The University Record, October 29, 1997
Giovanni the Fearless (Charlie Jett) and Colombina Bombasto (Krista Braun) are in love at first sight, as her unapproving father, Jacopo, looks on. Photo by Carolyn Balducci
By Jean M. Muscat
The Residential College's (RC) celebration of its 30th anniversary is well under way. It began last week with the presentation of the musical Giovanni the Fearless. Written by Carolyn Feleppa Balducci, lecturer in creative writing, Giovanni's t heme is just in time for Halloween.
The play takes place in a forest in Italy, where young Giovanni the Fearless meets the Bombasto family. This family is also the Bombasto Commedia Company, which travels from town to town performing short skits, and avoiding bill collectors. When Giov anni encounters the family, he falls in love with the young and beautiful Colombina.
Giovanni is supposedly afraid of nothing at all. To test his fearlessness and his loyalty, Colombina's father, Jacopo, tells Giovanni that to court Colombina, he must spend the night in a haunted castle and visit the dark, disgusting basement to unco ver the treasure hidden there.
Giovanni uniquely incorporates music, dance and puppetry in a humorous and talent-filled performance. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of real characters and puppets. This made the performance very funny, as did Giovanni's improvisations for the shortcomings of the RC stage, and Jacopo's voice impersonations.
The performance was made possible with the assistance of two grants. The Residential College received a grant from the University's Year of Humanities and Arts (YoHA) that supplements the course coinciding with Giovanni, "Renaissance Drama" (RC 397).
In addition, the RC received two other YoHA grants. One funds lecturers Ann Savageau and Janet Shier's sponsorship of a visit by German artist, Rolf Wojciechowski. He is participating in two RC courses in arts and German this fall.
The third YoHA grant was awarded to Herbert J. Eagle, associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures. He is sponsoring a visit by a Bosnian film director, who will participate in Eagles' course in winter term.
A grant from the Washtenaw County Council for the Arts is being used to pay the fees of four theater artists. They will be taking part in "Artists Behind the Scenes" talks after the matinee performances Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. At these sessions, the audi ence will have the opportunity to ask questions and speak informally with the artists.
As a special treat, last week's shows opened with short recitals by Prof. Maria Kardas Barna's chamber music students. This included pieces by Haydn, Cui and Boufill, performed on the clarinet, flute, violin, cello and piano.
Giovanni the Fearless, directed by Kate Mendeloff of RC Drama, will be performed at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat. (Nov. 1) and Sun. (Nov. 2).
Also, a special performance for children has been added. On Thurs. (Oct. 30), parents and teachers are welcome to bring school children to the RC theater at 1:45 p.m. Faculty and staff who can't make any other performance also are welcome to attend. Admission is $7; $5 for students and senior citizens.