2009 LUL
2009 notes for BM and directing classes :

"Caligari" and biomechanics?

Stage texts vs. words and "drama"

[ T-blog ]

Etudes for CALIGARI

[ list ]

Postmodern Horror -- parody of tragedy

Classic Tragic and Comic in Theatre Theory Files

"Fear String" [Aristotle]

Film and Stage [Chaplin Lessons] jumpcut.com/anatolant

Chaplin's Master-classes


2008 -- R/G are Dead : Players & Actors [Comedy about Tragedy]

PoMo Lessons : postmodern commedia?

New clowns left old circus tents. Mines.



anatolant Web-Theatre : director2007

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BioMX Acting I * biomechanics.vtheatre.net
"Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too." ~ Donald Sinden
[ advertising space : webmaster ]

Stanislavsky: Concentration! Forget the public! The Wall! Focus!...

Meyer: "I don't see how it is possible to deprive the spectator of his initiative, to deprive him of the opprtunity to express his emotions. How can you forbid him to laugh, to cry, or to applaud?"

Virtual Theatre
"Bad Jokes": Boops, Ass, Falling, Farting and etc. Sexual jokes, bathroom jokes!
Go Comics! Children Theatre Technics for Adults!
Actors! Sweat!
Cursing and physical expressions of it!
Dirty dances: parody of MTV.

Children's Games: including baby's behavior!

Theatre of the Grotesque!
All the anti-divine jokes: "Jesus!" Visualize it! "Motherfucker"? Physicalization!

World of Laughter and Laughter of the World
Spring 2003: Don Juan by Moliere
Theory of Spectatorship
THR221 Intermediate Acting
GeoAlaska: Acting, Directing, Theory, Shows, Books
GeoAlaska: Theatre & Film
Meyerhold, Directing Books

Spring 2003: Don Juan

film books
virtual theatre
THR121 Fundamentals of Acting Fall 2004
Directing Showcases
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA
2006 *
* stageplays *
BioMX Forum

Kabuki -- see Mikado (comedy), 12night, WWWilde, and Gogol


"Beginning during the Renaissance and lasting into the eighteenth century, traveling troupes performed the commedia dell' arte, the Italian comedy. The company's ten or more actors each developed a specific type of character, such as the Captain, two old men (Pantaloon and the Doctor), the Zanni (valet-buffoons). Since all wore masks, their roles were eventually called masks. Along with these comic characters were the lovers. Female parts were originally played by men, but later played by females."

Characters/Masks Breakdown

Artistic Comedy

Check the Cast & Casting page in "Method Acting for Directors" (types).

Since we are using Theatre Games and Improvisation in Acting One, why not to introduced some theory (history) of physical theatre, while we do it? The stock characters, the idea of situational comedy (v. comedy of characters). Biomechanics is less complex than Method (for young souls).

2003 * THR221 Intermediate Acting : new pages in BM+ @ biomechanics.vtheatre.net *


The Commedia Dell'Arte is an Italian Improvised comedy. It was first recorded in 1545 AD and went through until about the early 1700's. The exact origins of the art are unknown, there do seem to be some elements of Greek and Roman comedies of this era. The Commedia Dell'Arte also incorporates the skill of acrobats, medieval mimes and the jesters of the early 1500's. (Commedia Page)


Carnival Characters: which to use in DJ?


At the bottom the ideas for "carnival" in Don Juan (images from Venice, recent).
"Actor on Acting" (textbook): IV. Italy (41). Read at home: Dialogue on Acting, Introduction to Imprompu Acting and What Is a Buffon? Also, see my page Casting and Types.
2004 & After

Noh Theatre masks:

Five types:


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One Act Fest
^ The Shrew Film Directing "showcase" ^

