(Laura Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/16; via Pam Green.)

Christopher Bayes is not your average Ivy League professor. Likewise, the casts he assembles when he directs aren’t the typical bunch of strangers plucked from auditions and thrown together in a rehearsal room.

These actors are members of an informal company that he refers to wryly as the “Lopsided Caravan of Misfit Toys.”

A little after noon on a Wednesday, in costume for a photo shoot, a gaggle of them stood onstage with Mr. Bayes at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, clowning for the camera. Their show, for Theater for a New Audience, is the commedia dell’arte classic “The Servant of Two Masters,” so they wore half-masks or carried swords — all very 18th century. But their humor was a timeless kind of silliness.

Andy Grotelueschen, one of the actors, stood ramrod-straight. “O.K., spit in my mouth!” he commanded, and opened wide. Instead Mr. Bayes poked a finger into his gaping maw — also a gross-out move, but unexpected, which sent a wave of laughter through the company.

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