On October 23, 1997, the premiere of the musical play GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS will form part of the Residental College's Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration. The play will run for two weekends, ending November 2. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the play's energetic fusion of clowning, song, dance, and puppets in the style of commedia dell'atre. Inspired by an old Italian ghost-story known as Giovannin' Senza Paura, GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS is perfect for the holiday season.

Everyone directly involved with the production are Ann Arbor area residents, most of whom are either UM faculty or alums: author/lyricist Carolyn Balducci (RC Creative Writing), composer Ben Cohen (guest artist), director Kate Mendeloff (RC Drama) and "featured player" Martin Walsh (RC's Drama Program Head) as well as set designer Katleen Letts (guest artist) puppet designer Deborah Gibson (guest artist), and lighting designer Rita Girardi (guest artist).

Since GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS showcases the RC's innovative style of teaching drama through production, it has been awarded a University of Michigan YoHA Mini-Grant. A mini-grant from the Washtenaw County Council for the Arts, a regranting agency of the Michigan Council for the Arts, provides funds for "Artists-Behind-The-Scenes," informal talks with guest artists, Letts, Girardi, Gibson and composer Cohen.


Giovanni The Fearless

A Commedia Dell'Arte

Musical Play for Actors & Puppets


Book & Lyrics

by Carolyn Feleppa Balducci



Giovanni, (Arlecchino) a young wanderer (Tenor)

Jacopo Bombasto, (Pantalone) pater familias (Baritone)

Colombina, Jacopo's beautiful elder daughter (Soprano)

Adelina, Jacopo's youngest child (Alto/Mezzo)

Jacopo's teen-aged sons, Ugo (Bass), Ivo (Baritone), Piero (Tenor)

Miscellaneous Bombastos (Zanni)

The Giant (a Bunraku puppet)

Various Enchantments & Magical Phenomena


Puppetry includes Bunraku, Rod Puppets (or Marionettes) & Shadow Puppets.



Place: An Enchanted Forest



Place: The Giant's Castle