The Comedy of Babi Babbett (2002)

The Comedy of Babi Babbett

Written by Pete Talbot fresh back from training with Antonio Fava at the Scuola Internazionale dell’Attore Comico and using ideas from Flaminia Scala’s ‘Scenarios of the Commedia dell’Arte’, this was our first brand new play. The play uses a proto-text with passages marked for allimprovviso (See Talk.) to give the actors freedom to improvise within a strong textual structure.We made the decision not to improvise from a scenario as happened in the tradition because we feel that even the best

We made the decision not to improvise from a scenario as happened in the tradition because we feel that even the best improvisers today cannot match the richness of text possible in an essentially oral culture where actors were used to carrying great quantities of raw materials in their heads for play-making on their feet. Ours was, we felt the nearest way to getting the feel of traditional commedia dell’arte with the freshness of spontaneity and a strong underlying textual and archetectonic structure. We also opted to use white face instead of masks – see our Talk Commedia section. In the end there was too much material so it was too long, but it was a bold and successful experiment.

The Story

The miserly Sydney Lean has unexpectedly received an apparent gift of succulent pork sausages – part of the remains of the recently slaughtered Bessie – from the voluptuous & disloyal wife of his card school companion Dr Taureaumerde. He takes this to be a sign of her secret affection for him, so goes about seducing her despite his servant Babi’s ‘help’.

Babi meanwhile is in love with Lisetta, but she would prefer to marry a soldier. All roads lead ultimately to The Golden Cockerel Chocolate House where discoveries are made and revenge is wreaked.