The Mandrake
Oct. 18-21 & 24-28, 2012
Directed by Paul J. Hustoles
Scene Design by John David Paul
Costume Design by David McCarl
Lighting Design by Steven Smith

The Mandrake
The senile Lord Nicia (Robb Krueger, center) and parasite Ligurio
(Reginald D. Haney, right center) look on as Madonna Lucrezia (Charisse Nichole Danker)
and Callimaco (Jake Sullivan) become enamored of each other.

The Mandrake
Everyone comes together around Callimaco and Lucrezia.

The Mandrake The Mandrake
Ligurio (Reginald D. Haney) and Madonna Sostrata (Shelley Whitehead).

The Mandrake
Brother Timoteo (Ben Stasny, center) gets a bit too
involved in the growing love affair.

The Mandrake
The Mandragolas provide musical reinforcement of the story. They
are: Kaitlin Dahlquist, Jake McInerney (with arms raised),
Noah J. Files and Megan Gilmore.

The Mandrake
Siro (James Ehlenz) takes a drink of the liquid Lord Nicia (Robb Krueger)
provides him, before realzing what it truly is he's drinking.

The Mandrake
Brother Timoteo (Ben Stasny) waits while The Widow
(Kelsey Johannsen) digs for some coins.


Not many people realize that one of the most brilliant political minds of the Italian Renaissance also dabbled in playwriting.
Nicollo Machiavelli (1469-1527) had already made quite a name for himself as the architect of Florentine public policy and had
lost favor (indeed he was in exile), when he decided to turn his hand toward creative writing with a blistering satirical attack on
societal norms of his day.  He wrote Mandragola in 1518 and it became as infamous and it was to become famous, as one of the very first
comedies written in the Italian (not Latin) vernacular.  While the Middle Ages was filled with church drama, this humanist work helped
give birth to the commedia dell arte (the Plays of the Professionals), with its type characters and ribald, scandalous humor.  As
can be heard in the play’s prologue, Machiavelli was ready for the critics to eviscerate his work.  Most of them were too busy laughing to do so.

Our production is proud to feature the original music of Minnesota State Mankato alumnus Peter Bloedel, who is the head of theatre at
Bethany Lutheran College.  Back in 2003, he authored the delightful Icehouse Madrigals, which has nothing to do with the Renaissance, but
contained music just perfect for our production (with a nod to composer Pierre Passereau in the finale of Act One).  With his generous permission,
we then wrote new lyrics inspired by Machiavelli (with a nod to Bloedel) to make a perfect fit.

            The play that you are about to see is almost 500 years old—but it could have been written yesterday.  That’s what makes a classic—a work that never dies. 


Photos by Paul J. Hustoles