Want to go?
WHAT: “The Canterbury Tales, or Geoffrey Chaucer’s Flying Circus”
WHEN: 7 p.m. June 22-23, 2 p.m. June 24
WHERE: Harlequins Theatre, 414 Wayne St., Rear
INFO: 419-621-1311 or harlequinstheatre.org
The jig is up if the actors from Harlequins Theatre’s Kid Kompany read this and realize they’ve been duped into learning something.
“Whether they do or don’t [realize it’s educational], it’s still happening,” Director Phillip W. Johnson said.
He does it on purpose, too — it’s the teacher in him.
“I like to choose something instructional,” Johnson said.
“The Canterbury Tales, or Geoffrey Chaucer’s Flying Circus” (and yes, that is the entire name of the play) has many lessons in character development and playing multiple roles, as well as maneuvering quick changes and grabbing different props.
However, don’t feel bad for the children. And all dread about coming to see something that tortured many in high school English class should be forgotten, as this is Chaucer as you’ve never seen before.
“There are a lot of references to Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’,” Johnson said. “Some are very blatant things taken from it. It takes some of the ‘Canterbury Tales’ pilgrims and individual stories and puts it into a telling a child could understand and made funny — very obviously a Monty Python telling of these tales.”
Seventeen cast members, ranging from 9-20 years old, are playing approximately 56 different roles. There are several very small adult roles that will attempt the Old English.
Damion Taylor, who will be heading into Clyde High School this fall, plays the most characters (six of them).
“I die the most,” he said. (He came upon that realization during this interview and was very pleased.) This is his second year with Harlequins Kid Kompany and he admits that he is having trouble with the subtleties of distinguishing and getting on handle on some of his characterizations. Guess education will seep in after all.
Johnson originally chose a few comedies to look over, narrowed it down to three and then asked past participant Erica Henning for her opinion. He chose “The Canterbury Tales or Geoffrey Chaucer’s Flying Circus” based not only on her recommendation, but on the fact that her mother said it was the one Henning laughed at the most while reading. Henning plays four parts in the show.
Harlequins Theatre is trying something new by introducing online and phone ticket sales with this production, so not only are the children learning, Johnson is teaching everyone new tricks. For more information, call 419-621-1311 or visit harlequinstheatre.org.