Acting Production

Theatrefolk Featured Play – The Scarlet Heart by Allison Williams

The Scarlet Heart
Written by Lindsay Price

Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. The Scarlet Heart by Allison Williams is an excellent introduction to commedia for any student performer. The script can be performed as written or by following an improv-based scenario.

The Scarlet Heart is a gem! Literally. A big fat juicy apple of a ruby that everyone really, really wants and will do anything to get. Too bad there’s not one competent thief in the bunch. Stupino! That’s a soup ladle! Stop making goo goo eyes at the soup ladle!

Join Arlecchino, Brighella, Columbina, and more in their hungry, thirsty, bungling, cross-dressing quest for the Scarlet Heart.

Why did we publish this play?
It’s one thing to study commedia dell’arte as a theatre history unit. It’s another thing to get right into the “heart” of the form and try commedia for yourself! We were thrilled to be able to offer a commedia play that fits both the stage and the classroom. The Scarlet Heart is a fantastically fun and practical way into commedia, written specifically for student performers.

Let’s hear from the author!

1. Why did you write this play?
I taught commedia for a long time, and there aren’t a lot of commedia scripts that are funny for a modern audience. Plus, I loved the idea of giving both a scenario and a script, and letting schools decide how much improv and how much student-created comedy they wanted to incorporate. So it’s like getting to do a traditional commedia, but with training wheels so it’s not overwhelming.

2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
There’s no honor among thieves, but if you stay focused on what you want, you might get what you need.

3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
Everyone stacked up hiding in the closet.

4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Play it fast and snappy – anything you’re going to do memorized, have it cold so you can move with the pace of the comedy. Get comfortable talking directly to the audience and breaking the fourth wall.

5. Why is this play great for student performers?
There are so many opportunities in interactive theatre and non-fourth-wall theatre, this is a great chance to practice those skills. Plus, for students who will do any sort of public speaking, this is good practice for feeling comfortable hosting an audience, not just performing in front of them, but actively making them part of the experience.

Get your copy of The Scarlet Heart right here, right now!
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About the author

Lindsay Price