One-Man Show Brings Italian Comedy to Cedarville

by Jenni Hodges, Public Relations Writer

Actor and director Matthew Wilson will perform his solo show, “The Great One-Man Commedia Epic,” at Cedarville University on March 15. His 8 p.m. performance in Alford Auditorium is free and open to the public, and a talk-back session will follow.

Wilson is an expert in Commedia dell’ Arte and has performed his show around the world since 2004. Commedia is a form of theater characterized by the use of masks, improvisation, physical comedy and iconic character types. The style began in 16th-century Italy and has influenced entertainment throughout global history.

In his one-man Commedia show, Wilson plays 12 characters and presents a classic story of young lovers. He argues, improvises and even duels himself onstage. The show’s tagline is “1 actor. 12 characters. 1000 catastrophes.”

Matthew Moore, an associate professor of theater, said Wilson makes Commedia accessible to 21st-century audiences. “He has mastered this style and makes it look easy,” Moore said.

Wilson studied in Italy with Commedia master Antonio Fava and taught in Fava’s conservatory for five years. He is also the founding artistic director of Faction of Fools Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., which won theatreWashington’s 2012 John Aniello Award for outstanding emerging theater company.

Moore said Wilson’s show will help students understand an important art form, and workshops will allow them to gain as much knowledge from him as they can. “You can read about it in a book all you want,” Moore said, “but you understand by doing.”

Wilson is a certified stage combat instructor and will instruct theater students in swordplay as well as Commedia. Both of Cedarville’s upcoming theater productions, Molière’s “Tartuffe” and Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” have strong roots in the Commedia tradition.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of inspiring greatness, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at