Theatre at UBC

Il Campiello

by Carlo Goldoni

Venue: Telus Studio Theatre
Dates: October 15 - 25, 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan




Director: Stephen Heatley Set and Costume design:Francesca AlbertazziSound design: Amos Hertzman Lighting design : Nicola Waterfield Sound design: Adam J. Stokes Choreography: Cathy Burnett Fight choreography :Nicholas Harrison Stage Manager: Krista Sung




Costume sketch by Francesca Albertazzi - The Count

Goldoni's light hearted and mischievous Il Campiello is an artistic, happy production. Stephen Heatley has made sure that the student actors have as much or more fun as the audience. With clever and picturesque black and white cut outs the acting area is transformed into a city square with a central fountain. The uniformly black clad actors with traditional white face make-up become severally 18th century citizens, servants or members of the nobility with the colourful aprons, hats, collars and cuffs of the inspired costume designer. The lighting emulates the Mediterranean sunlight and the preliminary and later incidental music is all Italian frivolity. Carnival atmosphere permeates this little area of Venice.

In romantic tradition the course of true love does not run smoothly. Mothers and an uncle endeavour to arrange the futures of the younger ladies and gentlemen. But again, true love wins out and after a lot of amusing confusion and quarrelling the right boy gets the right girl and the haranguing ambitious mothers and a guardian uncle are thwarted - not before one of the mothers has set her cap at the visiting Neapolitan nobleman and had a glance at the uncle.

A Neapolitan count, delicately and stylishly played by Ryan Beil, spies Gasparina (Andrea Blakey) at her window overlooking the square and immediately falls for her. But she is closely guarded by her miserly uncle, who will not let her mingle with the hoi-polloi neighbours, who find her stuck up and spoilt. She successfully evades her guardian and meets the count, only to be discovered and sequestered again. However, on discovering that the count is a Neapolitan, as he is, the guardian uncle becomes more friendly towards him. But this sensitive soul is devastated by the noise generated by the neighbours and the carnival entertainment, and decides to move house and surrender his niece to her penniless admirer. Yes, this mask of nobility hides an impecunious spendthrift but an engaging and cunning young man.


During the fun of the carnival, boy and girl romances blossom, are frustrated by irate mothers and resolved in bliss. So that no one shall become confused, the girls wear green or yellow ribbons and their pursuing true loves, matching neckerchiefs. Even the decoration over the doorways is colour-coded with the girls, their lovers and their mothers. The two widowed mothers of daughters Lucietta and Orsola, (Anastasia Filipczuk and Ruth Brown), live on opposite sides of the square and enjoy a lot of their time playing loudly vocal one-up-manship games with each other, even to the extent of endeavouring to marry off their daughters to incompatible husbands. Donna Pasqua Polegana and Donna Katherina Panchiana are feisty and energetic women, played with great spirit by Kerry Duff and Johanna Khalema. They also argue competitively with the third widow, mother of one of the wooing boys.

There are several incidents to keep the spirit of the carnival alive in the square, juggling, chancing a prize in the bran tub, and a highly alcoholic supper party hosted by the count for the people of Il Campiello. The end is a happy romp and dance, with all differences resolved.

This is a joyous evening for the talented students who are exploring the 18th century theatre with Goldoni's comedy reflecting its forbears of commedia dell'arte, and one of much pleasant laughter for the audience. Thank you Stephen Heatley, your talented students and inspired designers and choreographers.

Il Campiello runs at the Telus Studio in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, at UBC, October 15 - 25, 2003 at 7.30 p.m. For more information, tickets and reservations call the Theatre at UBC Box Office, 604-822-2678 or visit

2003, Jane Penistan