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ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre portrays comedy, drama and fantasy in the Italian classic The King Stag

Laura Wilkinson (Smeraldina) and Trevor Starkey (Pantalone) in the ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre production of The King Stag, Oct. 28 - Nov. 6, 2005.
Photo by Tim Trumble.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

October 12, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. - ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre presents the 18 th century Italian comedy-fantasy classic popularized by the American Repertory Theatre and enjoyed by adults and children worldwide, The King Stag. Childsplay Theatre Director and ASU alumnus David Saar will direct the English version of the show, which opens Oct. 28 and runs through Nov. 6.

Appropriate for all ages, Carlo Gozzi's whimsical fable combines the classic fairy tale with rollicking commedia dell'arte - a rapid-fire, physical form of comedy that is the precursor to the modern-day sitcom. Set in the kingdom of Serendippo, Deramo, the kind and just ruler of the kingdom, uses a magical statue that laughs at lies in his quest for a bride who always will be truthful. A mysterious charm that enables Deramo's soul to leave his body and enter another, leads to a ruckus in the forest when he becomes trapped in the body of "The King Stag."

"It's a big story filled with ridiculous moments of fantasy and logic-blocking plot turns that beg to be told in a large manner," says Saar. "And at the heart of it is a love story."

Linda Essig, artistic director and chair of the Herberger College Department of Theatre says "the play has something for everyone: romance, politics, laughing statues, murderous assistants, feisty maidens and forest animals. It is brought to life by a team of extraordinary artists whose work not only enriches this production, but enhances the learning experiences of our students."

Guest artists include actor and Childsplay associate artist Duane Hartford and set designer Kim Williamson, whose designs have appeared in Childsplay, Actor's Theatre and Phoenix Theatre productions.

Saar, who the Herberger College honored in 2002 with its first Outstanding Alumni Award, directed Cyrano de Bergerac at ASU five years ago and is enjoying his return to ASU. "It's exciting to work with the next generation of artists," he said. "There is some real talent here."

Tickets for The King Stag are $5-$20 and available online at or through the Herberger College Box Office, 480-965-6447.   Show times are 7:30 p.m., Oct. 28-29 and Nov. 3-5; and 2 p.m., Oct. 30 and Nov. 6; at the Galvin Playhouse in the Nelson Fine Arts Center, southeast corner of 10 th Street and Mill Ave.

The Herberger College Department of Theatre production program moves the art of theatre into the future with student production opportunities; curricula; and professional productions that enrich the cultural life of the university, the community and the region. For more information, go to

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay