Masks are available for purchase by teachers.
You can see samples in the Mask
Plan #1 Class
Plan #2 Class
Plan #3 Class Plan #4 Class Plan #5
Mask and Lazzis
From 1550 to 1750, commedia dellarte
dominated the stages of western Europe. Troupes of
performers traveled from town to town entertaining audiences
with their spirited, improvised comedies.
A familiar scenario or running order of
scenes pinned to the curtain backstage would suffice for a
skilled commedia actor. Such characters as Arlecchino,
Brighella, Pantalone, Dottore, Capitano and Columbina became
household names. So popular did the commedia become that it
moved beyond Italys borders to neighbouring countries
influencing the work of Shakespeare and Moliere.
The workshop deals with several of the stock
characters. It is emphasized that the students should
find a modern reference for themselves in order to
understand the energy and stock personality. For
example; some students often relate Pantalone with Mr.
Burns from The Simpsons. The female students are also
encouraged to find the female counterpart rather than
crossing sex and playing a male character.
The beginning warm-up involves simple
stretch and vocal work.
We discuss the history of Commedia and what level of energy
is essential for the
The students are taught;
1) A series of common characters and
their physical stances and movements which are then
uniquely interpreted by the individual student.
Female students are encouraged to find the feminine
version of the traditional mask characters.
2) How to wear the masks and mask
3) Hands on use of the masks and
character presentation to audience.
4) The nature of a lazzo or comic
routine followed by a choice of pre-set lazzis to work
with in pairs, trios, or solos. (multiple day bookings
5) Commedia performance. (multiple day
bookings and on the last day of project.)
Although the workshop can be taught to a class with small numbers in one session, it
is best taught over a three day or one week period. This
allows the students to absorb the information and overcome
their reluctance, or, fear of wearing the
Commedia style half masks are available
for purchase by teachers and should be ordered in advance.
to teacher's lounge