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The World of Harlequin, Then and Now (RESCHEDULED TO SPRING 2014)
Scottish Rite Theater
Austin, TX
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The World of Harlequin, Then and Now is an approachable, entertaining, and instructive introduction to the techniques and methods of the first professional performers in the history of Western Civilization. The one-act play opens with a group of students engaged in a discussion about Commedia - the relationship between improvisation and written text, the function and meaning of the masks and stock-character types, and the organization of acting companies - embellished by slides and practical demonstrations.

Captivated by the characters' quirky charm and the mysteries surrounding the history of the Commedia dell'Arte, the students attempt to enter the world of Harlequin and his friends by staging their own apparently improvised scenario. The play concludes by reflecting on the historical trajectory of the Commedia dell'Arte in which improvisation and stock-characters eventually gave way to scripted plays, shifting the emphasis from an improvised comedy of masks to a fully written comedy of characters.

The play is the English adaptation of Dalla Commedia dell'Arte a Goldoni, il Teatro come Professione, written and directed by Dr. Colli in 1994 and performed by the Italian theatre company Teatro di Sardegna. The English version premiered in 2001, at the George Ignatieff Theatre of Toronto as part of the exhibition Harlequin Unmasked: Comedy Transformed. It was then staged again in 2004, sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute of Toronto, touring to high schools in Ontario. Aaron Johnson, Artistic Director of La Fenice, has worked closely with Dr. Colli to adapt the play once more for high school students in the state of Texas.

The World of Harlequin, Then and Now stars stars Dr. Gian Giacomo Colli, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Matthews, and Keith Adam Paxton. This show is recommended for teenage audience members and their parents.
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Scottish Rite Theater (View)
207 West 18th St
Austin, TX 78701
United States


Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Comedy > Other
Education > Workshops

Minimum Age: 12
Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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