This account of Commedia's origins as a popular theatrical form includes a practical, step-by-step guide to using Commedia techniques in performance.
The work explores Commedia's recent revival through companies like Tag and Theatre de Complicite and the influential methods of Jacques Lecoq.
The second part of the book provides a guide for would-be practitioners, demonstrating how to approach the roles of Zanni, Arlecchion, Brighella, Pantalone, Dottore, and the Lovers.
It explains each stock character's "type" in turn: name, status, origin; costume, mask, props; stance, walks, movements; gestures, speech, characteristics; and relationships, plot functions and improvizations.
The text also covers a range of "lazzi" or comic business, improvization exercises, sample monologues and dialogues.
The author charts the experiments of 20th-century directors and artistes in "reconstructing and revitalizing a form which dominated European culture for three centuries".
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