Video reading of ‘The Taste Tester’

On April 15 I held a reading of THE TASTE TESTER via Zoom, with an international cast from three countries and seven U.S. states. We stretched from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada to Melbourne, Australia — and had someone in every American time zone.

Zoom host: Stephen Glassbrenner

Stage directions: Beverly Amsler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Antoinette: Kate Cash (Kansas City, Missouri)
Malvina: Katerina Yancey (Fincastle, Virginia)
Johanna: Cheryl Carter (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Fernando: Bill Armstrong (Norfolk, Virginia)
Herald: Ron Ford (Spokane, Washington)
Geraldo: Scott Cooper (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
Angelo: Gary Reid (Roanoke, Virginia)
Duke: John Jennings (Melbourne, Australia)
Lorenzo: Will Walker Montgomery (Paris, Texas)
Tristan: James Brunt (Denver, Colorado)
Sally: Beth Brackett (Shepherdstown, West Virginia)
Court poet: Kelly Hoagland (Bonsack, Virginia)
Jester: William Joppich (Copper HIll, Virginia)
Sommelier: Carolyn Ziegler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Celestia: Nancy Lawrence (Roanoke, Virginia)
Guard One: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Guard Two: Barry Carter (Corsicana, Texas)
Artist: Danniele Ashee Seanor (Charleroi, Pennsylvania)

THE TASTE TESTER
A comedy with a message, and echoes of Shakespeare, set in Renaissance Italy. A shipwreck on a deserted island leaves only three survivors — two young children and a forgetful woman who thinks she is their servant. The girl, Antoinette, grows up to be a pirate, the boy, Tristan, grows up to be a poet, and all are eventually rescued. But now the brother is thrown into the duke’s prison for writing an offensive poem and the sword-wielding pirate-sister is determined to rescue him. She disguises herself as a man and takes a job as the royal taste-tester in order to get close enough to free him. She finds that everyone in the palace is in the wrong job — the court herald doesn’t like to speak in public, the court poet can’t rhyme, the chef can’t cook, and so forth — though each has some other talent. The play ends with a dramatic sword fight — between a man dressed as a woman and a woman dressed as a man — and the discovery that Antoinette is the true heir to the duchy, and the forgetful servant is really her mother. Antoinette’s first act upon taking office is to put everyone in the proper job. The message, of course, is that everyone has some hidden talent. Plus, a nice sword-fighting scene and some strong roles for women. Cast: 18 — 4 female, 6 male, 8 non-gender.

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