghislaine d'Auxerre: Strawberry torte with fresh cream. - A festive creation that is pleasing to the eye. Very sweet and fluffy. Though short in stature, it makes up for it with an exquisite perfume and a lasting finish. Simply "divine".

Robert of Ravenswood: Cristoforo Messisbugo (Ferrara, early 16th Century) "Fritters" with elderberry flowers. A light, cheesy fritter (made with ricotta and some salted cheese), with a fruity taste (raisins – but definitely not cranberries!), and the scent of elderberry flowers. They are sweet, because of the powdering of sugar added after frying.

Sheaghda Cameron: Baguette. A long, thin loaf with or without seeds; while it's best when fresh, when left to go stale it makes an excellent dueling weapon.

Morgan MacEoin: Bearclaw. An interesting pastry, in that it does not look that appealing at first, but once you get to know it, you like it.

Rivkah Ströbele: Challah (Egg Bread). Its light and fluffy texture belies its inner complexity: it can be twisted into many shapes, but always manages to come out looking good with its rich and satisfying flavors intact.

(Not on stage, but integral to the performance ...)
Aldith Angharad St. George: Biscotti. A tough but sweet cookie that will be good with coffee as soon as some Venetian gets off the dime and imports it.

Juan Santiago: Gateau St. Honore. A Spanish-influenced pastry, this specialty comes from a fine bakery in Florence. Candied fruit and cream filling with dark chocolate toffee on top bring to this cake all the surprising textures and accidental flavors one must expect when Spain and Italy collide.

"The Two Horns Bakery" – translation thanks to Giulian Marina de Lucca. She notes that this translation (Il Forno Dei Due Corni) would be for a bakery that bakes bread. For one that bakes sweets, the English would translate to "La Pasticcheria Dei Due Corni" While the bios indicate a combination of breads and sweets, we felt that since the bakery in the play makes bread, we'd go with the first translation. There are two puns here. Cornetto or "Little Horn" is a croissant pastry (although apparently out of SCA-period). In addition, "Two Horns" is a reference to wearing horns or being made a cuckold.

Education Time:
"The stage setting before you is a variation of period set pieces that were used by the Greeks known as Periactoi. Peractoi were three sided tubes standing on end that were decorated on each side and could be rotated to change the scene as needed for the play. Later, these pieces were hinged so they could open up, and if need be, reversed. The variation you see here is a set of three peractoi opened and connected together to form an Italian street scene of an intersection or "five point" with the wedge shaped bakery building which would house additional merchant shops leading up the narrow streets on either side, and the House of Tartaglia on the left and the House of Dottore on the right." – James Andrew MacAllister (Set Designer)

DISCLAIMER: No breads were harmed in the baking of this production.

More Thanks
To the preview audience from the Shire of Teufelberg, who came on a Sunday afternoon to watch the show, be an audience for the actors to "work with", and to help us see where we might need some work! Thank you so much!!

Pretty much solicited this time, but what the hey? Reviews never hurt, and since we had so much fun, it's nice to know the audience did, too!

"The Jealous Baker

"Okay, this was the first Golden Stag Players show I'd seen (sad since I joined the SCA the year they started), and I'd heard great things from others but didn't know what to expect. What I got was hilarious. It was taken from a standard bit of commedia del'arte, but the script was written by the troupe themselves, and I think it shows their personalities (maybe just because I know how naughty some of them are). I gotta admit, there were a couple of sight gags/ innuendoes that actually had me squirming (and if you know me, that's pretty amazing), but it was NEVER over the top. The lovers (at least the girls) were appropriately smitten, the harlot was appropriately slutty, the schemers were appropriately devious. Everyone seemed to move along smoothly, no snags visible, and everyone seemed to mesh extremely well with each other.

"Enter one mad baker with a slutty wife. Slutty wife is sleeping with every man in Livorno (and every other town in Tuscany, apparently). Three schemers are working out just how to sleep with slutty wife. Two schemers each have a daughter who are in love with the same man; same man wants nothing to do with love. One schemer's-daughter also has a brother in love with the other schemer's-daughter, and said schemer's-daughter is SO not interested. Wackiness ensues. You can read the script and other details on the Golden Stag Players website, but as I said: it was hilarious. I am really impressed how they put it all together as well as seeing some fine acting from folks I know from events. The set was rather neatly made with plenty of entrances/exits to pop in and out of, an amusing "customers served" sign, and simple but effective decor.

"I can't imagine putting this all together, getting the sets hauled in and put up, worrying about costuming, and worrying about the various actors illnesses flying around, all on top of Twelfth Night which has to be one of the most stressful events in the entire Kingdom calendar. The Golden Stag Players are to be lauded, and if you *ever* have the chance to go catch one of their plays, do so. You will be glad you did, if this is evidence of their standard fare." -- Catherine de Gray

1 The Commedia dell'arte in Naples: A Bilingual Edition of the 176 Casamarciano Scenarios, vols 1 and 2., Cotticelli, Francesco, Anne Goodrich Heck, and Thomas F. Heck, trans and ed., Lanham, MD Scarecrow Press Inc, 2001., ISBN: 0-8108-4116-9.

2 We used the following sources for details on the characters, costumes, and masks:
The Italian Comedy, Pierre Louis Duchartre, Dover, ISBN: 0-486-21679-9
The Prop Builder's Mask-Making Handbook, Thurston James, Better Way Books, ISBN: 1-55870-166-4
Commedia dell'Arte: An Actor's Handbook, John Rudlin, Routledge, ISBN: 0-415-07706
Other sources can be found in the GSP Bibliography ...