The crosscultural dimensione of the mask

from the Comedy of Art to the Balinese Topeng

from 23 to 25 September 2016 at Spazio Teatro (Vico Pallonetto a Santa Chiara 15) NAPOLI organized as part of the theater festival “The journey of Captain Matamoros” by Coop En Kai Pan and Theatrical Association Aistheis.

The Comedy of Art was born about the middle of the sixteenth century and was so named because, for the first time in Europe, carried on the scenes professional actors, who represented an art or a professional guild leading comedy around the world and often gave life to real artistic dynasties, such as Biancolelli or Andreini.
Artistic complex phenomenon, the Comedy of the Art was defined differently in relation to the structural features, to the scenic representation mode, the roles of the characters and the nationality.
It was also called Comedy “all’improvviso” or “a soggetto” or “a canovaccio”, because there wasn’t a real play to act, but a simple plot which the actors, improvising, filled with monologues, dialogues and jokes.
It is also called Comedy of masks, because the actors used to act wearing a mask and, in any case, played fixed roles, with the same movements, behaviors, customs and language. It was finally called Italian Comedy when, in the seventeenth century, the model was exported out of Italy and was very successful in Europe.
It’s not certain how the Comedy of Art was born but there is inside it the echo of the ancient greek and latin theater tradition and the spirit of the popular farce. In addition, it could draw many elements from the rich Italian tradition of Carnival, and maybe derived from the Renaissance lesson the use of imitation – emulation of ancient rhetorical models in order to contaminate the original crations with references from classical culture. So it’s clear that Comedy of Art has strong roots.
Improvisation was based on codified genres and the actors took inspiration from a rich repertoire of revenues, leaves, interludes and pulls. The numerous surviving scenarios attest the link with the ancient comedy and the sixteenth-century erudite one from which the actors took the disguises, the misunderstandings, the mockery, the beatings and the recognition in unexpected and decisive final. And for completing the scenarios there were scenic virtuosity, acrobatics, dances, highly expressive gestures and musical accompaniments.

We propose a study on body and voice based on a personal training born from the synthesis of different techniques that the director, actor and trainer Luca Gatta assimilated in the course of his research. The reference points are: the Asian traditions, African dance, pantomime, contemporary music and voice physiognomy.
The masterclass aims to re-read the Commedia dell’Arte in a cross-cultural dimension through the interaction with the traditions of other countries. The objective is to build cultural relations between different theater traditions, in order to create a new product that will be the summary of the different cultures.
This year Comedy of Art will meet Balinese masks and dance Topeng by collaborating with Carmencita Palermo, expert in Balinese theatre, who has also a long experience in teaching both in Europe and in Asia.

Physical training
Presentation of the masks
Study on neutral
The body and the human types bands
Strengthening bodily bands
-African dance
-ethnic dances
-folk dances
Breakdown of the movement
study on pulse
The mask blows
The characters
The meeting with the mask
The trick behind the mask
Theatrical Game
Vocal training
The body as a total resonator
The consonants
The vocal gesture as a spokesperson
The voice and the choir

This workshop aims to give insights into the transformative nature of the body-mind in order to become a true character. In the beginning, the exploration of the Balinese dance techniques allow us to connect with the source of movement for purpose; then you can search for new body shapes and characters through using the improvisation techniques of Balinese Topeng.
Physical warming-up exercises.
Learning the basic techniques and codes of Balinese dance-how to walk, first elements of Balinese dance movements.
Searching for the source of energy that brings the mask to life.
Keras and Manis (strong and refined energy)- understanding the two poles through which bodily energy is transmitted in Topeng.

LUCA GATTA studied at the International School of Theatre Anthropology directed by Eugenio Barba, both in Denmark with the actors of Odin Teatret and in Poland at The Grotowski Institute. He continues his theater training by attending workshops with many actors like Torgeir Wethal, Roberta Carreri, Julia Varley, Frans Winther (Odin Teatret). He got the title of Therapeutic QI Cong Instructor at the Center for Eastern Studies Disciplines of Montelupo Fiorentino (FI). He took the drama and theatre anthropology workshopsof prof. Marco De Marinis (University of Bologna) and prof. Carmelo Greco (University of Naples). He took the UISP certification as a teacher of Folk Dances. He attended the fifteenth edition of Arlecchino Errante, held by Claudia Contin and Ferruccio Merisi, with seminars by Yves Lebreton, Claire Heggen and Lucia Zaghet. He attended the Balinese Topeng Dance workshop with Master I Made Djimat and Enrico Masseroli. He was the main teacher and trainer of the masterclasses on modern use of the mask in Russia, at GITIS of Moscow with Alexandr Korucekov, in the international theater festival of Oujda in Morocco and in the FITAG Festival of Girona, in Spain.

CARMENCITA PALERMO expert in dance-theater with Balinese masks with extensive teaching experience. She makes shows in Europe, Australia, Indonesia and Brazil. She conducts research on Balinese women in theater and literature and teaches at the University of Naples “L’Orientale “.

The masterclass is held from 23 to 25 September 2016, friday 14.30-19.30, saturday 9.30-14.30 and 15.30-19.30, sunday 9.30-14.30.
all participants will be given a certificate of participation signed by the two teachers of the course CARMENCITA PALERMO and LUCA GATTA

Costs and Enrolment
The application form, accompanied by a curriculum, identity document and tax code, must be submitted by September 10, 2016 via e-mail, at: or
Course fee: € 150

Info and reservations
tel: 339 6235295