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The Sapass
Company

SapassoussakasS is a theater company based in the Shenandoah Valley and founded by Guy Spielmann in 2002 in Washington D.C .  

Our name is a play on the French phrase “Ca passe ou ça casse" which could be translated as “Do or Die”.

 

We put on shows based on commedia dell’arte, street theater, 18th century fairground farce, cabaret and masked acting. We perform in French and/or in English, indoors or outdoors. Our productions are highly visual and always incorporate music, dancing and mime and puppetry; they are also highly portable and adaptable to whatever local conditions are available.

We also run workshops for students at all levels, including beginners and people who have never been on stage. In a week's time, we can train local participants in our specific method of acting and offer a performance at the end of the session.

Click on the icon below to contact us, we’ll be happy to send you the brochure on our show requirements.

Harlequin on the Moon

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Dottore Baloardo de Hoboken, an astronomy buff, is absolutely convinced that the moon harbors a great civilization. His daugther Eularia would like to be married to Cinthio, but Baloardo has determined that the best husband for her would be signor Pantalone de Bisognosi, an old and wealthy businessman!

Eularia and Cinthio call on Harlequin, who thinks up a scheme that involves Cinthio posing as a Dutch lensmaker.

They trick Baloardo into believing that he has seen inhabitants of the moon, the Selenites, but that only reinforces his delusions of becoming the world's most celebrated scientist.

Harlequin then comes up with an even crazier gambit: what if they could convince Baloardo that Eularia has been chosen by the Emperor of the Moon himself as his son's future bride??

 

As all commedia shows, Harlequin on the moon, an original creation. includes multiple disguising, music, dance scenes and lazzi.

Click on the images to see the show performed at the Commedia dell'arte Festival in Nice in 2019 in its "Reboot" version! In English.

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Parades

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Parades are short (20ms), bawdy farcical French comedies originally acted in the parisian fairs, which became a staple of proliferating private stages (théâtres de société) in the 18th century.
 
From 2002 to 2019, the SapassoussakasS produced three of these plays— Léandre eunuque, Le Mauvais Exemple and Léandre Ambassadeur (retitled L’Ambassadeur de Perse) and toured in England, Tunisia, Quebec, France and the US.
After simultaneously directing performances in various venues and conducting traditional research, Guy Spielmann published in 2006 a book that included a comprehensive introduction combining historical and performative perspectives, a critical edition of the three play texts in French, and two “stage texts” with extensive restituted directions (for movements, gestures, mimics, affects, etc.) [Parades: Léandre eunuque, Le Mauvais Exemple, Léandre Ambassadeur, Preface, notes and stage texts by Guy Spielmann, assisted by Dorothée Polanz (Paris, Lampaque, 2006). To purchase the book, click here! 










 
Parades shows are lively, full of stage action, hilarious one-liners and lazzi with influences from the Italian commedia dell’arte and the French farces. They involve a cast of recurring stock characters—such as lusty old man Cassandre (a variant of Pantalone), vain lover boy Léandre, the ingenue Isabelle, a French zanni, Gilles, and sometimes even Arlequin himself. The action is generally based on the relations of antagonism and complicity between these characters, around the basic marriage plot of many commedia scenarios: Léandre wants to marry Isabelle in spite of Cassandre’s opposition, Gilles or Arlequin acting as helper or rival (sometimes both).

In French.

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Arlecchino"confinement" video serie

This series of weekly video skits with two commedia masks Dottore and Arlecchnio were written and shot during the 2020 confinement to honor and pay hommage to the Italian tradition of commedia, with an American twist! Masks by Andrea Cavarra from Zorba Officine Creative, Milano.

The series includes: 

  • Week 1. "Arlecchino get quarantined"

Quarantined by Dottore, Arlecchino is stuck at home!!! It might not be too bad for Arlecchino, as long as his friends and the Mystery Machine are here!!

  • Week 2. "Arlecchino does yoga"

Poor Arlecchino still in quarantine tries something new with the help of Dottore and their new yoga instructor!

