CONTEMPORARY COMMEDIA DELL'ARTE WORKSHOP
The Theatrical Creation Method
INTERNATIONAL COURSE OF COMIC THEATRICAL ART
conceived and directed by
31th July - 5th Aug
Budapest - Hungary
The goal of this course is to methodically walk the students through all of the necessary techniques and understandings needed to effectively and authentically perform Commedia. We start out with the characters of Commedia. We will work physically to find each character’s essential shape and movement. Students are introduced to the masks, and we explore techniques of using them effectively. Students are also given a thorough understanding of the history of Commedia and the historical scenarios that feed the situations used in performance.
Once the students have been brought to a comfortable familiarity with the characters and the technique of Commedia performing, we move on to simple improvisations, adding new theatrical techniques as we go, such as the use of props and music, and techniques of stage fighting.
Finally, students begin to write their own canovaccio, and we study the actual technique of assembling a Commedia performance, step by step. At this stage of the course, each day ends with the students presenting their work in the form of a “show.”
ALL LESSONS ARE IN ENGLISH
The students will work with original Commedia leather masks made by Antonio Fava, Fabrizio Paladin and Carlo Setti.
Character works begins with rigorous physical exercises designed to help the student find the “scenic presence” and “physical structure” of the character and ensure the effectiveness of the masks.
- Mirror exercises
- The elements of the movement (shape, rhythm, speed, power)
- The “yellow ball”
- Physical interpretation
Introduction to Acting with Masks
- Historical introduction to Commedia dell’Arte
- Meanings and symbols of the Mask
- The 3 positions (domination, collaboration, submission)
- Dilatation of body tensions to rebuild a “new scenic body” for the actor, an ‘alternative’ body created expressly for the stage and for the effectiveness of the mask.
- Improvisations with the mask without facing the specificity of each character.
The Characters of Commedia dell’Arte
- The Servants - The “Zanni,” or male servants, and “Servetta,” or female servants. These include the more popular characters Arlecchino, Colombina and Brighella. Includes also “Infarinati”: male servants without mask with white make-up.
- The Elders - These include the Miser, Pantalone, as well as the Doctor, the Lady, the Notary and Tartaglia.
- The Captain - The glorious soldier – a braggart
- The Lovers - The “Innamorati” - Isabella and Flavio (non-masked characters)
Next, students move on to improvisations on simple themes, from basic entrances, introductions and exits, to character interactions, such as two servants meeting, the Captain and his servant training for war, and so on.
Theatrical Techniques and Props of Commedia
- Use of Zanni’s tool – the batocio, or “slapstick”
- Commedia fighting techniques
- Use of music on the stage
- The aesthetic of “ritardo” (“the late”)
- Theories and techniques of the lazzo (“the joke”)
- The Slapstick Comedy
- Le macchine (the “mechanics of the body’ of Commedia dell’Arte)
The Canovaccio System and the Assembly of the Show
After working with these simple improvisations, we will begin an analysis of historical canovacci (the Scala Scenarios, the Correr Scenarios, etc…). Then the students themselves will work on creating their own original canovacci. Roles will be assigned, and the students will begin the actual process of developing the show:
- Improvisation of the scene in question from the canovaccio
- Analysis of the improvisation
- Recovery of the ‘good’ scenic material (material that is effective for the goals of the show)
- Repetition of the material selected from the improvisation, and fixing of the scene
- Improvisation of the subsequent scene
- Analysis of the improvisation
and so on…