Essay about Commedia Dell' Arte and Influences on Modern Theatre

1149 Words 5 Pages
Commedia dell Arte is an interesting form of acting in the history of theatre. During the 16th, 17th and 18th century, in the midst of the renaissance, there was a very delightful source of entertainment that people where privy too. This archaic form of acting was based around improvising and the use of masks. I am comparing this to modern day comedy since I have seen direct examples on television, which use this method of acting, in modern day shows. The fact that some of these performers were verging on genius is without dispute. Contemporary performers have looked into the past finding resourceful techniques to further illustrate comedy to their peers.
The first question is why use Commedia Dell' Arte as a training tool for modern
…show more content…
Despite the use of masks the actors in this popular TV show have to be extremely quick-witted, tough, and versatile, much like they had to be in the 16th century. This style is brilliant and the audience can relate greatly to this form of comedy because in society, real comedy is very spontaneous. Not only do actors have to assimilate a physical, mental and emotional change when they enter the stage, but they have to do it on cue as well, otherwise the action fails to make sense and the rhythm of the piece dies. This might have happened to many actors in Italy in the renaissance era since acting was still in its primitive form. However, actors today are quite professional and can accomplish improvising on cue, working together with other actors, and developing hilarious skits that bring the audience into a fit of laughter.
One of the important tools an actor has to help project over distance is their mask. Activating a Commedia Dell' Arte mask involves extreme body positions which, being expanded versions of normal movement, read better over distance. Let us start by simply putting one on an actor's face, and finding out what this tells us. It brings no special magic, no increased sense of being or anything. How then does the mask work over distance?
Well-constructed Commedia Dell' Arte masks contain many keys to action. It contains within its design three elements: the devil, an animal and

Related Documents