Commedia School.

Danish / English

8 styles of expression

Styles

Here at The Commedia School we study the grand styles that extend the limits of each performer. Each style has its particular demands, physical, vocal, and spatial that help the student develop different abilities.

Masks

Masks teach the student awareness and control of the movement and gesture. The masks demand that the student becomes aware of the essential gestures as well as aware of those not essential and thus distracting. The mask enlarges the performer to a higher level of projection and playing. An intensive one week mask making workshop with master mask makers gives the students experience designing and constructing their own mask. Click here for photos of masks

Story Telling

During this study, the students discover the fundamental nature of theatre, telling stories whether literary and verbal or gestural and non-verbal. By telling stories, the students learn to connect in a profound way with the public and develop the sensitivity necessary to hold the public and take them on a journey through the story. Everyone loves a charming story, and in this section of study the students discover their own unique charm while creating their own stories. This style of telling stories draws on the student’s creativity physically building images using movement, pantomime, acrobatics, and voice working individually and in groups. May theatre groups have launched their careers in this style.

Storytelling in pantomine style
Boring Simon clown get a hug

Clown

As the students encounter the phenomena of the clown, they develop a freedom of play while discovering their stock comic character, their unique way of making people laugh. Working with the solitude of the clown gives them a sense of being centered in themselves on stage and in touch with the immediate circumstances.  They develop the ability to play with the surprises that invariably occur in performance.  Working with the naiveté of the clown gives each student experience with a basic human condition and their own vulnerability. They discover that their personal vulnerability is what makes them interesting on stage no matter what style they are performing in.  During this study, the students have several opportunities to play their clown numbers and shows with diverse audiences in Denmark and abroad.

Melodrama

Melodrama has a bad name in theatre circles today even though it is tremendously popular in film and TV the world over. During this study the students discover what makes this style alive on stage and relevant to the lives of today’s public. They also develop the movement skills unique to melodrama and vital to making this style alive. The study of melodrama explores that dramatic territory that lies between farce and tragedy touching both at opposite extremes, at one end comic, and at the other end tragic. Working as an ensemble, the students discover how they can move the public’s emotions between these extremes by studying those demands particular to the melodramatic space.  Melodrama emerged in the mid 19th century as an art form addressing the social and economic circumstances of the time. The similar circumstances we face today make melodrama a very relevant theatre form.

Commedia sdell'arte Harlekino and Capitaino on stage

Commedia

Although the commedia dell’arte, the Italian comedy, is today a dead form, the study is important historically because it is a modern source of our western performing arts. The important aspect in the actor’s development is the level of play demanded. Someone once described commedia as circus with a plot, and indeed commedia is at its best when the level of energy is at circus level. The students are obliged to push their own abilities to the level of the fantastic discovering another dimension of themselves in the process.

Tragedy

Important aspects of tragedy are the chorus and the tragic space. In the study of tragedy, the students develop a fundamental understanding of the chorus. They can then transpose that phenomenon to the other styles giving all their work a richer quality. The tragic space, being very particular and a dominant aspect of this style, gives the students an immediate sense of the spatial demands of a particular style. These particular demands are discovered in movement, voice and text.

Buffoons

Buffoon

Many aspects of the buffoon relate directly to other styles. The tragic space, the fantastic level of play, the foolish logic, and the direct contact with the public are part of the play of the buffoon. This study then reveals to the students how different styles can be used in the same piece. Students discover how to confront the public about sensitive currant social issues in a manner that is effective and yet not destructive. The theatrical study of the buffoon is a study of human folly touching both the tragic and comic extremes. During this study, the students discover another aspect of the stock character, the grotesque aspect.

Cabaret

The period of cabaret study involves each student creating performing material that is very personal in nature with an emphasis on writing, composing and staging songs. This study pushes the limits of the student’s creativity in areas not otherwise explored, like stand up comedy, magic, burlesque and other more or less obscure areas of performing.

For us at The Commedia School, it is important that the students create performance level material in each of these styles. Shows in each style are staged in the school studio and often are later performed in other venues in Copenhagen or at festivals in Denmark and abroad. These performances confirm for the students the attractive power of popular theatre styles.

Creatures
Clown woundering

Make-up

Each of the styles have particular demands on make-up or masks.  Internationally recognized make-up designers and mask makers work with the students during rehearsals for each performance to develop with the students their personal make-up and give instruction about the make-up principles unique to each style.

THE PLAY, SPONTANEITY AND MASK

This is an exciting and intense three-month study that will profoundly develop those wanting to work in theatre and expand the skills of those already involved in theatre.

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Mask making workshop

Mask making workshop 24.- 28. October 2022

The focus of this workshop is to design a full or half mask that will have an instant visual impact on stage, and clearly communicating its intentions. We work with the traditional Venetian mask making technique

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