Commedia dell’arte is the art of comedy.
It makes you laugh.
It’s scary at the same time.
Some masks are terrifying!
The characters are well known, they are very typical : so, we pretty much know what we are gooing to see
And the actors play on what we call “canvas”. This principle is still used in many cheap TV series.
When the actors are bad- the show is a bit bad, it’s true.
When they are great actors – the show is great, to tears!
It’s thanks to the Italian actors who came to play the commedia dell’arte that Molière will have a desire for theatre and laughter.
Thanks to them too that the (French) cinema will succeed in making one of the most beautiful films of poetry: Les enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) which is a marvel.
Look how the mime mimes his audience : it is fantastic.
All this thanks to what? Thanks to precise costumes, to well thought-out masks (no doubt coming from the original tradition: at the beginning of the theatre, they are character masks), and to characters who allow to invent all situations, from the funniest to the saddest.
It is this mix that has brought this theatre to the top.
And what’s wonderful is that we hardly need words. Molière didn’t speak a word of Italian. The Italians in Paris didn’t speak French too well. And that didn’t stop anyone from laughing and understanding!
So, yes, I’m campaigning for the revival and renewal of the Italians in the Commedia’.
I think we’ll need to laugh in the times to come…