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Commedia I: Playing Comedy

Created by Todd Espeland

Commedia dell’arte is a 16th Century masked acting form. It’s the basis of all comedy and it’s a form that many teachers want to include in their curriculum.

Instructor Todd Espeland has designed two courses that work hand-in-hand with teaching this fantastic physical form.

In Commedia I: Playing Comedy - Todd teaches the principles of comedy through four key elements: status, appetite, swing, and intention/invention. This course provides an excellent foundation upon which to explore Commedia to its fullest. Includes bonus videos, handouts, reflections, and exit slip question ideas for each lesson.

8 Modules
2 hours, 31 minutes
7 Credit Hours

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction 15:40 FREE PREVIEW
Meet the instructor and learn what this class is and how it works in connection with the next class.
Lesson 2: Status 27:59 FREE PREVIEW
In lesson 2 you’ll explore status and its effect on comedy. You’ll learn exercises that will help your students understand how status affects them physically and you’ll learn helpful side coaching tips to keep your students engaged and on track. You’ll also learn an observation assignment for your students that they’ll continue to use throughout their exploration of comedy and Commedia.
Lesson 3: Status Games 30:24
Building what you’ve learned in lesson 2, you’ll learn status games that you can use to really drive home status, observation of status, and most importantly playing status in a scene as part of the action of the scene.
Lesson 4: The Appetites 29:09
You’ll learn how to use a free-form impulse improv to explore appetites - the engine of comedy and the primal needs of characters in comedy.
Lesson 5: Swing 19:36
Swing is the instantaneous switch between two emotional states or two needs of a character. In this lesson you’ll explore how swing effects comedy through the “laugh/cry” game as well as other exercises.
Lesson 6: Intention/Invention 16:52
In lesson 6 you’ll explore how characters solve their problem or obtain their need, also known as intention/invention. You’ll utilize the “Do It Get It Done Game” to understand the effect intention/invention has on comedy.
Lesson 7: Long Term Capstone 7:35
You’ve learned the various tools of comedy: status, appetites, swing, and intention/invention. Now you’ll learn how to use these tools in having your students prepare a scene.
Lesson 8: Wrap Up 4:31
This lesson is a quick review of everything you’ve learned in this course - a great way to “press the save button.”

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Standards Addressed

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