Best Medicine Rep presents “Comedy of Venice”

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Best Medicine Rep Theater Company (BMR), Gaithersburg's professional theater company, is excited to present the world premiere of John Morogiello's award-winning play “Comedy of Venice,” Friday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 23. Directed by Stan Levin, the play will run for 16 performances in the Best Med theater space at the Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Avenue, Suite H205, Gaithersburg, MD (Second floor near Sears).

Freely adapted from true events, “Comedy of Venice” is the hilarious story of rival playwrights, battling it out for the soul of Italian comedy. When authors Carlo Goldoni (“The Servant of Two Masters”) and Carlo Gozzi (“Turandot”) square off, the city must choose the type of comedy it prefers—written or improvised; masked or unmasked; punching up or punching down. Venice isn't big enough to hold both of them. But no matter the choice, the result is laughter.

"John Morogiello is an extraordinary writer," declares director Stan Levin. "He's created a very funny world that mimics the styles of both Goldoni and Gozzi, while remaining unmistakably modern and, dare I say, Morogiellian."

Author John Morogiello is the artistic director of Best Medicine Rep. His plays “Engaging Shaw” and “Blame It On Beckett” are published by Samuel French. Other plays include The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart” and “Men and Parts.” His two-person farce “Play Date” will be revived at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn simultaneously with the world premiere of “Comedy of Venice.” “Comedy of Venice was granted a 2012 Independent Artists Award from the Maryland State Arts Council.

“Comedy of Venice” marks the fourth BMR production directed by Levin. His other work for BMR includes directing “Engaging Shaw,” “The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart” and “Philosophus.” Levin also designed the sound for “Play Date,” and directed readings of “Bathroom Hate and “Dream Date.”

Performing in the production are Best Med regulars Claire Derriennic, Terence Heffernan and John Morogiello. Derriennic has appeared in our productions of “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995 and “The Crater Sisters' Christmas Special.” And Heffernan will be familiar to BMR audiences from “Philosophus,” “Engaging Shaw,” “Helen on Wheels and “The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart.” "I always enjoy acting opposite Terry Heffernan," observes Morogiello, "and I look forward to my first time performing with Claire. I'm eager to see how they handle the commedia dell'arte style of the piece."

Serving as both actor and commedia dell'arte expert is “Faction of Fools” Artistic Director Paul Reisman. "Paul was an absolute necessity for this production," offers Levin, "He knows a tremendous amount about this particular style of Italian comedy. And he's been a huge help with historical accuracy and acting technique." Reisman's performance is sponsored by a Maryland State Arts Council Creativity Grant and Sally French Homes.

Rounding out the cast are BMR newcomers Elizabeth Darby and Yury Lomakin.

Tickets for “Comedy of Venice” are on sale now. They are available online at www.bestmedicinerep.org and are $25/general admission and $23/seniors. Performances take place Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Now in its third season, Best Medicine Rep is a nonprofit theater company that specializes in new comedies. It is dedicated to the artistic, educational and cultural development of the Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village area. For more information about the company, visit www.bestmedicinerep.org.