Director James Serpento has transposed Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona from 16th century Italy to Italy in the early 20s between two World Wars. Serpento's production, which he put together for Casa de Fuego and Eclectic Company Theatre, will open at Eclectic's home base in NoHo, L.A., on April 7, for a six-week run.
Serpento said he chose the 1920s because "it was a time when the world was on the brink of great change but the desire to keep life idyllic was at the core of every lover's universe."
Serpento, an actor, director and writer of 20 years standing, has worked in some of Chicago's fringe theatres, including Stage Left, Bailiwick Repertory, Shattered Globe and Chicago Dramatists, where he is a resident playwright alumnus. He has twice played the title role in Macbeth and Iago in Othello, which he also directed. L.A. directing credits include Theatre X's Random Acts of Shakespeare and Once in a Lifetime for the Pasadena Shakespeare Company.
Eclectic company members Joe Camereno and Brian Pope formed Case de Fuego as a producing partnership last year during their critically acclaimed staging of Max Frisch's The Firebugs. They plan to open What Is This Thing Called Love?, a musical review, on April 29, running off-nights with Two Gentlemen, and the world premiere of Delia's Song, about a Latina songstress coming of age during the onset of World War Two, opening September 2000.
Eclectic Theatre Company is located at 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hollywood. For tickets and information call (818) 508- 3003. There will be no performances Easter weekend, April 21-23. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent