Summerfest Week 4: The Dissenter’s Handbook

July 2, 3, 5

The Dissenter’s Handbook:

A Collection of Riotous Tales by Dario Fo

by Shaking the Tree

Starring Matthew Kerrigan

Directed by Samantha Van Der Merwe

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Subversive. Carnal. Improvisational.

Dario Fo, Italy’s iconoclastic playwright-performer, forges incendiary wit and linguistic experimentation into provocative comedy. The Dissenter’s Handbook is a collection of Italian folklore filtered through Fo’s political jest, daringly staged by Portland theatre’s dynamic duo, Matthew Kerrigan and Samantha Van Der Merwe.


“Fo, who is also a performer, improvises all of his work before writing it down, lending even his monologues a distinctly physical character. “You can see how he found it in his body first,” Van Der Merwe observes. That’s why Van Der Merwe cast Shaking the Tree regular Matthew Kerrigan as the ‘Dissenter’s Handbook’ monologuist: having trained at the physical-theater school Dell’Arte International, she explains, Kerrigan has the chops not only to pull off the clownish commedia dell’arte style that inflects Fo’s work, but also to physically evoke the playwright’s stories on what will be a no-frills set.” -The Oregonian 


Production Credits:

Writing by Dario Fo

Performance by Matthew Kerrigan

Direction by Samantha Van Der Merwe

Lighting Design and Technical Direction by Ted Jonathan Gold

Sound Design by Ryan Mooney

Costume Design by Alanna Hylton



About the Artists:

Matthew Kerrigan (Actor)

Matthew has called Portland home since 2010. Training grounds include Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Illinois State University. He was most recently seen in: In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play (Profile Theatre), Suddenly Last Summer (Shaking the Tree), and The Snowstorm (CoHo/Many Hats Collaboration). He is a proud member of Shaking The Tree Performance Group.


Dario Fo (Playwright)

Mr. Fo is the controversial Italian actor and playwright who was refused entrance to the United States during the 1970’s and 80’s, denounced by the Catholic Church, pulled off the air waves of Italian TV, banned by various communist governments in Eastern Europe, threatened by countless officials and arrested by various law enforcement personnel who have been the butt of his scathing commentary. Along the way, he has also been lauded by critics, invited to perform at Harvard University and the Kennedy Center, presented with numerous awards, and performed his works around the world. Known for his comédia dell’arte style and improvisational penchants, Fo has performed in public squares, warehouses, and factories in attempts to get his message across to the public: a message that advises us to question those in power and to demand an open, accessible, and people-oriented government.


Samantha Van Der Merwe  (Director)

Samantha Van Der Merwe is the founder and Artistic Director of Shaking the Tree Theatre, where she directs theatrical productions and teaches drama classes for children. She holds a Licentiate (LTCL) teaching diploma in Speech and Drama from Trinity College London. Her recent directing credits are Suddenly Last Summer (Tennessee Williams), Masque of the Red Death(Edgar Allan Poe, featuring Playwrights West), pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill – for Theatre Vertigo, One Flea Spare (Naomi Wallace), and Wilde Tales (Oscar Wilde, Adapted by Karin Magaldi).


Ted Jonathan Gold (Lighting Designer and Technical Director)

Ted is thrilled to once again be creating magic with Samantha and Shaking the Tree. Ted is the Technical Director for STT, lighting designer, set designer, and TD for Da Vinci Arts Middle School, and Master Carpenter for Clark College. Recent work: Set design collaboration and TD for Suddenly Last Summer (STT), Set design and TD for The Snowstorm (Coho Productions), and TD for Masque of the Red Death (STT). He would like to thank his loving parents for their undying support of his starving artist lifestyle, and his girlfriend Audrey, for keeping him sane.


Ryan Mooney (Sound Designer)

Ryan is a designer and educator who measures out his life with teaspoons. He is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College and Third Rail Rep’s Mentorship Program. Recent credits include Caretaker (Imago), Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (Third Rail), and Enjoy (CoHo Productions).


Alanna Hylton (Costume Designer)

Alanna Hylton is a designer and costumer based out of her hometown, Portland, Oregon. She apprenticed and assisted for designer Jessica Bobillot for the better part of 2013-2014. She has helped design and stitched on such shows as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (PSU Opera), The Big Meal(ART), Eyes for Consuela (Profile Theatre), The Glass Menagerie (PAC). Most recently she designed Shaking the Tree’s productions of Masque of the Red Death, and Suddenly Last Summer.

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