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From Commedia dell’Arte to modern-day humour

The Metamorfosis of the Divine Bufoon”

From Commedia dell’Arte to modern-day humour”






The Metamorfosis of the Divine Bufoon”


This is a conference and a show at the same time. It is a pathway that follows the metamorphosis of the character archetypes of the Commedia dell’Arte, towards their modern counterparts who continue to provoke so much laughter to this day. It is, after all, the same human attributes, both now and as seen 500 years ago that underpin their comic value.


From Commedia dell’Arte to modern-day humour”

The workshop

This course has been designed for actors, directors, authors looking for the deep roots of the theatre and, in particular, of comicity and comedy. Therefore it’s interesting those involved in film, television and the performing arts in general

We will throw light on processes which bring comic value to the fore, beginning with the creative area and characters of the Commedia dell’Arte, true archetypal representations of the human condition, capable of giving life to many different contemporary characters.

An opportunity to explore and assimilate the deep meaning of the comic

Course Elements

  • Introduction to improvisation work

  • Getting to know the world of the Commedia dell’Arte

  • Lazzi” (gags) and “generici” ( stock materials)

  • The “Canovaccio” and organizing textual material

  • Dealing with space and the audience

  • Mask or character technique and theory

  • The archetypal characters of the Commedia dell’Arte as the foundation of contemporary comedy

  • Improvisations with those characters

  • Canovaccio scenes

  • Dealing with modern comedy

  • Creating contemporary characters, from the archetypal characters of the Commedia,

  • their poetic world,

  • behavior,

  • situations,

  • scenes,

  • gags, “contemporary stock materials”

  • and their dramaturgy

Please note: the organizational modes of the workshop (for example, intensive or not etc.), will be agreed with the groups concerned.


Massimo Malucelli. Cell: 347 5997889. E – mail: massimo.malucelli@gmail.com


Degree in philosophy with full marks and praise with a degree thesis about “The analisis of a Commedia dell’Arte Canovaccio” (University of Bologna. Chairman of the Committee: Umberto Eco)

Stage and acting studies:

  • Acting: Sandra Seacat, Francesca de Sapio, Giuseppe Perruccio e Julie Garfield (New York, “Actors’ Studio”)

  • Phisical theatre: Richard Haisma (New York)

  • Improvvisation and acting: Nichita Michalkov (Russia)

  • Singing: Candace Smith, Barbara Hurt, Mechtild Kertz (U.S.A., Germany)

  • Vocal tecniques: Roy Hart Theatre, Matilde Marullo (England, Italy)

  • Poetic diction: Massimo Baicchi (Italy)

  • Commedia dell’Arte, comic historical tecniques and improvvisation Antonio Fava (Italy)

  • Mime: Nicolas Cincone, Yves Lebreton, Jilles Cuollet (U.S:A., France)

Taijiquan, Yoga, modern contemporary and classical dance. Lyric vocal tecnique.

Scriptwriter (Feature films):

Luigi. Una vita impossibile” Production: “GPA international”.

Tu balli per me” TV movie, acquired by Mediaset

I giardini di Marzo”

The lady of Sing Sing” from the novel by Idanna Pucci.

International Departures” in pre – production, “Little Studio Film”, Hollywood


La bellezza ci salverà”

(short film) “La divina indifferenza


  • 58 theatre pieces

  • 35 radio acting (R.A.I. 1, 2, 3)

  • 17 film (short/long, TV movie)

  • 10 commercials ( R.A.I. , MEDIASET)

  • recording, dubbing audio books with RAI and private studios.


  • 73 shows, texts by himself and Cechov, Pirandello, Gay, Shakespeare, Petrolini, Campanile, Fedro, Esopo, Ariosto, Govoni, and canovacci of the Commedia dell’Arte.

  • 1 liric opera: “Rita” by G. Donizetti.

    1. Author:

    1. 68 Between original texts and adjustments.


  • International workshop “Improvvis-Actor” e “Commedia dell’Arte” with pupils from all Europe and USA

  • In theatre schools, workshops, seminars, lectures, show – lessons

  • Collaborations with Chair of Direction of the Bologna University (D.A.M.S.)

  • Comunication and Direction” and “Script Writing” (IFTS), Ferrara University

  • Scriptwriting”: National School Independent Cinema (Fi).

  • Wokshops: “Theater in der klemme” (Bz); “Teatro Europa” (Pr); “Drama Summer School” (Gla); “Texas University” (USA); University of Vigo (Es); Centro dramatico Galego (Es); and many others…

  • Concract Professor at the Ferrara University, Litterature and Phiplosophy department, chair: “Elettronic Scene and Digital Theatre”, for the specialistic degree “Performative Arts and Multimedial comunication”

  • University of Vigo (Spain): Show conference and Master “From Commedia dell’Arte to modern-day humour”

Artistic manager:

of “Theatre beyond fogs”, theatre circuit of 18 communes in the Ferrara, Bologna, Mantova, Rovigo provinces, riconized by the Emilia Romagna Region.

November 2010: with five other mads founded the center on sound culture “Fonè”

June 2011. “A Dream of Passion” Festival of theater schools of the city of Ferrara

2012:Campus Belriguardo. A castle for culture: theater, film, television, entertainment, communication, music

May 2014 “Early Summer Three Nights’ Dream ”. Comacchio. Festival of theater schools

June 2015 “FEST, Festival of theatre schools” “Festival of theatre and who does it”





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