  • Week 3. "Arlecchino makes pancakes!"

Arlecchino wants breakfast! He is ready to cook up a storm with the help of his new friends, the three bears and their infamous enemy, Goldilocks herself!!!

  • Week 4. "Arlecchino paints"

Arlecchino and Dottore compete to see who is the best paint artist in quarantine!!

  • Week 5. "Dottore's Public Service announcement"

Our words of wisdom for our fans across the world! Let’s hear it from our expert on everything, Il Dottore and his not-so-bright assistant, Arlecchino!

  • Week 6. "Arlecchino plays board games"

Poor Arlecchino is bored! Dottore suggests playing Pandemic but will Arlecchino plays according to the rules???

  • Week 7. "Arlecchino's words of wisdom"

Arlecchino, for a weird reason, was selected to share his wisdom to the world! He had 45s to inspire/influence the masses!!!! Let’s hear him!

Click on the images to watch the videos. In English. ​

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Apollo at the Fairs

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This exclusive creation was the product of a collaboration between the SapassoussakasS Company and Dr. John Romey, at Case Western University (Cleveland) musicology department.

Apollon à la foire, a mute placard play (“pièce à écriteaux”) was first performed in 1711 at the Saint Germain’s Fair in Paris. Performers included comedians, the CWRU Baroque Chamber Ensemble (under the direction of John Romey) and the CWRU Baroque Dance ensemble (under the direction of Julie Andrijeski).

As the comedians from the fair (commedia dell’arte types Arlecchino, Scaramouche and Dottore) were forbidden to speak or sing, they came up with a clever solution: to write lyrics on placards so that the audience could sing along! This production was the recipient of an EMA (Early Music America) grant.

To please Apollo (here, Louis XIV), the comedians, dancers and musicians of the fair are trying different theater genres. First, they try to stage an opera, Lully's Persée with special effects and a monster puppet! Then in Act. II, they are doing their best (and worst) to stage the tragedy Rhadamiste and Zénobie but they are not very successful! So they stick to what they know best: comedy!

Pantomine with masks, puppets, music and dances. Click on the images to see a recording of the show!

The 3 Fairies of the Wind

This creation is written and performed by Doe Polanz, with three exclusive evolutive masks from Zorba Officine Creative (Andrea Cavarra). The play is available as a book, with illustrations.

Tonight, Ali, the famous sculptor invites you in his garden, around a summer fire.

Since the God of Wind entered his home, Ali’s life is completely upside down!

Three fairies came into his life and are now dancing his days and nights.

Ali’s routine and his reclusive life have changed indeed!

Tonight, with your help, he needs to come to a decision: which fairy amongst the three sisters, Zephyr, Sirocco and Tempest shall he keep?

Ali needs you! Which dance, which mask and which color will you choose?

A tale for the whole family, with music, masks and dance and audience interaction. In French or in English.

L'Envers du Music-Hall
Music-Hall Sidelights

An original creation and a look into the life of French writer Colette as a pantomime performer.

Colette, a famous mime and nude dancer, is touring with fellow musicians, dancers, opera singers, acrobats at the beginning of the 20th century in France.

Her collection of short vignettes “Music-Hall Sidelights” (L’envers du music-hall) is adapted for the stage and intertwined with Colette’s letters to journalist Jean Lorrain, the famous decadent novelist and poet, as they both reflect on artist’s life while on tour. In French

Bruit et Fureur
Sound and Fury

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Life “is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.”

Penned by Manolo Bunkt, this stage adaptation of MacBeth is SapassoussakasS’s take on Shakespeare! Our modern rendition includes puppets, video, and evolutive makeup. In French or English.

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Il était une fois...
Les Fables

The famous Fables from Jean de la Fontaine staged with masks and music!

A selection of 5 of the most iconic French fables serves as the material for an expression’s workshop on physical and vocal expressiveness that culminates in a public live performance! In French.

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