Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teatro delle Maschere: Arlecchino's New Clothes

Teatro delle Maschere
Teatro delle Maschere at Puppet Showplace Theatre: Stacey Polishook as Columbina, Eric Bornstein as Il Dottore, Ian Thal as Arlecchino. All photography by Cherie Konyha Greene
This is the photo of the troupe, and I stress troupe, while they are not the only ones involved (Jonathan Samson made a notable contribution over a period of only three days), Stacey and Eric have been my primary collaborators for since late August when we decided to create a new commedia dell'arte troupe, and I think we've created something special (sadly, Stacey is going is soon to be leaving to study abroad for a few months.)

What I really want to show you, however, is my new Arlecchino costume made by Cherie Konyha Greene. Some of you might recall my musing that I might need a new clothing for the hungry zanni who was always appearing in my kitchen when polenta served. Cherie immediately volunteered and we started sharing costume ideas. In dressing Arlecchino we wanted to factor in something closely resembling what an actual peasant of the Italian renaissance might have worn, and so we decided to start with the peasants seen in Francesco del Cossa's (ca. 1430- ca.1477 or 1487) fresco The Allegory of March or Triumph of Minerva:

From there, I wanted something distinctive that would identify the costume as my Arlecchino. I got the idea of replacing the traditional diamond or triangle patterns with squares, while substituting the regularity with asymmetrical and overlapping patterns, drawing inspiration from Piet Mondrian:

Or Theo van Doesburg:

I gave Cherie some sketches and the results were this:
And from behind:
So spanning five centuries of art history!

Photography by Cherie Konyha Greene. Francesco del Cossa, Piet Mondrian, and Theo van Doesburg art courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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