Days of Commedia dell’Arte brings it back in late February with masks, costumes and tomfoolery – it’s party time!
Before the era of sitcoms and stand-up routines, audiences were entertained by commedia dell’arte, whose origins date back to the 16th century. Comédie des masques or commedia all’improvviso had their roots in the traditions of Greek mimes, Roman pantomimes and Mediaeval court jesters, and they were largely based on free improvisation. Actors dressed up in leather masks and distinctive attire presented amusing gags – known in Italian as lazzi – showing off their tricks requiring considerable physical skills. “Commedia dell’arte lives on, and it can be created, watched and loved by anyone”, declare the organisers of eighth Days of Commedia dell’Arte.