An original hand puppet Commedia dell'Arte pantomime
By the mid-15th Century, Commedia dell'Arte was known throughout Italy and appearing across Europe. At first a rough, itinerant street theatre for the lower classes, Commedia evolved into a major influence in European and modern theatre - Moliere's classics are heavily influenced by Commedia and even modern television sitcoms owe more than a tip of the hat to its traditions.
Inspired by the world famous pantomime-dance performances in historic Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, Luman created his own version based on the timeless adventures of Harlequin, Columbine, Pantalone, El Capitano, and Pierrot.
Intended to introduce young audiences to the world of Commedia dell'Arte, "Harlequin's Cloak" opens as a troupe of itinerant players set up their scenic banners on a Venice street.
The storyline is classicly simple: Columbine, the ward of the elderly Pantalone, is destined to marry the pompous El Capitano. But plans go awry when she spies the dashing Harlequin. Pantalone's attempts to keep the young lovers apart only increase their desire to wed.
Meanwhile, Frau Franken, who lives next door, has designs on Harlequin and while he attempts to escape her clutches, Pantalone proceeds with his plans to marry Columbine to El Capitano.
Harlequin's cunning determination finally thwarts Pantalone's scheme as the young lovers are wed and Fran Franken wins a husband.
"Harlequin's Cloak" is an example of puppetry at its best"
Puppetry Journal, Fall, 2005
"Harlequin's Cloak" premiered at PuppetFest MidWest in July, 2004, before an enthusiatsic group of puppeteers from across North America, Japan, and Belize. It was awarded a Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry by the American Center of l'Union Internationale de la Marionette.
"a delightful romp and a visual feast."
Puppet Potpourri, Vancouver Guild of Puppetry