Commedia!

When I attended Antonio Fava's specialization course in Commedia dell'Arte in July/August 2009 it was a blast and I brought back that enthusiasm to the States. When I taught this course for the first time as a First Year Seminar a month later, the initial group of freshmen grew from 11 to 16 by word of mouth during the first days of classes. Everyone had a great time and another iteration of this course is scheduled for the Fall 2011 semester.
Course Description:
Beloved characters such as the cunning and witty Harlequin or the beautiful Columbine first made their appearance in sixteenth century Italy. As Commedia dell’Arte subsequently spread throughout Europe, Western theatre was at a most important turning point. Acting became a profession and allowed the performers to claim a status and power never experienced before. In this course, students will study the techniques of Commedia dell’Arte and will then follow a step by step process to generate hilarious situations that fully belong to the contemporary world.
Course Objectives:
  • To learn Commedia dell’Arte history, techniques, and specific terminology
  • To master basic and advanced stock character steps and behaviors
  • To improvise given situations through the Commedia characters
  • To prepare brief group presentations of canovacci
  • To devise solo pieces
  • To build stage “machines”
  • To become part of the modern development of Commedia
  • To actively and creatively collaborate with group members
  • To stage a full final scenario