On Monday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m., Rockland Public Library will present Rolling Stock Company’s hilarious summer comedy “True Romance” on the back lawn, facing Union Street. This is a comedy for all ages; feel free to bring the children, a lawn chair or two, some snacks and even a picnic.

“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 and drive them crazy by their antics, to the point where they offer to fight each other to “prove” their own daughter is worse.

The one-hour story 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 performers include well-known local actors such as Randall and Marie Merrifield and Sarah Trapani. Those who saw the Company last year will recognize Esther McGowan and Zachary Stern; new this year are Marcus Carter, Meghan Hawkes and Jacob Corney.

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.

This evening is one in a continuing series of literary, film and cultural offerings sponsored by the library and Friends of the Rockland Public Library. Admission is free.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.