Written and directed by Tim Robbins, Harlequino: On to Freedom combines commedia dell'arte, Shakespearean tragedy, live music, and sophisticated comedy to produce a dialectic on the meaning of freedom.
This new musical celebrates a particular kind of theater created by the Italians 500 years ago: the commedia dell'arte. It explores 16th-century actors' limits of free expression in the authoritarian environment they lived in. As the story evolves, a conflict between a group of rogue actors and a commedia dell'arte expert becomes a battle for the soul of the commedia, questioning the purpose of art, what is funny, and who writes history. Ultimately the musical asks this question: What must the artist risk to live freely in today's world?