By SHANA ROSE
The intimate space of Pima Community College’s Black Box Theatre will be transformed into a 16th century Italian piazza when the theatre arts department brings Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Mandrake” to life.
Performances will be April 16-26, under the direction of Deborah Davis.
The play uses Machiavelli’s philosophy of “the ends justify the means” to spotlight the exploits of lovers, liars and fools.
Davis took the same approach as Machiavelli did with his satire and kept the play a comedy about love and lust.
“Human beings have needs, therefore these needs have to be met,” Davis said. “Human beings are concerned about themselves and how we relate to each other. That’s what this play is about.”
Protagonist Callimaco, portrayed by John Nobel, is a young man of the upper class who becomes infatuated with a beautiful and virtuous woman. She happens to already be married, but that doesn’t stop him.
The main plot actually surrounds the husband and wife who are hoping to bear a child.
With the help of a manipulative servant, a scheming mother, a corrupt priest and an aphrodisiacal plant, Callimaco finds a way to seduce the lady for his own taking.
His adventures simultaneously tie into the main plot.
“We could observe Machiavelli as a recorder of human nature,” Davis said. “He shows us just how multi-faceted we really are and how, when placed in certain situations, we actually behave.”
Theater major Damian Garcia plays the role of Ligurio, a character who is somewhat of a mastermind. He’s a manipulative, maniacal sweet-talker who is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
“There aren’t a lot of moral messages to the show,” Garcia said. “I think if the crowd gets the comedy, they laugh and they have a good time. That’s all I can hope for.”
The Black Box Theatre is part of the West Campus Center for the Arts complex. “The Mandrake” performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
American Sign Language interpreters will be available April 23.
Tickets cost $15, with discounts available. For additional information, call the box office at 206-6986.