It may be the most computerized form of theatre over all.
LISTEN UP! Commedia dell’Arte has never been a specific Italian concern. On the contrary one of the reasons that we know Commedia dell’Arte so well today can very well be that the French king Henry II vent to Venice sometime in the middle of the sixteenth century and came to see a Commedia dell’Arte show. He invited the group (I Gelosi) that played the show to Paris and that may be where Commedia dell’Arte became famous all over Europe. Since then it has been played all over Europe and later the rest of the world. But what would have happened if Henry II never came to see the show?
One can say that modern Commedia dell’Arte was born with Giorgio Strelhers production of ”Arlecchino – Servant of two Masters ” by Piccolo Teatro di Milano from 1947. The Commedia dell’Arte that has been around before has mostly consisted of ballet, puppet theatre, pantomimes or retrogressive theatre of costume.
Since many renowned persons – like Jacques Lecoq, Amleto Sartori, Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, Dario Fo among others – was involved in the production, in one way or another, it succeeded in spreading Commedia dell’Arte all over the world.
Jacques Lecoq, Carlos Clemente-Mazzoni started their theatre schools, Amleto Sartori spread his masks and taught others to do leather masks, other great persons and companies, like Théâtre du Soleil, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Dario Fo and Franca Rame, picked up the ideas either they developed Commedia dell’Arte in their own way or used the techniques in other works. New generations carried on and more schools, the Theatrestudio, Dell’Arte and Commedia school started to teach Commedia dell’Arte, more groups and persons, like Kompani Komedi, Mario Gonzales, Antonio Fava and I Sebastiani formed all over the world.
This international movement is still very small compared to other forms of theatre. This enforces the need for meeting points. And that just in a time where the internet started to developed. And here we have how one of the biggest international theatre networks in the world right now.
So this network is an important part of Commedia dell’Arte today. I have listed a little of what we can find except en enormous collection of websites from persons, groups and organizations (Please help me prolong the list. I know there is more out there but I can’t think of it right now):
- Commedia dell’Arte day (http://www.commediadellarteday.org) it happens the 25/2 each year all over the world. In the statistics from 2010 there was 85 organizations from more than 23 countries, with different 85 events in 68 towns on 6 continents (2011 it was 7 continents since one show was played in Antarctic as well) in 19 languages.
- In Italy there is a group called SAT (http://www.incommedia.org/). They are catalogize practicing persons, groups and organizations with the purpose to have Commedia dell’Arte on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
- La Fenice (http://www.lafeniceaustin.org/) is a Commedia dell’Arte group based in Austin, Texas, who held the world’s first Commedia dell’Arte festival on the internet. A lot of renowned persons held speeches and seminars, played shows and even held workshops over the internet.
- There is also a very active Yahoo group. This group may be one of the most important hubs for international Commedia dell’Arte. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/commediadellarte/).
This is the third part in a series of six from a seminar I held at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm about Commedia dell’Arte and its relevance in a modern context
See also Part one, two, four, five or six.