The Commedia dell’Arte
On International Commedia Day I thought I’d comment on this historic form as concerns it’s contemporary relevance.
The commedia dell’Arte appeared in the mid 1500’s at the beginning of the renaissance. It is a form of broad physical comedy that emerged from a world filled with the Black Death. The Commedia was born of a world in which falling in love could have resulted in death, buying a cake in the market place could result in death, doing laundry might be a near death experience, being sneezed on was certain death, disciplining your children might cause your own death, counting your money at the end of a long day meant possible death and so on.
The Commedia is a world of desperation wherein every aspect of life lives in a heightened state of idiocy as the characters attempt to navigate both internal and external difficulties whose solution or lack thereof result in either survival (more idiocy) or death (a very quiet state of idiocy).
Given the extreme dysfunction of our contemporary world, the absurdity of societal problems, the ridiculous way in which we invent controversy and the manner in which we sensationalize triviality, it seems as if the extreme that is the Commedia dell’Arte is as relevant today as it was 500 years ago.
Happy Commedia Day!!! May it be filled with extravagant moments of idiocy.