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Commedia dell' Arte

Commedia dell'Arte - The Masks of the Commedia dell'Arte, the actor's theatre
The Commedia dell'Arte was a theatre form in the ascendant for centuries with it's high-octane masked performers astride the trestle stage in the market place. When it fell out of fashion, it became an underground river that continued to bubble up into springs that refreshed and enlivend such theatre practitioners as diverse as Gordon Craig, Meyerhold, Copeau and Joan Littlewood. It's re-invention and rediscovery in post-war Italy by Giorgio Strehler, Jacques Le Coq and Dario Fo gave the Commedia dell'Arte further impetus and relevance.

Themes and disciplines I explore in my teaching:

  • The animation of stock characters
  • Technique of half-mask
  • Stage-craft
  • Lazzi and comic business
  • Energetics
  • Improvisation
  • The ugly and the exquisite
  • Comedy and tragedy
  • The poetics of rough theatre

The work will be explored, in it's historical context, with relevance to it's antique ancestry, via 20th century silent movie comedians into contemporary theatre practice and current trends in comedy.
Mitch Mitchelson