Why Commedia? Why not Shakespeare? Why not Moliere? Why not anything else that is fresher, newer and more relevant? Commedia dell’Arte is the grandparent of improv comedy, of people getting on stage and not knowing what’s going to happen. It was the first genre to allow women to have a career on stage.
Commedia dell’Arte is never old and in some cases is much more accessible than Shakespeare. It features characters that you will know and love, even in today’s modern world. These characters, the greedy old man, the young lovers, the know it all scholar, can be understood by all cultures all around the world.
What separates Commedia from other art forms is the movement. We can all speak words, and allude to emotion, but movement is universal. One of things I particularly enjoy about Commedia is that it presents characters with very primal instincts. These primal instincts are what draws and engages people. Put primal instincts together with confusing, messy love triangles, bets and false pretense and you have yourself a recipe for comedy.
In Commedia dell’Arte the audience is given a rich array of characters. For instance, there is the rich, greedy old men, the fake scholar, the young lovers, the clever servants, the spanish captain, etc. These characters are reflections of every society. They operate on primal instincts and their movement embodies their desires.C