Performance Commedia workshop
…a once a week workshop and weekend intensive…
Teacher: Jon Kellam
Music and percussion: Jef Bek
Attwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90039
The weekend intensive fee – $200
Weekly workshop fee – $75
PLEASE SECURE A PLACE IN THE CLASS BY SENDING ME AN EMAIL TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS–AND IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ISSUES. I WILL BE SENDING OUT SOME PRELIMINARY INFORMATION A FEW DAYS LEADING UP TO THE FIRST CLASS.
Course overview and description:
Students will learn a specific process of training and application of, the elements of a specific derivative of Commedia dell Arte. We will also learn a theatrical vocabulary. These techniques are characteristic of an existing common theatrical language utilized by the Actors’ Gang theatre company, called ‘The Style’*.
For this course, we will talk about ‘The Style’ as an evolution of technique or committee of techniques related to commedia. Other techniques and pedagogy that have influenced this continuing evolution of ‘The Style’ include techniques of physical theatre such as Clown, Suzuki, Viewpoints and composition work. We will explore and practice exercises derived from all of these disciplines. We call this derivative of ‘The Style’- ‘Performance Commedia’.
Students will learn and practice the terms, techniques and elements of ‘The Style’ including but not limited to the following
- Being ‘stated’, understanding the ‘emotional state’
- The stock characters of the Commedia dell Arte
- ‘The image’ building character through image, mask*, voice and movement
- Developing an acute awareness of the body on stage and in movement
- Understanding and creating a ‘lazzi’
- Participation as a performer AND an audience member
The general focus will be on three areas, 1) to gain a basic comprehension and expertise of the exercises, 2) character study and image and 3) ensemble building. We use recorded and live music and percussion. Playwrights, designers and directors are also encouraged to participate in this course.
Activity and Requirements:
We will work with improvisation, mask and image, composition and a series of exercises designed to allow and inspire the student to be physically, emotionally and mentally ‘open’ and ‘free’. By creating a strong image including white face and costume, we will work to create characters loosely based on the stock characters of Commedia dell Arte and influenced by contemporary evolutions of these characters. The students are encouraged to participate with a high level of commitment and energy.
It is required for the students to attend ALL of the classes and if there are scheduling issues it is best to attend at least the first session as there will be quite a bit of introductory information to comprehend.
This specific workshop will commence over one weekend and could develop into a weekly class. Each session will last approximately 4 to 5 hours.
Rehearsal clothing, costumes, wigs, make-up–clown white, color wheels, brushes etc., and musical instruments. (Please bring a suitcase of ‘stuff’ you might have laying around, that you are not worried about keeping in tact.)
* ‘The Style’ is a derivative from Arianne Mnouchkine and the Theatre du Soleil. In 1984 the Theatre du Soleil came to L.A. to perform for the ’84 Olympics. At that time members of The Actors’ Gang participated in workshops taught by Theatre du Soleil lead actor George Bigot, who introduced the group to the Theatre du Soleil ‘s version of Commedia dell Arte. The Actors’ Gang then synthesized what they learned into what is now known as ‘The Style’. New Crime Productions based out of Chicago also practiced ‘The Style’. I have been training, teaching and applying this style since 1988 and have termed the continuing evolution, ‘Performance Commedia’.