Monday, January 15, 2007

(Some of) The Method Behind the Madness

Those of you who are familiar with Cosi fan Tutte know that there are only six characters in the show, plus a chorus. So, where did the 14 characters in Schooling come from?
Well, they were not conjured out of thin air, but rather have some kind of root (some strong, some slight) in characters from Cosi or from one of the other Mozart/DaPonte buffi – The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni.

Let’s run down the list and see how the magic is made, shall we?:

Billy – Billy, naturally, is based on Cosi’s Guglielmo. (Guglielmo is “William” in Italian.)

Lilly – It follows, then, that Lilly comes from Cosi’s Fiordiligi. (“Lillyflower”) The “Yard Rocks” song comes from Fiordiligi’s famous aria “Come Scoglio”… “Like a Rock”.

Freddy – From Cosi’s Ferrando. There is not as much delineation between the two boys and the two girls in Cosi as there is here, but Ferrando seems to be the more headstrong and poetic of the two.

Dori – From Cosi’s Dorabella. Dorabella is oftened described as the “flighty” sister, because she switches so quickly from a mad love of Ferrando to a mad love of Guglielmo’s Albanian.

Coach Al – From Cosi’s Don Alphonso.

Miss Thorne – From Cosi’s Despina. (“Little Thorne”) Despina is the girl’s young but worldly servant in Cosi, a de facto mentor because of her experience.

We’ve certainly beefed up the roles of Al and Thorne from their 18th century counterparts. As a matter of fact, although the teenage love stories drive the plot of Schooling – the real heart of the play, the point of the play, even, is to watch Al and Thorne take a second chance on true love.

Dean Giovanni – Loosely based on the titular character of Don Giovanni – an unscrupulous seducer of women.

Leo – Loosely based on Don Giovanni’s sidekick, Leporello. The obsessiveness of Leo is a new invention, but his opening monologue draws from the aria “Notte Giorno Faticar.”

‘Senora’ Elvira - Based on Donna Elvira – Don Giovanni’s spurned lover who still carries a flame for him and chases him throughout the opera.

Nurse Mesmer – Here she exists to satirize dangerous modern trends in pharmaceuticals, but in Cosi, the quack doctor is a disguise worn by Despina in order to further trick the girls. (And spoofing dangerous trends in medicine at the time!) Check out the bio of Franz Mesmer, after whom the term “mesmerism” was coined at Wikipedia:

Zoe – a lot of license here, but she echoes the flirty peasant girl Zerlina from Don Giovanni.

Babs – here’s another flirty servant girl – Barabarina from The Marriage of Figaro.

Matt and Ben – the names are partially a play on Damen and Affleck, for no reason other than the fact that they are buddies and kind of dorky, but Matt mirrors the dopey Masetto from Don Giovanni, and Ben the immature Cherubino from Figaro. Masetto loves Zerlina, and Cherubino is eventually paired with Barbarina, just as Matt and Ben land Zoe and Babs. (O Noez – teh sp0ilerz!!!!)


1 comment:

Kylie said...

Right on matt and Ben!!!