A journey back home through a mask for the 21st century : the legacy of Commedia dell'Arte in postdramatic theatre with particular focus on the centrality of the actor in devised performance : a practice-as-research PhD based on three years of research, culminating in this thesis, an ensemble devised performance A Floating Caravan Under the Moon (2015/16) and a solo piece Home/Finding Home (2017/18)

D'Anna, Chiara (2019) A journey back home through a mask for the 21st century : the legacy of Commedia dell'Arte in postdramatic theatre with particular focus on the centrality of the actor in devised performance : a practice-as-research PhD based on three years of research, culminating in this thesis, an ensemble devised performance A Floating Caravan Under the Moon (2015/16) and a solo piece Home/Finding Home (2017/18). Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

This study aims to cast new light on our understanding, interpretation and practical explorations of Commedia dell’Arte’s legacy and continuing relevance to contemporary performance. An original contribution to contemporary studies on the Commedia dell’Arte, this research highlights the striking similarities between Commedia’s core principles and Lehmann’s postdramatic theatre. Rather than a reinterpretation or re-contextualisation, my work can be described as a reinvention of Commedia Masks through a rediscovery of Commedia dell’Arte’s principles, as discussed by Flaminio Scala in his prologue to Il Finto Marito (1619); first and foremost, the notion of ‘Actor as Creator’ that is foundational to my practice.

Utilising the ensemble devised piece, A Floating Caravan Under the Moon, and the solo-piece Home as case studies, this thesis discusses and analyses my work as a tutor, a director and a performer. It explores the efficacy of my physical approach to characterisation; more specifically my use of autobiographical material and Commedia dell’Arte techniques to develop a new Mask for the 21st century: the ‘Experiential Mask’. Moving beyond the traditional notion of Mask as fixed-type or stock character, this alive, malleable and adaptable Mask is created by the actors in response to their reality, their world and their culture. In answering the research question: How to develop a devising methodology drawing from Commedia dell’Arte’s techniques and principles without necessarily utilising the traditional types, masks and aesthetic? This thesis evaluates my approach to devising discussing three main areas of practice: my ethos (Chapter 3.1: Artisan Theatre), my dramaturgical approach (Chapter 3.2: Accidental Narratives) and my theatrical language (Chapter 3.3: Stage Resonances). Each chapter provides a contextualisation within postdramatic (devised) theatre, a description and evaluation of practical methodologies and an analysis of my findings. The Conclusions draw on my reflections, emphasising the similarities and differences with existing practices in the field and the originality of my work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Commedia dell’Arte; post-dramatic theatre; improvisation; comic gags (lazzi); slapstick comedy; masks
Subjects: 700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 790 Recreational & performing arts
Department: The CASS
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 11:36
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2019 11:36
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/5017

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