Domenicio Scandella was a simple 16th Century Italian miller who read a few books, explored some ideas he never knew existed and was subsequently tried for heresy during the Inquisition. Essentially a tragic bit of true history, playwright Lilian Groag (formerly Garrett-Groag of The Magic Fire) has turned Scandella's story into a world premiere comedy for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Menocchio, also directed by Groag, plays Nov. 1-Dec. 22 on the Thrust Stage.
A comic contemplations of the ideals of intellectual freedom and independent thought, Menocchio finds a simple peasent musing on his existance and the mysteries of the universe. As his discourses become more and more subversive, the Inquisition begins to take an interest in the poor miller. Groag's works include The Ladies of the Camellias, The White Rose and Bones, recently completed for the Globe Theatres in San Diego.
Charles Dean, veteran of over eighty Berkeley Rep productions, stars as Menocchio. Also in the cast are Jeri Lynn Cohen (Menocchio's wife, others), Dan Hiatt (Menocchio's cousin Bastian, others), Ken Ruta (the Inquisitor, others), Robert Sincular and Marcelo Tubert (Father Melchiore).
Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located at 2025 Addison Street. For reservations, call (510) 647-2949. Berkeley Rep is on the web at http://www.berkeleyrep.org.
— By Christine Ehren