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Term I Classes and Information

Session I Classes (May 30 – June 12)

Instructor: André Casaca 

In this class, students will explore their own Body Comic Identity, rediscovering the simplicity, tenderness and strength it takes to be able to be present in a scene together with the public. Working in a mostly non-verbal way, participants will discover their own personal comic identity through gesture, movement, sound and the nose. The nose creates its own eye, perspective and reality that preserves the words and makes the body speak. Through practical exercises, participants will gain basic tools of comic rhythm and timing as they delve deeper into their clown. There will be a working demonstration for the Accademia community at the end of the class. 

Instructors: Alessandra Faienza and Michele Segreto

The class will be divided in two parts: mask making and character creation. The students will first work without masks to discover the very first element that an actor can deploy: their own body. How do I usually walk? Where is my center of gravity? How do I put my steps on the ground? Have I ever wondered? And once I know what my body does when I walk, what does it communicate? And so, how could I be a character on the opposite side of what I am? Now that I know what I am, what would I like to be? Old? Young? Male? Female? Monster? Grumpy? Happy? Sad? 

After they know themselves, the students will have the chance to create a new self, which begins by creating a mask from what they discovered. This will be the moment when the idea of their new face will take form: is it what I thought it would be? Does the material respond to what I previewed? 

Through the mask making process students will discover Worbla, a very expressive thermoplastic material that can be used to create different shapes. The creation will start from the lines of the character’s face and progress to include the texture of the skin and the color of the hair, to create the most precise mask possible.

Then it will be the time to wear the mask and discover. How does it work? The way I thought? Can I apply my ideas or does the mask have its own life that commands me? And what about my character? How do they walk; how do they sit? Can I imagine them doing everyday things? How do they breathe? What are the dramatic actions under their face? In order to act the character in a way that is not generic, that is not a stereotype, we need to learn as much as possible and live in the mask we discover.

Session II Classes (June 13 – June 26)

Instructor: Chiara D’Anna

This class is an introduction to Commedia dell’Arte and its legacy in contemporary performance. The Masks of Commedia are indeed an excellent tool to expand performers’ physical vocabulary, stamina, space awareness and a deep understanding of tempo-rhythm and comic timing. In this class you will learn how to create successful ensemble work, interact effectively with an audience and improvise with confidence, developing skills that are fundamental in any performance setting – not only physical comedy. 

Following an introduction on Commedia dell’Arte and its history, the class will explore how to apply Commedia’s principles and techniques in the development of character and ensemble work. Participants will have the opportunity to focus on different aspects of actor training including body awareness, improvisation, slapstick, stock characterization and half-mask technique.

On completion of this class you will be able to:

  • Develop your physical and vocal vocabulary in the creation of grotesque and comic characters with and without half-mask. 
  • Devise and perform scenes utilising the Masks of Commedia dell’Arte, props, music and costumes. 
  • Improvise and interact with your audience with confidence. 
  • Adapt key commedia principles and techniques to any performance setting. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and cultural context from which Commedia dell’Arte originated and its legacy in contemporary theatre.

Instructors: Ginevra Scaglia and Jon Kellam

An atelier of theatrical training and creation aimed at the realization of a performance; an exploration and immersion into the theatre and writing of Bertolt Brecht. The pedagogical vehicle for this atelier is the symbiosis of two specific training and devising systems. Genevra Scaglia’s dynamic pedagogic transliteration of essential spatial, gestural, and physical training and analysis derived and adapted from pedagogical elements of Jacques Lecoq, in collaboration with Superdrama (developed by Jon Kellam) an idiosyncratic synthesis of performance training; extreme primal emotional state work, character development, and a practical application of improvisational techniques derived from Commedia dell’Arte and inspired by German Expressionism and Brecht’s ‘Gestus’ acting technique.

The course will be applied in 3 stages: I. Physical Articulation II. Emotional Articulation and Character Genesis III. Developing and Devising a performance for an invited public audience.



Dates (including Arrival and Departure): 

Term I: May 30 – June 26, 2021

Term II: July 4 – July 31, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: The dates above include arrival and departure. The Accademia dell’Arte does not accommodate students before or after these dates, neither in the time between the intensives.


The Accademia dell’Arte undergraduate program is fully accredited by Hendrix College.

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