Arlecchino (Harlequin), Venice, an acrobat and clown, he carried a baton which he used to bash other characters, leading to the modern term slapstick. He wore a cat mask, and his ultimate costume, a patchwork of red, green, and blue diamonds is still a fashion motif, though any patchwork costume would be called a harlequin costume. He is a not really villainous, he is just a bit dodgy.
Brighella (Figaro, Moliere's Scapin), Bergamo, a money-grubbing villain, a partner of Arlecchino
Columbina (Colombina, the Servant, Columbine, Harlequine, Pierrette), Venice, maidservant to Inamorata and lover of Arlecchino, usually involved in intrigue. She is rather intelligent.
Il Capitano (the Captain), boastful he-man soldier, but a coward underneath
Il Dottore (the Doctor), Bologna, Pantalone's friend, and a quack
Inamorata (the Lover), the leading woman, who wore no mask (see innamorati)
Inamorato (the Lover), the leading man, who wore no mask (see innamorati)-his partner is also called a lover.
Isabella (Lucinda, Cornelia, Silvia, Rosaura), Pantalone's daughter. She is very headstrong, flirtatious, sensuous, and articulate. Men are constantly falling hopelessly in love with her. She loves to tease and test the men. Her father always tries to control her life by arranging meetings and agreements with gentlemen suitors.
Pagliaccio (the Clown), a forerunner of today's clowns
Pantalone (Pantaloon), Bologna, a rich and miserly merchant who is the father of Isabella. He also employs Arlecchino and treats him cruelly.
Pedrolino (or Pierino, Vicenza, and most commonly nowadays known as Pierrot a dreamer with a white mask, now considered the French version of a clown.
Pulcinella, Naples, a hunchback who still chases women, he was the model for Punch in the English variation Punch and Judy.
La Ruffiana (old woman), usually a mother or gossipy townswoman who intrudes into the lives of the Lovers
Scaramuccia (Scaramouche), a roguish adventurer and swordsman who replaced Il Capitano in later troupes. Was the servant for another character. He wears a black velvet mask and black trousers, shirt and hat.
Gianduia, Turin, a well-mannered Piedmontese peasant.

Commedia Dell'arte: An Actor's Handbook by John Rudlin; Routledge, 1994

- Part I: The Commedia DellArte - Origins - The Mask - Playing Commedia - Part II: The Stock Characters - The Zanni - The Old Men - The Lovers - Il Capitano - Colombina - Other Masks - Minor Masks - Part III: The Twentieth Century - Craig at the Arena Goldoni - Meyerhold Dappertutto - Copeaus New Improvised Comedy - Charles Dullin: Letters from the Front - The Servant of Two Masters - The Lecoq School - Le ThéâTre Du Soleil - The San Francisco Mime Troupe - Tnt (The New Theatre) - Dario Fo - Carlo Boso and Antonio Fava - Restoration or Renovation? - Appendix: Making a Leather Mask

The actor may get bored with perfecting his craft in order to perform in outdated plays; soon he will want not only to act but to compose for himself as well. Then at last we shall see the rebirth of the theatre of improvisation. MEYERHOLD

Improv Page in METHOD directory *

Commedia & Godot

Montage of Attractions

, -, , " , ". [ru]

2005 Chekhov * Farces

(*Totally Unaccredited)

Sundays RCCU is traveling to New York City

5 Sundays
5 Commedia Dell' Arte Characters

Times: 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM (5 hours a day including breaks).

Place: Pier Studios New York City (West Houston St. & West St., Pier 40)

Web Site: www.commediau.com

Hovey Burgess and Stanley Allan Sherman have unique strengths in different areas of Commedia Dell'Arte. They will be teaching collaboratively and concentrating on a different character each Sunday. For these special Sundays they will also introduce elements of their comprehensive curriculum, which includes commedia logic, mask work, lazzi, mime, juggling, improvisation, scenario, props, rhythm, concetti, voice, speech, music, scatology and more. Both women and men will do all character work. This demanding physical style of theatre is a fascinating theatrical form in its own right. Commedia Dell Arte also serves as a creative tool for actors, directors, dancers, opera singers, clowns, and other performers.

The Theatre of Don Juan: A Collection of Plays and Views, 1630-1963 by Oscar Mandel; University of Nebraska Press, 1963 (see Don Juan pages)

Venice Carnival 2002 & DJ 2003 * Use http://vtheatre.net to link to Virtual Theatre pages!


2007 google.com/group/acting2 -- BM class

Commedia in Directing Class?

From meyerhold

Beckett & Commedia [ Commedia and PoMo ]


INDEX * fundamentals of acting * Theatre w/Anatoly * Virtual Theatre * Theatre Theory * Virtual Theatre Forum * Classes * Method * StageMatrix: Directing * Script Analysis * Shows * Spectator * Plays * FilmMaking 101 * vTheatre * 200X Aesthetics * Mailing List & News -- subscribe yourself * BM+ * Anatoly Film Blog & thr blog

