Orange fruit and cross section

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You want to perform Three Oranges in some kind of shortened setting, maybe a drama competition, classroom scene practice or 1-Act or scene festival. But where to begin?

Let’s talk scenes. You could really use any single scene you wanted for drama class scene practice or competition but I’m going to take a moment to highlight the ones I think would work best.

Large Cast Scenes

  • Act 1, Scene 3. The Ball Scene. This is usually my #1 top recommendation for competition. It has a large cast with lots of opportunities for actors, it doesn’t require much in the way of props and it’s a real crowd pleaser. Also, from a competition standpoint, it stands pretty much alone so it makes sense out of context which is important in a competition or 1 Act festival type setting.
  • Act 2. Yup, the whole thing. If you cut out the scene with Farferello & Celio, the entire act just tells the story of Tartaglia & Truffaldino going for the oranges and ends with them succeeding and getting the oranges. If you’re looking from something a bit longer then a single scene, this is the best way to perform Three Oranges as a one act play. Lots of opportunity for several actors to shine while telling a single story.
  • Act 2, Scene 1. Pantalone, Tartaglia, Truffaldino, & King Silvio. Start at the top of the act and proceed through “Oh shut up, Pantanlone.” Just cut the Narrator’s line and the four lines before the King recovers.
  • Act 3, Scene 1. From Celio’s line “And so it was that the Prince…” through to the end of the scene. This one is a lot of fun and involves puppets which is always a good time. Another good group scene that mostly stands alone.

Duo Scenes

  • Act 1, Scene 1. Pantalone & King Silvio. Start at the top of the act, cut out Leandro and end the scene with “Shut up, Pantalone.”
  • Act 1, Scene 2. Tartaglia & Truffaldino. This would be my #1 top pick no matter if we’re talking competition or drama class. It’s got action and slapstick which can be a real winner if done well and also gives both actors decent length speeches and opportunities to shine.
  • Act 2, Scene 2. Celio & Farfarello. My #2 top pick. This scene stands alone nicely and has a lot of opportunity for comedy.
  • Act 3, Scene 1. Tartaglia & Ninetta. From Tartaglia’s “Truffaldino has abandoned me…” until Tartaglia’s exit.

As for gender, I’m fine with most parts being either gender so don’t be turned off by the heavy male balance above. Most of the male roles switch easily to female.

In particular, I think some of the scenes above would be fun for comedic interpretation or duo in forensics if you’re looking for something that hasn’t already been done to death. I know of a few schools who’ve had success with Three Oranges in competition so I hope these suggestions are helpful.

Have you performed a scene from Three Oranges for a class or in a competition? Which one did you use? What tips would you offer for someone thinking of doing one in the future? Share your recommendations and tips below!