Q&A: Arlecchino Allegro

Performer Diana Kolpak on mixing clowns with chamber music for Toronto Masque Theatre's 10th anniversary season

Presented by Toronto Masque Theatre
Created by Larry Beckwith, Diana Kolpak & David-Benjamin Tomlinson

Photo: Tariq Keiran, Original Light Studios.

For their annual cabaret and 10th anniversary celebration, Toronto Masque Theatre is staging Arlecchino Allegro, a reimagining of Tears of a Clown, a show from the company's first season, at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse (Jan 23-25). The performance will feature mezzo soprano Laura Pudwell alongside clowns Diana Kolpak and David-Benjamin Tomlinson, with a house band lead by Larry Beckwith playing interpretations of the music of Mahler, Mozart, Debussy, Leoncavallo, Schubert, as well as some unexpected hits.

Here, we chat with co-creator/co-host Kolpak to find out more about this eclectic theatre experience.

Theatromania: Tell us about Arlecchino Allegro. What inspired this reimagining of Toronto Masque Theatre’s Tears of a Clown?

DK: Theatre is such an ephemeral art form, so it is thrilling to be able to revisit a project that was so much fun to perform the first time around, and to make a few changes to improve it based on what we learned from audience response in 2004. We've been looking for an opportunity to do the show again almost from the instant we did it the first time. We have approached Arlecchino Allegro the same way we did Tears of a Clown: the frame of evening is light-hearted, but we are deadly serious about presenting beautiful and often complicated music, never "sending it up." The clowns and musicians treat everything very, very seriously, which is where the humour comes from.

Theatromania: How would you describe the production in a few sentences?

DK: A mysterious Patron has arranged for an evening of beautiful music to celebrate his life-long companion, Arlecchino, but an unexpected turn of events turns the evening on its head almost right from the start. Undeterred, the musicians and hosts work together and at odds with one another to present a theatrical and musical coup that is playful, hilarious, moving and unforgettable. And there are kazoos…

Theatromania: What excites you personally about this opportunity?

DK: I am always looking for innovative ways to explore and present clown in conjunction with other art forms: dance (The Gorgonetrevich Corps de Ballet in Bethany's Gate), music (Tears of a Clown), and photography and literature (my children's book Starfall), so this project is a wonderful chance to do just that. It's also exciting to bring my ballerina clown, Mina Rafaella Kalishnikova, back on stage againshe's quite a marvelous creature.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

DK: I hope that audiences will leave with their cheeks sore from laughing and their minds blown wide open by the rendition of songs they would never expect to hear performed by a Renaissance quartet and one of Canada's foremost singers.

Catch Diana in Arlecchino Allegro from January 23 to 25 at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse (106 Trinity Street). Visit torontomasquetheatre.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Thu, 2014-01-23 - Sat, 2014-01-25


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