"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


let's do this!

This is a little bit outside of what we normally do here at TIA, but when I heard that events are scheduled for Commedia dell' Arte Day on every continent except Africa, I really wanted to help. (Seriously. The scientists at the South Pole are even staging an event.) Commedia dell'Arte is one of the oldest forms of theater in the world; it inspired much of Shakespeare's writing (especially the comedies).

There are a lot of people who read this blog, and some of you have significant interests in the arts, connections to theater groups on the African continent, and the skills to make things happen. And it just so happens that the Faction of Fools Theatre Company, which sponsors the event, is run by one of the world's foremost Commedia dell'Arte experts who also happens to have been my high school classmate.

So what do you say, loyal blog readers? Can we make sure that Africa isn't left out of this unique global cultural event? Here's all the information from Faction of Fools. All of this info is also available in French if you need it; contact the FoF team for more info at the address below.

Where will you be on February 25, 2011? Do you want to organize a Commedia dell' Arte event IN YOUR OWN CITY as part of COMMEDIA DELL’ ARTE DAY?

This event could be a performance, a class, a workshop, a lecture, or anything you like...

On February 25, 2011, simultaneous celebrations and events will occur all around the world as theatre companies, performers, scholars, students, and audience members celebrate Commedia dell' Arte with shows, conferences, lectures, and workshops. This worldwide festival was proclaimed by SAT and organized by Faction of Fools Theatre Company in Washington, DC, using viral and grassroots tools, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. We want events in every country, including yours!

To find out more, join the Facebook group "Commedia dell' Arte Day" and visit the FAQ page.

Faction of Fools is helping theatre companies—large and small—to produce shows in the style of Commedia dell’ Arte using traditional Commedia character types and scenarios, which will be available for free distribution on the Faction of Fools website. In Turin, Santibriganti Teatro will host the flagship event. Similarly, companies around the world will be coordinating with Faction of Fools to present performances on all seven continents (including Antarctica!). The full list of participants will be publicized at the official website.

Did you know that Commedia dell’ Arte is not recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage?

The United Nations’ cultural wing (UNESCO) has officially recognized various theatre traditions throughout the world, such as Japan’s Noh and Kabuki; however, the famous “stock characters” of Commedia dell’ Arte—Arlecchino (Harelquin), Pulcinella, Dottore (the Doctor), Pantalone (the Pantaloon), Scapin (Scapín), and Scaramuccia (Scarmouche)—have yet to be acknowledged.

The Italian cultural Associazione SAT is petitioning the nation of Italy and the United Nations (UNESCO) for official recognition of this famous and monumental theatre form, and Faction of Fools Theatre Company in Washington, DC, is helping to support their cause with this COMMEDIA DELL’ ARTE DAY. You can view the stirring and amusing appeal by famous Italian Maestros online.

To organize a Commedia dell’ Arte Day event in a theatre or classroom near you or to sign the petition for recognition of Commedia dell’ Arte as “World Cultural Heritage,” go to http://www.commediadellarteday.org/. You can also contact Faction of Fools through their website or Facebook group or email Artistic Director Matthew R. Wilson.


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