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Mini-lecture on Commedia dell’Arte masks: history and meaning


This mini-lecture on the world-famous Commedia dell’Arte masks - along with their history and meaning - is very popular with theatrical organizations, acting schools, fans of the genre, and secondary schools.

However, when tour operators request this event for the general public, we generally try to address what is the Commedia dell’Arte by focusing on the main characters and their masks, relating everything back to the Carnival of Venice.

Although the topic is somewhat narrow, the information we give is always very interesting. This is a fun event as well as an informative one. After all, it as to do with comedy!


Structure of the Mini-lecture

During the mini-lecture we present various aspects of the Commedia dell’Arte in a fun and visual way. We use:
  • classic depictions projected on a big screen;
  • a variety of real cartappaper-mache recreations of the Commedia dell'Arte masks studied;
  • acting out of dialogues between masks taken from the ancient comedies.



Topics covered include:

  1. The origins of Commedia dell’Arte;
  2. The overall character and various styles
  3. The skill of the actors and their improvisation;
  4. Commedia dell'Arte characters, what they represent and mean in Venetian life.

Everyone associates the Commedia dell’Arte characters, like the Harlequin and the Pulcinella, with the Carnival of Venice. That is undoubtedly right but, in real-life Venice, Commedia dell’Arte masks were a part of daily life six months out of the year when wearing masks was allowed by law.

Commedia dell’Arte characters were often a part of civic events held by the Venetian people even when the Carnival of Venice was finished. Today, we see testimonies to this unique use of Venetian masks in the frescoes and paintings of past centuries.

Hence, in our mini-lecture, we stress the deep connection between Venice and Commedia dell'Arte. 



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Dorsoduro 3172 30123 Venezia (Italy)
Email: info@camacana.com
Phone:+39 041 5203229
P.IVA: 02070120270


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10AM - 8PM (Summer time)
10Am - 6:30PM (Winter time)

We are open during holidays

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