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Hamptons Shakespeare Festival Brings ’The Great One-Man Commedia Epic’ To Guild Hall

Originally Posted: December 21, 2011

One man actor/writer/director Matthew R. Wilson brings his talent to the stage at Guild Hall. (Eileen Casey)

Hamptons Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director David Brandenburg welcomes the audience. (Eileen Casey)

East Hampton - On Sunday, December 18, 2011, the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival presented "The Great One-Man Commedia Epic" at Guild Hall - showcasing a humorous and deftly performed laugh-a-thon by Washington, DC based actor/writer/director Matthew R. Wilson.

Wilson single-handedly brought to life over 10 characters drawn from the historical Commedia dell' Arte. "The story is a classic Italian Renaissance comedy: young lovers have their lives thrown into chaos as their wedding plans are threatened by squabbling fathers, boasting war heroes, and a host of well-meaning but dim-witted servants. The entire town is drawn to the brink of tragedy before love prevails, normalcy is restored, and comedy triumphs," is the description offered in the program, and that is exactly what transpired on stage.

Wilson is the Founding Artistic Director of Faction of Fools, a Washington Commedia dell'Arte theatre company. In addition to his acting, writing and directing skills, he is also a fight director and theatre instructor. Having created and/or collaborated on over 100 Commedia performances, this talented and versatile actor engaged audience members immediately with his welcoming face, while eliciting cooperation - both physical and verbal - from audience participants, including bringing one woman up on stage to enhance the story line.

With just a few masks and a great deal of talent, Wilson kept attendees engaged and smiling. (Eileen Casey)

Creating an entire world on a bare stage with the use of only a few props, including two sticks, scarves, a guitar and a woman's dress, Wilson donned the use of traditional Commedia dell'Arte masks, beautifully designed and hand-crafted in leather by Antonio Fava, whom he has studied with. Wilson also taught at Fava's conservatory in Reggio-Emilia, Italy.

Wilson provided a wonderful, amusing and thoroughly delighted performance which introduced to some and reminded others why this particular comedic art form should be kept alive on stages throughout the world. For a nominal ticket fee, and the opportunity to attend a post-show reception Guild Hall once again offered the community an opportunity to enjoy art in yet another enticing manifestation.

Hamptons Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director David Brandenburg addressed the audience at the conclusion of the performance and indicated why such educational and creative endeavors are so important and necessary - and that is no laughing matter.

Guild Hall was filled with laughter on Sunday. (Eileen Casey)

For more information, click here.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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