HOME > Season Archives > 2009 - 2010 > La Mandragola


La Mandragola

Directed by Isis Saratial Misdary

@ Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre

January 28 - February 6

About the Play

About the Playwright

After years of living in Paris, Callimaco returns to his native Florence determined to become the lover of the city's most beautiful woman -- the virtuous BUT married Lucrezia. Intrigue follows upon intrigue, as a host of characters plot to assist Callimaco, wittingly or not (mostly wittingly) in obtaining his primal bliss. Lucrezia's husband, mother, and priest -- even recruiting the local P.I.M.P. for adept orchestration -- all, in the end, stand to benefit from this unholy union as fraud upon fraud is perpetrated by all. Set within a 24 hour period, La Mandragola is a satirical, comedic romp with songs to boot on why and how the ends justify the means.


Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (Italian historian, playwright, statesman and political theorist)

After fourteen years of diplomatic service, Machiavelli was fired when the Medici family returned to power in 1512. The following year he was arrested and tortured “with the rope” for conspiracy. Despite being hung by bound wrists from the back which forced his arms to bear his body's weight and dislocated his shoulders, Machiavelli denied involvement. Subsequently, he was released, exiled to his estate at Santa Andrea in Percussina near Florence, and was banned from public office. Without a job and exiled from Florence, Machiavelli wrote La Mandragola, among other dramatic and non-dramatic works, including his famous treatise and handbook for rulers, The Prince. Though he dedicated The Prince to Lorenzo de Medici, the favor he so desired was denied him. In The Prince, Machiavelli shows human nature as venal, grasping, and thoroughly self-serving. Consequently, he recommended ruthless cunning as the appropriate conduct of government.


About the Director

Isis Saratial Misdary, a third-year MFA student, has directed in New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, Cairo and San Francisco. Isis directed the North American premiere of McArthur Genius Award recipient, Naomi Wallace's A State of Innocence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco for Golden Thread Productions, and, subsequently, directed Wallace's Between My Breathe and You for New York Theatre Workshops’ ASWAT FESTIVAL. Isis is a directing associate for the Lark Play Development Center (NYC), a Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage (NYC), an NEA/TCG Development Program for Directors grant recipient and a Fulbright Scholar to Egypt.


Director's Vision

La Mandragola is about counterfeit, corporeality, minimally checked self-interest, greed, manipulation, fraud and last, but most certainly first, hypocrisy. Yes: a comedy.

I see La Mandragola as a play that speaks directly to the dire economic conditions of our times: people losing homes and life savings to shifty brokers, with vacant, implausible promises. In our production of La Mandragola, I imagine Callimaco, his servant, Siro, and the marriage broker, Ligurio, as a contemporary company, a corporation selling their services to cure the childlessness of the unsuspecting (and suspecting) members of the Nicia and Lucrezia household. In La Mandragola, everyone is who the person in the moment needs or wants him or her to be. Identity is a commodity, a service, brought to you at a price, to cure all ills. "Fake it 'til you make it" is the anthem here and for our production. The remedy for childlessness is the Renaissance itself -- La Mandragola, not only the supposed herbal root of fertility, but the play itself, performed with Renaissance, classical and contemporary erotic love songs performed by the actors and live musicians, all at a price, of course.


The Cast

The Creative Team

Callimaco - Matthew Bovee
Lucrezia - Carissa Cash
Timoteo - Christopher James Cortez
Ligurio - Spencer Howard
Sostrata - Hannah Larson
Siro - Lee Montgomery
Nicia - Justin O’Neill

Director - Isis Saratial Misdaray
Prod. Stage Manager - Evangeline Rose Whitlock
Choreographer/Movement Director - Carrie Prince
Set Design - Ian Wallace
Costume Design - Sohhee Han
Lighting Design - Omar Ramos
Composer/Sound Design - Blair Robert Nelson
Script Adaptation - Krista Knight
Assistant Director - Larissa Lury
Asst Stage Manager - Leighann Enos
Asst Choreographer - Paul Scudder
Asst Set Design - Gaeun Kim
Asst Costume Design - Joy Kim, Alix Martus
                                      Tijana Porobic
Asst Lighting Design - Sherrice Kelley



Thu, Jan. 28, 7:00 pm   PREVIEW
Fri, Jan. 29, 8:00 pm   OPENING
Sat, Jan. 30, 2:00 pm   MATINEE
Sat, Jan. 30, 8:00 pm    
Thu, Feb. 4, 8:00 pm    
Fri, Feb. 5, 8:00 pm    
Sat, Feb. 6, 8:00 pm   CLOSING

Located at: Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre

Parking Passes Required: Monday through Friday. Weeknight passes are $2 per vehicle from the vending machines located in the UC San Diego Theatre District/La Jolla Playhouse parking lots and entry display case. Please remember your parking space number. You will need it to purchase your parking pass.

Note: Machines take all major credit cards except Discover and when paying with cash you must use exact change, NO CHANGE GIVEN.

Parking Passes Not Required: Saturdays and Sundays


Cars without permits are subject to ticketing by UCSD Campus Police. The Theatre & Dance Department does not have the authority to waive and cannot pay parking tickets.



Advance tickets for this production are available Monday-Friday, noon to 6 pm by calling the Box Office at 858.534.4574 or in person at the Theatre District’s Central Box Office at the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre. 

At-the-Door tickets, if available, can be purchased one hour before show time at the performing theatre’s box office at the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre.

General Admission


UCSD Faculty/Staff/Alumni
Association, and Seniors (over 62)


UCSD Students (with ID)


*Preview performance on Thursday, January 28th at 7:00 pm is offered at the reduced ticket prices of $15/$10/$8.



Production Photos

Photos by Manuel Rotenberg

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