Commedia and ACTING BioMX

SGANARELLE: No, I tell you; they made a doctor of me in spite of myself. I had never dreamt of being so learned as that, and all my studies came to an end in the lowest form. I can't imagine what put that whim into their heads; but when I saw that they were resolved to force me to be a doctor, I made up my mind to be one at the expense of those I might have to do with. Yet you would hardly believe how the error has spread abroad, and how everyone is obstinately determined to see a great doctor in me. They come to fetch me from right and left; and if things go on in that fashion, I think I had better stick to physic all my life. I find it the best of trades; for, whether we are right or wrong, we are paid equally well. We are never responsible for the bad work, and we cut away as we please in the stuff we work on. A shoe maker in making shoes can't spoil a scrap of leather without having to pay for it, but we can spoil a man without paying one farthing for the damage done. The blunders are not ours, and the fault is always that of the dead man. In short, the best part of this profession is, that there exists among the dead an honesty, a discretion that nothing can surpass; and never as yet has one been known to complain of the doctor who had killed him. [ Moliere ]
Modern Theatre has two parents: square (street) and court (palace). Church and University -- somewhere in between. Meyerhold, after his Sylver Age Palace decade (before 1917), left the father and came back to mother -- Theatre of the Masses! If the Palace is responsible for Theatre as Drama, the Street is the true showbiz. This is how and why the Commedia (La Commedia Dell' Arte) became important for Biomechanics.

Body language is understandable even by dogs and cats, most uneducated amonst us. The Spectacle (last on Aristotle's list in Poetics) became the first (Broadway still rules the street theatre forms for tourists). What does The Commedia offer us? Is it possible that any toddler can enjoy Oedipus?

In my Acting One classes I ask students -- did you take some core comminucations course? Do you know that the language (number four on Artistle's List) counts only for 7% of the message I get. Thitry something does for paralangual. The rest -- body language! What? More than 50% of any message is commucated through "no-words"? Why should we even consider speaking? Karate, action movies and porno know it. The Street Ways. We love movies! We love them, because they are always silent movies! Listen, I don't want to listen! I want to see for myself!


I'll be using Commedia and Biomechanics for Don Juan (Moliere) Spring 2003 Theatre UAF. Maybe better if I concentrate it all in DJ subdirectory in SHOWS. Of course, the pages will have the real forms only a year from now. There will be some discussions on 12night: Comedy & Biomechanics forum, character analysis and explorations and Moliere page will be better...

2004. Another shot at Shake & BM: The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare is full of Commedia's elements: physical comedy, episodic structure, stock characters...

show = the actor + the spectator

Show (Spectacle, Aristotle's principle #6, Texture becomes Structure, read Stucturalism).

Body Speaks!

Physical Comedy:

Private Parts in Public ("Private in Public" Method).

Upsidedown World:
Ass in place of face
Face in place of ass

Man instead of woman
Woman instead of man

Old as child

Humans as animals

Pissing and other scotological jokes


UNNATURAL voices (animals): too high, too low
All possible deformities!
Two bodies as One (sex)
One body as many
Four hands, no hands

Big laughter, big cry

"Voices of the Street and Cries of the Square"

Read Bakhtin on Carnival, theory of laughter.

Here is Meyerhold's list of types:

1. Male

Tragic hero

Comical lover

Dramatic lover

Jeune comique

Socialite ("Fat" from French)

Common type hero

Fool (common)

Character Comic Actors (young)

Hero of new drama

Character Actors



2. Female

Tragic heroine

Comic heroine

Ingenue dramatique


Common dramatic heroine

Young common comic

Young dramatic character actress

Young comic character actress

Heroine of new drama

Grande dame

Dramatic character actress


Comical old woman

[ based on "Commedia Troup" breakdown ]
Traditions: see Playscript Analysis for Non-Realistic Theatre and Comedy Genre. Also, Acting : Cast Idea and typecasting.

[ Film Casting -- most obvious typecasting! ]

MASTER. No, no! You got it all wrong! How do they let people like you teach? Jesus! Get out! Get lost! Go back to Moscow! Or China! Or Mars!
[ Meyerhold's Body ]

TEACHER (Stanislavsky). What about the truth?

ANATOLY. What is truth?

MASTER. Teach them to be big! Teach them to do OVER-ACTING as style! Teach them to turn "bad" acting into style! Teach them to punch! Tech them to move!

TEACHER. This is circus!

MASTER. That's right! And you are a clown! Learn to be ugly! Learn real comedy! Learn street theatre!

