~ La Prima Donna~


A comic romp introducing the audience to the classic style and cast of the Commedia dell’Arte.
Telling the hardships of the first female who dared to take to the stage, changing the course of theatre history for ever. Becoming the first professional actress.
Tired of being treated as a second rate servant Colombina calls #TimesUp (and Arlecchino adds #MeeToo!!!) and together they plant the seeds of the first actors union.. or onion?
After 500 years (although much has changed) being an actor is still hard for males and females alike, just as it was for La Prima Donna …
Eight Commedia characters are crammed into this short play and performed masterfully by the two principal actors of the company: Bianca Bonino, Italian born actress, tour guide and excellent cook and Ben-Jamin Newham actor, singer, dancer, comedian, numismatic and expert of carnivorous plants :-)

History of La Prima Donna

La Prima Donna is an original production by Fools In Progress Theatre Company. It was spored from the need to demonstrate as many characters of Commedia dell’arte as possible to high school students approaching the subject. What was built to be a simple educational exercise and originally called Duo Commedia, became Fools in Progress most successful original production as it is at once hilarious, informative and entertaining. The play introduces the audience to the classic style and cast of Commedia dell’arte.
Due the current #timesup and #metoo movements involving the female actors of today, we decided to elaborate towards a new concept, transitioning from the previous Duo Commedia to La Prima Donna. The new production focuses on the story of the first female to take to the stage and become the world’s first professional actress. It is a light-hearted comparison between the life and times of world’s first actresses and that of the modern female actor.
The show remains a great introduction to Commedia as we perform in a comic sequence eight famous stock characters: Il Dottore, Flavio, Colombina, Brighella, Pulcinella, Il Capitano, Pantalone and of course Arlecchino.
If you have never seen a Commedia dell’arte performance before, this is the best way to get to know the main characters, the masks and the over the top acting style that Commedia dell’arte requires. Not to forget that the content, although painstakingly and precisely planned, is no less than eighty percent improvised, relying only on our extended knowledge of the physicality and temperament of every character portraited on stage. You can watch this play several nights in a row and never once see the same show!
La Prima Donna has only ever been performed in schools and after several years of “keeping it clean” for high students around the country, the Fools are looking forward to performing a more adult and naughty version at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.