Commedia Per Tutti
Commedia Per Tutti, an up and coming troupe of performers formed by director Rosey Finn and her partner Justen Asher, enjoyed their debut season at the Northern California Renaissance Faire last year. The group of 7 players, whose name translates to “Comedy for Everyone,” utilizes modern references while respecting the classic character archetypes and tropes of the traditional Italian art form.
Per Tutti, whose members all reside in the greater Los Angeles area, remains committed to doing what it takes for the funny, whether it be on a stage or screen. It is important in these trying times to remember to laugh, and that comedy is for everyone.
Commedia Dell’arte, which began in the early 16th century in Italy, not only had a major impact on writers and performers of the time, but continued to influence through the years with genres like vaudeville, melodrama, and pantomime. It can even be seen in more recent years in such shows as Gilligan’s Island, Animaniacs, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Originally, Commedia was solely improvised, with only a brief scenario as guidelines for the actors to play from. Here, we can see the influence prevail again in sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and improv shows like Whose Line is it Anyway.
Finn and Asher, who have performed for Faire on the upside of a decade, had been part of another Commedia troupe a number of years ago, in which Asher also portrayed the role of Arlecchino. “The characters are all so fun and colorful,” he said, when asked what drew him back to this genre. “They’re all completely ridiculous, but also relatable. You can see a bit of each of them in yourself. Also, these scenarios kind of parallel life but, by the end of it, kindness and love win out over selfishness and greed. I think it’s important as adults to let go of cynicism, even for a bit, and have fun with something joyful and wholesome.”
When creating Commedia Per Tutti, Finn and Asher knew they wanted to honor the roots of this iconic art form, while making it accessible to a modern audience. In light of the pandemic, and subsequent cancelation of the 2020 Faire season, the troupe decided to branch out with the creation of a YouTube page and original video content. “I think my favorite thing about the “Day in the Life” series is that, despite these period characters being set in a modern world, it’s still inherently Commedia at its core,” Rosey said of their biggest film project thus far this year. “We gave them each a scenario, prompts for the interview portion, and the idea of the shots we were hoping to get, but all the dialog and action is from the actors themselves.” The full eight episode series is available on the troupe’s YouTube channel.
Brian Howard (BROON)
Brian began his career as a performing waiter at the Stage Door Cabaret in Annapolis, MD, where between serving prime rib and cocktails he did two sets of comedy a night and even sang a few show tunes when the need arose. Brian was reviewed by The Evening Capital “Certain acts of course stood out. Howard is outstanding as a juggler-cum-patter hand on stage”.
Moving from the comfort of an indoor venue to the uncertainty of the street, he started performing a street show at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Holding an audiences attention for up to thirty minutes, when their previous focus had been solely on finding a good place to eat crab cakes, proved to be a great learning experience and thus Brian began to hone his highly improvised and edgy style.
Brian then brought his show to the Maryland Renaissance Festival performing under the name ‘Broon’ and within a few years became one of the more popular acts on the national Renaissance Faire circuit. The Baltimore Sun wrote “A big hit with the crowd was a comedian named Broon (Brian)…he’s a fine ad-libber and armed with a booming voice and a large, expressive face, he looses nothing on the open-air crowd”
Around this time Brian became a regular cast member of the improvisational comedy troupe ‘Comedy Sportz Washington’, as well as the political satire group ‘Gross National Product’. There were a few weekends in the summer when Brian would spend his day doing shows at the renaissance festival, then make an eight-o-clock curtain for Gross National Product at the Bayou in Washington, DC and finally end his evening at the late show for Comedy Sportz. Tiring days indeed.
With a wit drier than the Sahara, Broon will leave you smirking and giggling throughout the day. It’s been concluded for some time that Broon doesn’t eat fire to impress the crowds, he just likes the taste of the kerosene.
Along with James Newport, Brian went on to found and direct Comedy Sportz Orlando. After returning to the DC area he became the director of Comedy Sportz DC and created the experimental improv troupe Emitt’s Boys.
Brian teamed up with Philip Johnson to create ‘The MooNiE and Broon Show’ , a loosely structured variety-comedy show that relies heavily on improvisation. The AGE in Melbourne Australia called it “A brand of buddy comedy that I thought was a lost art”.
After moving to Los Angeles, Brian performed at the Improv Olympic as a member of Groove Shaky and improvised Shakespearean play as well as sitting in as a guest performer in numerous improv troupes around town. He is also a regular at The Booby Trap, Los Angeles biggest weekly variety revue. Brian continues to travel, performing in theaters and festivals nationwide as well as his weekly Facebook live shows. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Das Rote Fahnlein
We are ‘Das Rote Fahnlein’, the ‘Red Company’, flamboyant German landsknecht mercenaries hired by her majesty to perform “Protection.” We are the group with the colorful yard just inside front gate replete with period tents, displays of period weaponry, and no backstage. There are two rustic buildings that we use for our armory and our kitchen, which supports period style feasting during the day.
Our tasks include:
- To keep Queen’s Parade safe by being at the front, behind the bell ringers,
- To keep the Queen safe by lining her path to Queen’s Stage with an honor guard,
- To entertain the crowd at front gate before opening by displaying our prowess in drill,
- To ensure the safety of all by having our own march around Faire after opening,
- To cheer and restore the tired villagers near the end of their working day by having pretty, flirtatious young German frau walking around Faire feeding them berries and cream,
- To help collect rents and generally keep the peasants in line,
- And always look colorful, flamboyant, and approachable to the visitors of the Faire.
Other notable actions included: acting as marines in the combined Venetian, Spanish and Papal fleet that destroyed a larger Turkish fleet off Lepanto and fighting for Henry VIII and Edward VI during serious rebellions in England.
A Little History:
Landsknecht, literally ‘knights of the land’, were exempted from all sumptuary laws by the Holy Roman Emperor (there was no Germany until the middle of the 19th century) Maximillian I because their lives were so brutish. At the Battle of Pavia, where a combined force of landsknecht and Spanish soldiers routed a combined army of French and Swiss, the King of France was captured. The landsknecht who pulled the king off his horse had to be stopped from killing him on the spot. The men of this same force, after not being paid for a year, defied an express order of the emperor to not march south. The army voted and decided to march on Rome, which they sacked. Landsknecht companies also hired out as protection for various dignitaries; the most notable were the Medici of Florence.
Written by Don & Sandy Hoskin
His shows are infamously interactive so if you’ve been at one there’s a good chance you’ve thrown apples at him or had things whipped out of your hand as part of his fearlessly funny hilarity.
Shelby Bond is an MFA Theatre alumnus from London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a graduate from The Second City Conservatory. Over the past 20 years Shelby has performed live for over 700.000 people and has written and produced 28 plays. He has guest-hosted MTV’s “Love Line”, been a headliner at The LA County Fair, and has 25 years of Ren Faire shows under his belt. His touring shows have won people’s choice and “Best of Fest” and “Pick of the Fringe” in three continents as well as been one of the top ten rated shows out of 2500 at the Edinburgh Fringe.
A man of skill, a man of danger, and some would say…. a complete lunatic!
Cyrus Pynn proves that the Pynn is mightier than the sword through the demonstration of Sword Swallowing. With careful presentation and comedic chops Cy prides himself on being able to perform sword swallowing, and other sideshow arts, to all ages. Cy’s self taught repertoire includes knife juggling, knife throwing, whip cracking and even fire eating/breathing, but sword swallowing takes the stage as his forte. Enjoy this ancient and dangerous art presented for its one true purpose; your twisted entertainment.