Acting Behind Masks—the Art of Italian Comedy

mask1smallMasks may be the symbolic representation of the dramatic arts, but sometimes they are also the tools of the trade.

Teacher Emily Ditkovski’s Intermediate Acting class recently finished a unit on the Italian Comedy (commedia dell’arte). This traditional theater form uses music and dance, and productions are well-known for their comedy, witty remarks, and physicality.

Using masks commissioned for the Williston Northampton theatre program by David Watson at the Hartt School was a fascinating experience for the students and Ms. Ditkovski. Although the masks the students were given were not traditional commedia masks, they were archetypes that were very similar to those traditionally used in this type of theater. They also gave students more to work with as they experimented with ways to use them in their acting.

It was a terrific experience for the students. “We had a great time, and the kids really took to the work,” said Ms. Ditkovski.

The Williston Northampton Theatre, which Ms. Ditkovski directs, has a long history of excellence. This fall, the department premiered Eurydice, and Fiddler on the Roof will be the spring the musical. To see more pictures from the Intermediate Acting class, please visit Williston’s Flickr site.