Edna St. Vincent Millay may be remembered as a poet, but her literary work includes several plays, including the one-act "Aria da Capo." Written in 1919 for the Provincetown Players, this fanciful piece receives a rare revival this weekend at Writers & Books, directed by Melyssa Hall and Spencer Christiano. Despite its title, "Aria da Capo" has nothing to do with opera; instead it's a fable, or as Millay describes it, "a tragedy with comic properties," that revives stock comic characters from the commedia dell'arte of Renaissance Italy. Two lovers, Pierrot and Columbine, begin the play in celebration, but it is taken over by the Muse of Tragedy, who decides to replace their characters with two shepherds. Intellectual-theatrical hijinks ensue. The play will be preceded by the inspired fooling around of the members of Flower City Vaudeville. "Aria da Capo" sounds like an intimate evening (the Writers & Books performing space only holds about 40 people) and an intriguingly different one.
"Aria da Capo" will be performed Thursday, January 22, through Saturday, January 24, and Thursday, January 29, through Saturday, January 31, at Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue. 8 p.m. all nights; and a performance at 2 p.m. January 24. $15. wab.org.