Since early 2003, you’ve been hearing me talk about my project adapting the Italian fairy tale collection, Giambattista Basile’s The Tale of Tales aka the Pentamerone, into a whole bunch of plays. There are six tales plays from this project finished so (of what I think will eventually be twelve tales total), this fall, I wrote material that connected the tales together into an evening and offered a select group of directors I’d worked with in the past the chance to premiere any combo of them as they liked. While this mix and match style may not be the play’s final form, it made it a super-flexible evening in terms of staging, run time, casting (both in terms of size and gender breakdown).
I was thrilled that the first group that committed to premiering this unusual show was our friends at Rutgers Prep! Not only are they practically in my own backyard, but director Cora Turlish had done my adaptation of The Love of Three Oranges there back in 2007, nearly 10 years ago to the day! The tales they produced were The Myrtle, Goosed! and The Fourth Orange which they did not know but actually fit perfectly into my larger scale diabolical plans for these plays that I will reveal at a later date.
I’m happy to report that the show run from November 16th to 18th and was just about the best premiere I could have asked for! From sets and staging to acting and amazing student direction, everyone put on a wonderful show. I was saving this post until I had production photos or some video clips to share but they aren’t ready yet so you’ll just have to use your imagination until they are.
One particularly sweet thing was that the cast not only gave me a shirt with the very cool student designed poster for the show, they also dug up a shirt from their production of Three Oranges… and had the designer of that, who played Princess Clarice in their production, give it to me at the ticket window! It was a really nice touch and made me feel like a part of the family. After the show, I had fun chatting with the cast and crew (who told me they want a sequel ready for them to do next year and I’ll see what I can do, gang) and left knowing my show was in very good hands for the rest of its run.
There are other productions of The Tales of Tales coming up in the near future (including our friends at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, CA in January who will be the first school ever do to the whole Hillary DePiano commedia trilogy!) I’ll be sharing details about those soon but I wanted to take a moment to thank and highlight this wonderful first run from a talented director, cast and crew!
Here’s an excerpt from what the school paper had to say leading up to the show:
The Tale of Tales is Hillary DePiano’s newest play, and Rutgers Prep is the the very first schools to bring it to life. The name Hillary DePiano may ring a bell.
In 2007, Rutgers Prep produced one of her plays called The Love of Three Oranges, which was well-received and highly acclaimed.
Ms. Turlish also stated that “It was one of the most popular shows we’ve ever done here-we had several sold-out performances and the laugh level in Holley Hall was among the highest we’ve ever had.” With this in mind, Ms. Turlish is very excited about this new production, and so are we.
The Tale of Tales is broken into three separate plays with their own characters and medieval settings, but all share the same modern humor. Skyllar Capuno ‘18, who plays a lead character, stated: “I’m mostly excited to see it come all together, because the play is, in some aspects, the child of Play On and The Two Princess of Bamarre in terms of comedy, magic, and structure.”
The Tale of Tales will surely become a play all Rutgers Prep students will love and remember for a long time.
While this Mix and Match play is not available to the public yet, if you’re reading this and it sounds interesting, drop me a line here and I’ll send you a free perusal copy.