Masks, Comedy, and Biscotti: A Hysterical History of Italian Comedy

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Adam Gertsacov, international clown of renown and the current Clown Laureate of Greenbelt Maryland, will give a lecture/demonstration on the commedia dell'arte, a form of Italian improvised comedy from the sixteenth century. The demo will take place at the Marian J. Mohr Library in Johnston RI on Tuesday, June 22 at 7 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. For more info, call 401-231-4980.

Comedy may not be pretty, but it sure is old. (cymbal crash)

But seriously folks...

If you've always wanted to know about the origins of the sitcom, then you should listen to Adam Gertsacov speak about its ancient and honorable predecessor: Commedia Dell'arte. He can wax eloquent about the inception of the spit-take, the origin of the pie in the face, and why everybody loves EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.

Gertsacov, the official clown laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland (who knew there was such a thing?) is a professional clown with graduate degrees in theatre, clowning, and psychology. His biography lists him as one of the most educated clowns in America (barring certain elected officials) and after you hear him speak about comedy, you'll probably agree.

Gertsacov is expert in a form of comedy from the 1600's called Commedia dell'arte (which literally means, "the comedy of professionals") Commedia was an Italian form of masked improvised comedy using stock characters, standard situations, and masks. The actors, who performed in the marketplaces and piazzas of Italy, didn't recite a script, but made up the text as they went along. And they wore leather masks to denote their characters. "Commedia is basically circus with a plot," says Gertsacov.

Gertsacov will give a free lecture/demo about this form of comedy on Tuesday June 22, 2004 from 7-8 pm at the Marian J. Mohr Library in Johnston Rhode Island. Expect it to be anything but stuffy. "I want people to understand that commedia is funny, compelling, and bawdy theatre," says Gertsacov. "Just because it's historical doesn't mean it can't be hysterical too."


WHAT: Commedia Dell'arte lecture/demo

WHEN: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 7 PM

WHERE: Marian Mohr Memorial Library, Johnston

COST: Free

INFO: Call 401-231-4980 for directions/information

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Adam Gertsacov