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The Serpent Woman

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A talented traditionalist, Carlo Gozzi tried to save the Italian commedia dell'arte tradition by writing witty new material for it. This Levantine fantasy was a hit for him and the form in 1762, and it retains a peculiar charm as adapted and directed by Devin Brain for the Tantalus Theatre Group. Dark and comic by turns, The Serpent Woman tells the story of Farruscad, a human prince married to a fairy princess. His literally charmed life will end, however, unless he can negotiate various tests of courage and faith engineered by two very funny clown servants (Adam Verner and Mary Winn Heider). Abetted by Marc Chevalier's simple, marvelous puppets, the servants more than offset Brain's bouts of tedious and unconvincing romantic mysticism. Through 4/1: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-960-2066, $10.

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