The Lovers are pairs of young men and women who are trying get together. You could describe this group of characters as the main structure of the plot in many Commedia Scenarios. Some Of the male lovers are Silvio, Orazio, Ottavio and Leandro. Some of Commedia's female loves are Isabella, Flamina and Silvia. The lovers were the only Commedia character who didn't wear masks. The Vecchi, or Old Men, are the ones who, for reasons unknown find it their duty to keep the pairs of lover apart. They want to destroy the plot of the scenarios. An example of a Vecchi is Pantaloon. Pantaloon is characterised by his selfish obsession with money. Pantaloon comes from the town of Venice, as in Shakespears play, "The Merchant of Venice", which is based on pantaloons character. Shakespear was both familiar with and adored Commedia Dell'Arte.
The Zanni also know as the Servants, are responsible for distracting the Vecchi from their goal of destroying the plot. There is also a character called Zanni who belongs to the same group. The word Zany is derived from the comic practises of the Zanni.

The Idea of Mask: not only the types (stock characters), but also to force actor's physical expressiveness. "Big Acting" -- movement and body language become the main medium.

NB. In your actor's journal you should write your personal type ("amplua"); usually comes with the traditional walk, gestures and so on (study). Taming of the Shrew -- UAF Main Stage 2004 Commedia-like style.

Don Juan 2003

Before DJ files read the 12th Night pages! Must see types and casting page in directing directory: CAST!

[ see DJ production forum for director's notes + characters' stories, actors' bios, exchange, questions, research, links, files, images ]

Don Juan XXI: Carnival and Theatricality
PS: I will be using 12th Night (Biomechanics as Technique) for the Part 4. CaseStudy, and perhaps The Importance of Being Earnest (Biomechanics as Style).

What Kabuki and Commedia del'Arte have in common?
You answer.

[ Kabuki and Noh types -- list ]


Spectator, we see, not hear! Breaking "language" barriers. Universal language of movement (film analogy). Spectator CARNIVAL is also transvestitism, appearing in different clothes, different personality. No exception in Venice. Men in women's clothing, usually. The most vulgar as a joke, the better the tease for everybody.

At times the Gnagas were going around carring with them young babies, or accompanying with other men dressed as infants, to make the tease even more exaggerated.

The name Gnaga seems to have derived from "gnao", the meowing of the cat, because of the falsetto voice exaggerated to make the tease more evident.

MASTER. Anatoly? Are you there? Sorry, I blew it, I didn't mean it....

ANATOLY. It's okay. It's allright.

MASTER. Where is the Teacher? I need to explain myself...

TEACHER (Stanislavsky). No problem, old boy.

MASTER (Meyerhold). Thank you.


In film classes I show "Chaplin' shorts" -- his art of movement is based on the tradition of British pantomime, which in turn comes from the Commedia. We can go back to the Greek comedy for more.


Next: back to Body page
Venice Carnival 2002
@2000-2004 index * Actor

DON JUAN: What! would you have a man bind himself to the first girl he falls in love with, say farewell to the world for her sake, and have no eyes for anyone else? A fine thing, to be sure, to pride oneself upon the false honour of being faithful, to lose oneself in one passion for ever, and to be blind from our youth up to all the other beautiful women who can captivate our gaze! No, no; constancy is the share of fools. Every beautiful woman has a right to charm us, and the privilege of having been the first to be loved should not deprive the others of the just pretensions which the whole sex has over our hearts. As for me, beauty delights me wherever I meet with it, and I am easily overcome by the gentle violence with which it hurries us along. It matters not if I am already engaged: the love I have for a fair one cannot make me unjust towards the others; my eyes are always open to merit, and I pay the homage and tribute nature claims. Whatever may have taken place before, I cannot refuse my love to any of the lovely women I behold; and, as soon as a handsome face asks it of me, if I had ten thousand hearts I would give them all away. The first beginnings of love have, besides, indescribable charms, and the true pleasure of love consists in its variety. It is a most captivating delight to reduce by a hundred means the heart of a young beauty; to see day by day the gradual progress one makes; to combat with transport, tears, and sighs, the shrinking modesty of a heart unwilling to yield; and to force, inch by inch, all the little obstacles she opposes to our passion; to overcome the scruples upon which she prides herself, and to lead her, step by step, where we would bring her. But, once we have succeeded, there is nothing more to wish for; all the attraction of love is over, and we should fall asleep in the tameness of such a passion, unless some new object came to awake our desires and present to us the attractive perspective of a new conquest. In short, nothing can surpass the pleasure of triumphing over the resistance of a beautiful maiden; and I have in this the ambition of conquerors, who go from victory to victory, and cannot bring themselves to put limits to their longings. There is nothing that can restrain my impetuous yearnings. I have a heart big enough to be in love with the whole world; and, like Alexander, I could wish for other spheres to which I could extend my conquests.


(c)anatoly : filmstudy.org & vtheatre.net