Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ian, Capocomico!

I am spending another summer teaching mime and commedia dell'arte to the children at Open Air Circus. Slowly, over the years, my classes have been attracting more and more students as kids from previous years keep returning to me, and bring new students with them, so this summer, I'm teaching two mime classes and one commedia class. The commedia class has gone from five students last year... eight this year, thus necessitating that I sculpt at least three more masks in time for or final show. In the mean time, feast your eyes upon the masks I made last summer worn by the students who inhabited these characters.

This is Arlecchino-- and this is the same mask I've come to wear this past year when I play the character with i Sebastiani. The motley on her head was made by my father as a gift and are the school colors of Boston College, which I was attending at the time.

This is Pantalone. I thought a formal brimmed hat might befit a more modern version of the character. My students often see him as the archetype for Montgomery Burns on The Simpsons.

Il Dottore is a parody of all learned professionals. The hat has been part of my collection since 1994. Once while wearing it at a coffeehouse, studying for exams, a woman called me "Il Dottore" and proceeded to introduce me to some of the characters of the commedia dell'arte. The girl playing Il Dottore is the sister of the girl playing Arlecchino.

Il Capitano is parody of every blustering, lying, narcissistic bully who ever walked the earth. He is often the villain and he is often from out of town. The pin that ties the cape was a wonderful borrowing from the player's mother since it features the faces of a number of commedia characters.

Franchescina is sometimes known as Columbina. Like most female characters, she is not traditionally masked in the commedia but I did not want anyone left out of the fun of wearing a mask so I invented something.

The story about the making of these masks can be found in this earlier post. Right now though I'm at work on three more masks: Pulcinella, Brighella, and Flaminia.

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