This video introduction to the commedia dell'arte features Luoghi dell'Arte, one of Rome's leading commedia dell'arte companies, in performance, in the studio and in discussion. Entertaining and informative, this valuable resource celebrates the spirit of commedia, which still flourishes after more than 500 years.
Using authentic leather masks traditionally crafted by G. Santelli, and costumes by Dora De Siati, the video presents three complete scenes (Il Dottore's Lecture On The Commedia; Pulcinella Mendicante; and Smeraldina's Thai Massage!) and extracts from The Servant of Two Masters; and highlights from two monologues (Pantalone in Love and Ricciolina's Complaint); and a lazzo of eating oneself. In between, award-winning director/actor Marco Luly and leading actress Luciana Codispoti discuss (with Roger Jenkins, an arts educator) the roots of the commedia; Goldoni; the importance of improvisation, rhythm and masked characterisation to the success of commedia; and its place in contemporary theatre.
The walk and gestures of key characters (Pantalone, Il Dottore, Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Colombina and Zanni) are demonstrated. Stills (close-ups) of the masks are provided. The video is presented in English, though some of the extracts are performed in Italian with English commentary)