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Michigan’s Fratellanza goes international with ‘The Mute Quire’

Two years ago, brothers Jim and Paul Manganello – the creative force behind Fratellanza – rocked our world with their imaginative and brilliant original play, “The Mute Quire.” The brothers remain committed to generating live theater with physical rigor and imagination, but if you want to see them perform today, you’d better have a current passport. Thanks to international grants and some support by friends and patrons on IndieGoGo “The Mute Quire,” will be appearing this month in Ireland and then making its way to China.

In a wonderful mixture of actual history, Shakespeare’s own words and a bit of literary licentiousness, “The Mute Quire” deals with the baffling but true events surrounding the printing of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Three actors play all of the parts, which include the blind printer, his illiterate apprentice, and a buffoonish actor from the King’s Men. Highly kinetic and poetic, “The Mute Quire” reasserts the raucous and the popular in Shakespeare, against the counter-forces of individualism and profit. And of course, the malignant forces of ignorant censorship also make an appearance and threaten to make gibberish of a beloved Shakespearean comedy.

This international production marks the appearance of two members, actor Andrea Fabi (Italy) – who joins the Manganello brothers on stage – and director Mok Sin Tang (China), who brings a dancer’s sensibility to the show’s new staging. With a re-worked script by the Manganellos and original music by Michael Malis, the “The Mute Quire” will appear at the Galway and Macau Fringe Festivals. The Galway performances are slated for July 16-17 and in Macau, China, sometime in November.

In an email to patrons, Jim Manganello thanked Fratellanza’s many supporters, including those willing to spread the word, and added, “Our goals for 2015: more performances of this new version in London, Brussels, Chicago, and Detroit/Ann Arbor. So even if you can't be with us this summer...there's a seat for you down the road.”

You can learn more about this amazing theatrical experience by visiting the Fratellanza website. Although the Indiegogo fundraiser is officially closed, I’m sure you can arrange a more direct way to support this worthwhile creative endeavor.

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