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.

Course Summary

Standards Addressed

8 Modules
2 hours, 31 minutes
7 Credit Hours

commedia comedy

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction 15:40
FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 2: Status 27:59
FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 3: Status Games 30:24
Lesson 4: The Appetites 29:09
Lesson 5: Swing 19:36
Lesson 6: Intention/Invention 16:52
Lesson 7: Long Term Capstone 7:35
Lesson 8: Wrap Up 4:31

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Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards


TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Cr3.1.HSI.b - Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 8

TH:Cr3.1.8.b - Refine effective physical, vocal, and physiological traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/ theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7

TH:Cr3.1.7.b - Develop effective physical and vocal traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.b - Identify effective physical and vocal traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr4.1.6.b - Experiment with various physical choices to communicate character in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work - High School Proficient

TH:Cr1.1.HSI.c - Use script analysis to generate ideas about a character that is believable and authentic in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr5.1.HSI.a - Practice various acting techniques to expand skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

TH:Pr6.1: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 6

TH:Pr6.1.6.a - Adapt a drama/theatre work and present it informally for an audience.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Pr5.1.HSIII.a - Use and justify a collection of acting exercises from reliable resources to prepare a believable and sustainable performance.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr5.1.HSII.a - Refine a range of acting skills to build a believable and sustainable drama/theatre performance.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr5.1.8.a - Use a variety of acting techniques to increase skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr5.1.6.a - Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Pr4.1.HSIII.b - Apply a variety of researched acting techniques as an approach to character choices in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr4.1.HSI.b - Shape character choices using given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr4.1.8.b - Use various character objectives and tactics in a drama/theatre work to overcome an obstacle.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr4.1.7.b - Use various character objectives in a drama/theatre work.

California VAPA Standards (2001)


California VAPA Standards (2019)


6.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

6.TH:Pr4.b - Experiment with various physical choices to communicate character in a drama/theatre work.

Prof.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Prof.TH:Pr5.a - Practice various acting techniques to expand skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

6.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

6.TH:Pr6 - Adapt a piece of literature and present it for an audience.

Acc.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Acc.TH:Pr5.a - Refine a range of acting skills to build a believable and sustainable drama/theatre performance.

8.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

8.TH:Pr5.a - Use a variety of acting techniques to increase skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

6.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

6.TH:Pr5.a - Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

Prof.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

Prof.TH:Pr4.b - Shape character choices using given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

8.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

8.TH:Pr4.b - Use various character objectives and tactics in a drama/theatre work to overcome an obstacle.

7.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

7.TH:Pr4.b - Use various character objectives in a drama/theatre work.

Florida Sunshine State Standards


Georgia Performance Standards 2010 - Theatre Arts


Grade 9-12 - FUNDAMENTALS OF THEATRE II

TAHSFTII.1 - Analyzing and constructing meaning from theatrical experiences, dramatic literature, and electronic media
a. Critiques and analyzes elements of theatrical conventions
b. Generates and uses terminology and outline for critiquing theatre presentation
c. Cites evidence of how theatre reflects life through universal themes
d. Interprets text and subtext
e. Illustrates the process of script analysis in a variety of scripts

TAHSFTII.2 - Developing scripts through improvisation and other theatrical methods
a. Critiques elements of dramatic structure
b. Recognizes realistic and conventional speech patterns within dialogue or dramatic verse
c. Identifies and distinguishes between stock and dynamic characters
d. Lists the steps in the dramatic writing process
e. Differentiates between drama and traditional literary writing
f. Incorporates dramatic elements through improvisation
g. Constructs scenes based on the elements of dramatic structure
h. Compares and contrasts dialogue from various theatrical genres
i. Interprets the objectives, decisions, and actions of characters
j. Develops and critiques various scripts
k. Creates and performs scenes for authentic audiences

TAHSFTII.3 - Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining roles within a variety of situations and environments
a. Investigates mental and emotional methods of actor for preparation
b. Demonstrates awareness of verbal elements of acting (e.g., voice, breathing)
c. Demonstrates non-verbal elements of acting (e.g., posture, facial expression, physical movement)
d. Acquires and incorporates sensory and emotional recall in character development
e. Constructs authentic characters through observation of human behavior
f. Demonstrates the goals, observations, actions, and tactics of characters
g. Differentiates between acting methods (e.g., Stanislavski, Uta Hagen)
h. Revises performance based on self-critique
i. Defends acting and character choices
j. Analyzes critiques of fellow classmates to create improved performance

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts


Alberta, Canada


Theatre Studies Drama 30 (Early or Middle or Late drama)

5 - recognize elements of tragedy and comedy

Movement Level III - Advanced

27 - create and sustain mood through movement

Speech Level I - Beginning

3 - use effective breathing techniques

Speech Level II - Intermediate

13 - use voice to communicate mood and emotion

Theatre Studies Level II - Intermediate (Theatre History)

6 - show awareness of selected periods and playwrights

British Columbia - 2018 (latest)


GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Reasoning and reflecting

Receive, offer, and apply constructive feedback

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Explore and Create

Improvise and take creative risks to express meaning

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect

Apply feedback to develop and refine ideas

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and audience

Ontario, Canada


Grade 12 - Creating and Presenting - Presentation Techniques & Technologies

A.3.2 - use different acting approaches to explore and depict character in a variety of situations