We, the Tut'Z, are in the process of looking at the way we teach. Oof that is a convoluted sentence.
What I mean to say - we are thinking about what we teach and why we teach it.
We have always billed our teaching as - an introduction to Commedia dell'Arte.
However, we don't really do that, but we do.
Our usual workshop looks at bringing someone into the way we work on Commedia.
Which is unique, because we don't do traditional commedia. We do Tut'Zanni Commedia.
We bring in a modern flair.
We don't only use traditional characters.
We are interested in new archetypes.
We are interested in more female archetypes.
We want more than the way it was done.
So, what do we use from the traditional model:
1) Canovaccio. We still use a traditional scene breakdown that we improv into.
2) Masks. Most characters are masked. Only the innamorati are without masks.
3) Physical. Everything we do starts from the physical and uses the phyiscal to convey what is going on (not just words).
4) Improv. I mentioned it in #1, but improv is important. We want to keep the show fluid and reactive.
What did we learn, how do we add that in:
1) Focus. With masks, it is all about where the audience's focus is. We keep you looking at the right spot.
2) Relationships. It is not about the storyline, it is about the characters and their relationships. Those relationships make the show.
So that means, the narrative is less important. Which is hard for us, even, to wrap our brains around all the time. There is still a narrative but the games that the characters play with each other is first and foremost.
We do build characters similar to the way traditional Commedia did.
It starts with an archetype.
This is pretty simple. A type of character. A label.
A princess. A hero.
Then we add a few defining adjectives.
The blow-hard hero. The willfully submissive princess.
That is the beginning. That is not a character. That is the start - like a jumping off point.
Then we play with it. One of the Tut'Z steps into that archetype and fills in the gaps.
We interview that archetype and slowly discover the background, the specifics, the drives, the goals, the tone, and most importantly the physicality.
Once we have a few pieces of the puzzle. We stick two characters into a space together.
What do we find?
Do they have chemistry?
Do they make sense together?
Is there a juxtaposition that is interesting or funny?
Yes. Keep playing.
No. We move on.
Then we play.
Until certain aspects of the character become set. And it isn't quite a character, but it is like a baby character.
So. How do you turn that into an intro workshop?
Or what parts of that are interesting for a workshop?
Do we play it straightforward or do we get creative (like commedia for bankers!)?
-Just some thoughts from Patrick