A Commedia dell’Arte performance and workshop for schools and colleges

Unscrupulous masters, artful servants, the dead and … the undead

The year is 1590 and the wind of change is blowing through the field of knowledge. Doctor Leglimbo, renowned alchemist, is on the brink of a profound discovery – a divine elixir that will open Death’s door and guide the departed back into the light.  Missing a key component, he enlists his hapless servant Harlequin to capture the vital vapour… But, when love is in the air and everyone is out to get rich… who knows where their greed will take them?

“A charming and slick show... The skill of the two lead actors, switching between roles, bewitches and beguiles…”

Dr. Olly Crick


“Really got under the skin of commedia dell’arte; extremely in depth and very well paced; balance of good fun and structured learning; very inclusive – all had a chance to perform” 

Alex Standen McDougal, Beaudesert Park School

An immersive commedia dell’arte experience, this play is devised as a springboard into an exhilarating participatory workshop that enables students of all ages and abilities to rapidly acquire transferable physical performance skills:

  • Greater physical awareness and expression
  • Confidence to fully embody characters
  • Performance discipline with vocal and physical control
  • Understanding of the fundamental elements of commedia dell’arte and the far-reaching influence of this style
  • Techniques for performing in masks and stage awareness
  • Techniques for spontaneous improvisation and devising
  • Inspiration for their own performance work

“When Quack and Zany are thus met
The world of Science begins to fret”

The influence of commedia dell’arte runs strongly through so many types of performance today: farce, slapstick, pantomime, the great silent comedians, sitcom and even cartoons can all be traced back to this 16th century performance form. It is also thanks to commedia dell’arte that we have many familiar comic character types: the foolish servant, the greedy old master, the cowardly boaster, the pompous pedant, the heartbroken romantic.

A timeless comedy, suitable for all ages, guaranteed to enthral and entertain

Through a lively performance, we transport your students back to Renaissance Italy to meet an authentic troupe of players performing a short traditional style scenario. Students then launch into a two hour, fast-paced workshop where they will experience performing in the masks, learning how to characterise and how to bring the masks to life with expert tutelage from our performer-coaches.

The workshop will cover:

  • how the masked characters move, speak, behave and interact
  • the energy, speed, level of exaggeration and the language
  • techniques for mask work and comedy, devising lazzi (physical comic gags) and meccanismi (rehearsed comic sequences)
  • the actor-audience relationship

A fantastic introduction to physical performance for any age group. This package is an ideal curriculum support for introducing devising and for A Level set text studies: A Servant of Two Masters, Accidental Death of An Anarchist and the comedies of Moliere and Shakespeare.

Reviews

“There is really no substitute, when teaching commedia dell’arte, for seeing it enacted live. Thanks for a very professional, participatory and educational session”

Dr L. Sampson, University College London

“We got to learn how real practitioners work in commedia and seeing it performed in front of me made it way more understandable”

Aude,  UCL audience member and workshop participant

“An excellent workshop for introducing students to commedia dell’arte. They loved the practical activities, particularly those involving stage fighting and slapstick”

H. Foy, Saffron Walden School

Bookings

We are taking bookings now for 2019-2020 academic year now:

Email us: info@learningthroughtheatre.co.uk