The Mountebanks (Lyric Theatre of San Jose, 2015)

Lyric Theatre of San Jose banner for The Mountebanks, 2015
1 Aug 2015 to 2 Aug 2015

Set in a tiny village in the Sicilian mountains, the local alchemist is killed in an explosion. Among his possessions is a bottle filled with a magic potion. According to the label, those who drink this potion shall be transformed into whatever it is they pretend to be.

In the meantime, word that a duke and duchess will be passing through town gives a pathetic secret society of brigands hope this may reverse their centuries-long string of bad luck when it comes to thievery. Their leader, Arrostino, comes up with a plan whereby Minestra, impersonating an old woman, will lure the royal couple up to a nearby monastery where the motley crew will be disguised as monks. To help flesh out their plan, Alfredo and Ultrice role-play as the duke and the duchess. Meanwhile, the scheming Pietro convinces his fiancée, Nita, and her ex-boyfriend, Bartolo, to impersonate clockwork figures of Hamlet and Ophelia to scam the royal couple out of more than just a few pennies.

Things go horribly awry everybody drinks the potion-laden wine. The members of the secret society become real monks and can’t bring themselves to commit their crime when the time arrives. Minestra transforms from a lovely young lady to a withered old crone. Bartolo and Nita become the very clockwork figures they’re trying to impersonate, complete with precision gears and levers within their innards! As for Alfredo and Ultrice, they are now the happily married duke and duchess – a situation the love-struck Ultrice enjoys now that Alfredo is her “husband” and no longer longs for the self-absorbed Teresa.

There is an antidote, but only Ultrice knows where it is, and she’s not about to lose her one chance at love. Will these mountebanks be condemned to live out their lives as people and things that they aren’t, or will order somehow be restored?

Two performances only:

  • Sat, August 1, 2015, 8 pm
  • Sun, August 2, 2015, 2 pm
Stage Director: John Hart
Music Director: Jeff Yaeger