Masks Play!

Content Disclosure

Coarse language, sexual innuendos, crude behavior, and flashing lights.

Disability Accommodations

Equal Opportunity Institution. 24+ hours advance notice is appreciated for accommodations.

A devised work inspired by Commedia and featuring the use of masks.

Directed by Rich Brown

Assistant Direction by Kevin Harris

Director's Note

A devised play is a collaboratively created new work that begins without a script. Everything you see and hear was created by the company (except for a couple of recorded songs).

But we had a deep, historical foundation to begin our exploration with the classic masks of Commedia dell ‘Arte; each represents a stock, archetypal character, with a unique physicality, that has been in our storytelling since the early Italian commedia troupes of the mid-1500s to today. Commedia was/is low-comedy for the common people, traditionally performed in streets and markets, versus high-comedy for the aristocracy, traditionally performed in the court theatres.

We’ll share timeless characters with you: Pantalone/a, the old, rich and miserly, top of the hierarchy folks; Dottore, the quack doctor/philosopher who spouts nonsense; Capitano/a, the braggart, yet cowardly, soldier; Pulcinella, the mean, pessimistic trickster servant; Brighella, the hard-working head servant; Columbina and Arlecchino, the fun-loving, food-craving younger servants; and finally the Young Lovers, the only unmasked characters who love being in love & the idea of love itself.

We will also play with a series of contemporary commedia masks, allowing the players to create unique characters based on physicality and vocality. Finally, this year, for the first time, we are incorporating the Six Basic Emotions Masks: joy, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust, and fear. These nonverbal masks encourage physical specificity and invite the audience to make meaning with the players.

Our production consists of a series of short canovaccios, skits if you will, and lasts approximately 75-minutes. As the word commedia implies, these are (mostly) comic scenes played through impro, a classic style of improvisation. The players have devised basic plot lines for each sketch, but how they move from A to B to Z (what they say and do) is based on direct audience interaction, so get ready to laugh and play.

We hope you will join us!