What is Commedia dell’Arte How did it arise? Why is it relevant to play an old Renaissance theatre today? What is the idea behind acting in a mask? How much was in fact improvisation in a performance and how much is myth? How do one play Commedia dell’Arte What is the difference between the Commedia dell’Arte played today from the Commedia dell’Arte played in the Renaissance? Which are the masks and what are their characters? Those are a few of the questions we touch upon in the Commedia dell’Arte-lecture.
The Lecture starts with an introduction, where we discuss what Commedia dell’Arte really is; what it once was, where, when, how and for who it was played; what information we have about it and so on.
Then we enter upon the first roots of Commedia dell’Arte We also talk about Commedia dell’Arte s origin from four points of departure: the marketplace and the language of the street, the carnival and the ritual celebrations, the church and the miracle plays and Commedia Erudita – the learned comedy. The origins of Commedia dell’Arte are an extraordinary source to the understanding of the form and its relevance. We also talk shortly about the Renaissance, Venice at the time and the characters one could find in the town, to create an understanding of the time and its circumstances.
The next subject is the history of Commedia dell’Arte We talk about the great troops and actors from the Renaissance, about their influence on theatre and culture. But we also talk about the less successful Commedia dell’Arte troops status, the circumstances for and between different troops, Commedia dell’Artes condition, situation and position in the world. How Commedia dell’Arte came to disappear as a leading theatre form in Europe and the inheritance after Commedia dell’Arte.
One big section is about ”how to act” and what Commedia dell’Arte actually look like. That means that we are talking about the basics in the acting in itself, the form, the expression and motive powers. We enter subjects like mask play, contact with the audience, conventions and improvisation, relations and acting with the status in Commedia dell’Arte. Also what is outside the sphere of the actor like playground and set design, costume and the work around the stage.
Here we are also comparing Commedia dell’Arte now and then in a more practical way.
Finally we are talking about the masks. We discuss their different characteristic features, how they walk and move, their function in the action, relations to the rest of the masks, appearance, and voice. The participants get a shorter demonstration of each mask as well and possibly try on the masks.
If there is time and a possibility we will watch a video or DVD from a performance.
Depending on the previous knowledge, aspiration and interest of the participants, the lecture either takes on the form of a discussion or a pure reading. The goal is apart from that the participants shall get a clear picture and a deeper understanding of what Commedia dell’Arte is, also that they shall see its relevance today, know its history and roots, they shall get a shallow insight in how Commedia dell’Arte is acted and they shall have got to know the different masks.
If you are interested in this workshop click HERE.
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