See one of the best and earliest forms of improv comedy when the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theater's first-year students present Viva Commedia! Feb. 1-3 at 8 p.m. at Dell'Arte's Carlo Theatre (pay what you can).
Commedia dell'arte, going back centuries, is marked by bold physical play, over-the-top exaggerated performances with actors in masks portraying universal archetypes and stock characters. It is mostly improvised, based around loose scenarios, with skilled physical play. Sometimes employing acrobatics and always larger than life, commedia actors use their entire bodies to convey emotion and reaction, often breaking the fourth wall to include the audience. The term "slapstick" originated with this form of theater because of a contraption where two wooden pieces were slapped together creating a loud "whack" when a character's ass was smacked. So you know what you're in for.
Always an audience favorite, this student show is one of the school's most popular. Uncensored and bawdy, it is great fun for adults but not appropriate for younger viewers. (Who knows what else may be smacked.) See what the first-year students have learned — extra padding, perhaps? — you won't be disappointed. Shows sell out every year, so call ahead (668-5663) to reserve your spot.