Rolling Stock Company is back with “True Romance,” a Commedia dell’ Arte comedy for all ages. The season will begin Monday, July 11 at the Camden Amphitheatre, Atlantic Avenue; and continue Wednesday, July 13 at the park next to Rockport Public Library and Thursday, July 14 at Rockport Harbor Park.

The one-hour performances will begin at 5:30 p.m. As usual, there is no admission fee. Everyone is invited to bring the children, a lawn chair or blanket and maybe a picnic supper.

“True Romance” takes place in a little town long ago, where there are two neighbors, Pantalone and Giangurgulo, both of whom have beautiful daughters. Pantalone, looking for free household help, would like to marry Isabella, Giangurgulo’s daughter and Giangurgulo would like to marry Columbine, Pantalone’s daughter. The daughters are repulsed by their fathers’ ideas.

The two fathers are being driven crazy by the antics of their daughters, to the point where they offer to fight each other to “prove” their own daughter is worse. This is further complicated by the wiles of Zanni, Pantalone’s servant, plus the arrival of Silvio, who falls helplessly in love with Isabella, to the point he cannot even speak; Lelio, in love with Columbine; and Aurelia, who is after her employer, Giangurgulo.

The Rolling Stock Company specializes in a form of comic theater called Commedia dell’ Arte, which first came into being in Italy in medieval times and lasted in various forms well into the early 20th century. It was theater for everybody, mostly produced on wagons during market days in the small towns and in the bustling marketplaces of the big cities.

Commedia has a number of unusual features. First of all, all the dialogue is improvised on the spot. The actors know the plot and know their characters, but what they say changes from performance to performance, depending on the audience’s reactions. Also, despite their traditional Renaissance costumes, they are quite likely to make comic local references. Secondly, some of the traditional characters —the two fathers, the doctor and the servant, (Zanni) — are masked. These masks induce the actors to depend more on physical expression than facial expression. The younger characters are traditionally not masked. In “True Romance,” there are beautiful young women and handsome young men.

The Rolling Stock Company, with its distinctive traveling stage, was founded in 2009. The initial impetus was provided by local playwright and actor Jon Potter, who had traveled with a similar troupe in Vermont many years ago. The talented core of the company include well-known local actors such as Randall and Marie Merrifield (Giangurgulo and Columbine) and Sarah Trapani (Zanni). Those who saw the Company last year will recognize Esther McGowan (Aurelia) and Zachary Stern (Il Docttore). New this year are Marcus Carter (Pantalone), Meghan Hawkes (Isabella) and Jacob Corney (Silvio).

To schedule a performance, contact Potter at 236-2852 or

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to