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Compagnia de' Colombari’s 20th Anniversary Season

In 2024, Compagnia de' Colombari celebrates 20 years of reimagining classic texts and generating spectacle accessibly in surprising places! Colombari was born in 2004 in Orvieto, Italy, where the company re-imagined the medieval mystery plays and performed them in the streets and piazzas. Having revitalized the tradition of theater during Orvieto's annual Corpus Christi Festival, the company launched a parallel theatrical experience in its home base of New York City called Strangers and Other Angels (currently in development for a return to Orvieto in 2025). Since then, for two decades, the ever-expanding international company of actors and collaborators has created and performed extraordinary productions adapted and directed by Karin Coonrod across the USA and around the world. Please stay tuned for the exciting offerings on tour and in development for our 20th anniversary season!

Whitman on Walls! (WoW!) is the new hybrid event bringing living poets and film together, outdoors. A drive-in movie meets poetry slam. In response to the host of performance cancellations in 2020, Compagnia de' Colombari turned Karin Coonrod’s original production of MORE OR LESS I AM into seven short films.

Recorded over three weeks, with over 50 performers from all over the world, the films embody Whitman's words. Each film is followed by a local poet who stands and "talks back to Whitman" in their own words, challenging or quarreling with him, thus weaving together film and live recitation.

WoW! Tour Dates:  
March 2024 - SUNY Stonybrook in Stony Brook, NY 
Spring 2024 - New York City
September 2024 - Santa Fe, NM

KING LEAR, adapted and directed by Karin Coonrod is a raw, primal, and potent “paper crown” Lear that strips down the Shakespearian classic to its essence through a vigorous exploration of the text and characters’ psyches and motivations. An ensemble of ten actors ranging in age and gender all embody King Lear at the beginning. One by one, they strip off their paper crowns, transform into other characters, and conduct a take-over of the text and the theatre space. Spreading across the play's treacherous psychic cartography, the performers dig deep into the internal and external voyage of a mighty king who loses and then finds himself again after arduous challenges. This fresh, vital, and urgent exploration of encountering oneself is a journey of a fractured soul and a broken community discovering wholeness through almost unbearable suffering. Compagnia de' Colombari's KING LEAR is currently in development with a "sneak preview" presentation in New York City in May 2024 and the world premiere in June 2024. 

King Lear workshop presentation at Torn Page. Photo by Paul Lieber.

On December 19, 2023, in Venice, Italy and January 22, 2024, at Fordham University, New York, Colombari hosted exclusive screenings of the rough cut of "A Gathering of Strangers: The Making of The Merchant in Venice” by filmmaker Ted Hardin and Long Distance Production Films. The film contextually explores the creation of Colombari’s The Merchant of Venice, which was conceived for and minted in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice in 2016 on the 500th anniversary of its founding. Another screening will be hosted later in 2024. 

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