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Quick commedia unit?

  • 1.  Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 09-19-2021 11:26
    Hey all! Does anyone have any Commedia lesson plans they'd be willing to share?

    I'm finding myself with a few week gap. We won't have time to do a complete unit, but I think it would still be really fun and valuable to introduce the big idea of Commedia and play around for a weeks with archetypes and movement. I've taken some Commedia classes over the years, applied it to shows etc, but never taught it in class to high schoolers. Does anyway have anything that could be useful? A few lesson plans, worksheets, helpful videos?  I'm knee deep in internet research, but thought I'd come to this fountain of knowledge.

    Admittedly, I'm giving short shrift to this amazing artform, but something is better than nothing. if this goes well, I'm excited to add a more robust stand alone unit next year.

    Best,
    Nick

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena High School
    CA
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  • 2.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 09-20-2021 09:12
    Yeppers, what do you need! There's a great Commedia unit by Todd Espland (sp?) on Drama Teacher Academy if you're a member. I've done a mini unit on it for several years, so I'm attaching my stuff, which you're free to use.

    Jigsaw group learning of four stock characters, come back together to share (you can do this with more characters, I just find four groups has been about the right breakdown for me)

    National Theatre Commedia Videos on Stock Characters, Shape and physicality (there are others as well, they're all really good!)

    Stock Characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_0TAXWt8hY, start at 1:00, then skip from 3:00-7:00 and show rest)          

    Shape and physicality:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJEwuurzDe4

    If you can get your hands on a copy of William Ball's production of Taming of the Shrew, it has lots of fun commedia in it.

    Lazzi – warm up with A Sneeze! (yes, I see the irony), then the practice scenarios from the attached study guide

    Student assignment: Take on the physicality of your assigned commedia d'ell arte character (from their jigsaw groups, I pair them with someone from another character group). Work with your scene partner to create an improvisation around the following scenarios, using only gibberish dialogue.

    Can do the Two-person, two minute improvs to expand this (same attached study guide)



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    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School
    VA
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    Attachment(s)

    doc
    Canovacci.doc   29 KB 1 version
    doc
    CommediaCharacters1.doc   314 KB 1 version


  • 3.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 09-20-2021 15:29
    Theatrefolk has lesson plans as well as EdTA.  Assign students one of the types of commedia characters to research in order to move & talk like that character. Let them practice. There are multiple improv games that can be played with commedia characters.

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    Amy Sando
    Douglas High School
    NV
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  • 4.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 09-20-2021 16:35
    I've done a 2 week "touch-on" Commedia unit in the past. We spent a few days learning about key stock characters, lazzi, and ended with a "walk-across" where students had to walk like one of the stock characters we studied and the class had to guess who they were just based on the walk. I've also had students play bus stop as a character.

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    Erin Philyaw
    IL
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  • 5.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 30 days ago
    Nick,

    Here is a link to the Ball production of Shrew. It's one of my favorite productions ever.  I've worked with Todd Espeland and he is amazing (I have a set of masks he made for me in 2007.)

    https://youtu.be/ZMdXHoZD6Ag

    I have a slide presentation and handouts I can share if you email me - mrasnick@raleighcharterhs.org.

    Maggie Rasnick

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    Maggie Rasnick
    Drama Director
    Raleigh Charter High School
    NC
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  • 6.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 30 days ago
    I've done a unit similar to what people have already described. We've also made these masks and there is also a Commedia Plays book I found (I don't remember the editor) that has short classic plays and I put them into groups and they prepare a short performance.
    Commedia Dell' Arte Mask Set
    Wintercroft remove preview
    Commedia Dell' Arte Mask Set
    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD This special set of masks represents Steve's take on the classic 16th Century Italian caricatures that have endured for centuries on stage. They represent a stereotypical hierarchy of society that provides a great mechanism for storytelling be it comedy, tragedy, or an infusion of both.
    View this on Wintercroft >
    https://wintercroft.com/products/commedia-dell-arte-mask-set



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    Toni Thomas
    English Teacher, Theatre Director
    Ogemaw Heights High School
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  • 7.  RE: Quick commedia unit?

    Posted 30 days ago
    Thank you all! this is perfect.

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena High School
    CA
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