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Pinocchio: A whale of a tale

By Jyrell Wynn
VSU Theatre and Dance presented a comedic version of Pinocchio for younger audiences to enjoy on Feb. 6 and 7.
“Pinnochio Commedia” is Johnny Simon’s commedia dell’arte adaptation of “The Adventures of Pinocchio.”
Commedia dell’arte is an Italian term meaning “comedy of the profession” that was a popular form of theatre that was popular in Europe from the 16th century to the 18th century. Companies consist of ten members that travel around and put on productions for mass audiences.
The “Adventures of Pinocchio” is a children’s novel that was written by Carlo Collodi, a famous Italian children’s book writer. In 1883, the novel was released and received critical acclaim from audiences worldwide.
The novel is one of the most translated and infamous literary works of all time.
“Pinocchio Commedia” uses physical comedy through slapstick to bring humor to the exploits of Pinocchio as he ventures to become a real boy.
This version of the story uses the Italian Renaissance commedia format which consists of using a show within a show to present the tale of Pinocchio. Their productions were usually comedies that were improvised. Members would write short scripts without dialogue and scenarios to later create lines improvised on the spot.
Pinocchio tells the story of a woodcarver named Geppetto who receives a talking piece of wood from his carpenter neighbor to help build a marionette. After building the marionette, he names the puppet Pinocchio and teaches him the practices of a normal child.
After Pinocchio learns how to walk, he runs away and uses lying to get out of uncomfortable situations, but he learns pitfalls of being dishonest.
Some of the cast included Haley Aguero playing Pinocchio, MacKinzi Holten as the cricket, Ethan Glass as Geppetto, and various other actors.
Jacque Wheeler, head of the Theatre and Dance Area and professor of theatre, wants to bring exposure of live theatrical performances to children in the south. It is also an opportunity to show the importance of post-secondary education.
The values of determination, courage, honesty and other timeless morals are presented for young and older audiences to appreciate and carry with them for the rest of their lives.

VSU Theatre and Dance will tour 15-20 area schools during the upcoming weeks to perform the production. The tour will begin on Feb. 11 at Cook County High Schools Performing Arts Center and end on March 20 in Crisp County.

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