Open Forum

Commedia videos?

  • 1.  Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-11-2018 17:05
    HI all,

    I would love to as a hook use some video of a commedia del arte performance but everything I can easily find a youtube seems...not very engaging...especially to 8th graders.  Any advice?


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    Joseph Gels
    Theatre Teacher
    Boston Latin School
    Boston MA
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  • 2.  RE: Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-12-2018 08:40
    Edited by Stanley Allan Sherman 02-12-2018 08:47

    Specializing in Commedia dell'Arte completely agree with your conclusion.  Here is where you might look and find some quality video.  In Europe, especially  Italy and around that area.  If I can remember the name of the company that came to Bwy in the late 1970s or early 1980s I will give you their name. Then you can go to the NY Library and Museum for the Performing Arts and you might be able to get a copy through your local library - via the national library lending service.  But that would also be a good place to look for other videos.

    When teaching Commedia dell'Arte, knowing the characters and having good set of Commedia dell'Arte masks also helps a lot. (Not saying this because I am a mask maker that sells masks).  The masks is something that frees students and all kind of interesting things can come out.    Setting up simple improvisations - wonderful things can happen.

    Another thing you can do is the art work from that time, especially by Jacques Callot who has many drawing of Commedia dell'Arte in action.   Several sites have all of Callots work on line.  I know Harvard University owns all the originals and they do give people access. Look carefully at the prints before you bring them into your school as one or two of them, you would not want to bring in.   But there are other sites you can down load copies of prints.  Believe SF Museum has them as well.    You can do a lot just from the drawing.    If you would like book recommendations... this is my list ...  http://maskarts.com/booksrecommenedoncommedia.htm



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    [Stanley Allan] [Sherman] [Custom theater mask making, Commedia dell'Arte masks & workshops. NYC winter holiday workshops and summer workshops]
    [Mask Maker, Commedia dell'Arte expert, Teacher, Mime, Movement, Actor, Director, performer, producer of workshops and shows.]
    [Mask Arts Company www.maskart.com]
    [New York] [NY][stanley@maskarts.com[212-255-2882][il-dottore@commediau.com][New York][NY][Roving Classical Commedia University* (*totally unaccredited) ]
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  • 3.  RE: Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-12-2018 09:14
    Edited by Valerie Farschman 02-14-2018 09:27
    I know what you mean, there are some bad Commedia performances out there on video. Have you watched the National Theatre videos? I used all of those with 7th and 8th graders to get them to learn about Commedia dell arte for the play we produced in the spring ("Commedia dell arte the Prince and the Pauper"). I did not show them all of the videos in one sitting, but we would watch one or two, then we would all attempt to do what we saw.  I also believe showing videos of very physical actors (Charlie Chaplin, etc) would help them learn to use their entire bodies to show character & emotion. I never found a good final performance of the art form on video, so good luck with that.

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    Valerie Farschman, Drama Director
    MLS Theatre Company, Troupe 1422
    Marion L Steele High School
    Amherst, Ohio
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  • 4.  RE: Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-13-2018 12:53
    I love the Mel Gordon Lazzi book.  It is a paperback, and quite inexpensive.

    I typed up some of the (cleaner) lazzi and printed them on card stock, noting the number of participants needed for each.  I lay out a bunch of props: rehearsal boxes, pool noodles cut to about 36" for swords and bats, small bed sheets, squares of fabric for handkerchiefs, bowls, and a plethora of funny toys I bought at Dollar Tree, such as water soakers for syringes, axes, etc.  I have students choose partners and experiment with the various lazzi, choosing new partners every time they change description cards.  After a while, students demonstrate their favorites for the class.

    They certainly don't become experts on lazzi, but they develop and appreciation for the skill the characters would have employed.  And they have a glorious time.

    I do this with high school Theatre I students, but I think middle school students would enjoy it too.

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    C. J. Breland
    Asheville High School
    Asheville NC
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  • 5.  RE: Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-12-2018 09:50
    Arlecchino servitore di due padroni - Carlo Goldoni

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    Blair Biederman
    Gilbert AZ
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  • 6.  RE: Commedia videos?

    Posted 02-14-2018 08:58
    If you're looking to show the style of Commedia del arte, the clip I was shown when I was in college was from American Conservatory Theatre's production of The Taming of the Shrew. The clip we were shown in particularly was the meeting of Kate and Petruchio . Even though it is not a commedia del arte script, the staging style is commedia inspired and show the character types and dialogue style as well. I can also speak that the meeting scene is particularly engaging and hilarious, regardless of your age.

    Hope this helps!

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    Nate Netzley

    Cincinnati OH
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