i Sebastiani - Other Troupes
 
Commedia Troupes
 

Troupes we've seen

i Sebastiani, the greatest Commedia dell'Arte troupe in the entire world [tm]. This is our site, so look around if you want to know more.

i Grandissimi is an ad hoc troupe created at Pennsic [an SCA event] through the Coxcomb Academy. In August 2002, they were directed by Jay Cross, and did "The Thieving Painters" after practicing as a cast for only three days. One of the troupe members had been in her role for less than one hour of practice time [Cat Kenney of Pre-Minstral Sindrome as Pantalone]. The show was quite good, and had many memorable and new bits in it.

Commedia dell Carte is another group that we met at the Austin Commedia Festival. They are from Dallas and are lead by a man named Tim Shane, who is very good at teaching Commedia skills. They do their show on a stage that is unfolded from a cart that they wheel into the show space. This is very cool. The actors do a very tight and funny show.

They also have one of the nicest and most informative web-sites on the subject of Commedia. If you are looking for easy access information on this topic. See their site.

Commedia Zuppa [literally translated: comedy soup] is a married couple [Todd Espeland and Allison Williams] who teach Commedia, masked playing, stage combat, and circus tricks. I don't think they perform by themselves. They come to your school, teach for a week or two, and you put on a show. They came in over Christmas break a few years ago, and taught us a thing or two. I recommend them to any aspiring new troupe.

Effeto Meraviglioso [translated: cause of amazement, actually a very old Italian term meaning 'theatrical lighting'] Is a troupe founded in January 2002 in Burlington VT. These are an energtic young troupe with several very strong players, including especially their Arlecchino [founder James McNamara] their Dottore/Brighella [scenario writer David DiLego] and their Pantalone [Phil Gambardella]. Initially they began performing in Renn Faires. They may take their show to clubs and elsewhere in the Future.

i Genesii is an SCA-based troupe from the Pittsburg area focusing on Commedia from 1550 to 1570, doing the shows as three one act plays over the course of an hour. They have some very talented players including especially their Arlecchino and Capitano. They have unusually beautiful women.
i Giullari di Piazza was a troupe we saw in New York City a few years back. They did a show that included some fast-paced stage action that was large, broad, and didn't really require any words. It was *very* physical. More importantly, only a small fraction of their show was the play [I'm guessing about 15 minutes total for all acts combined]. Their show was Tarantella and other street music. It was a very good time, but wholely different from any other Commedia troupe I've ever seen. Note: saw them again December 2002. They did a musical production with Commedia elements. [Vincenzo d'Artista as an Arlecchino/Pulcinella-like character in the Christmas Story]. Great stuff. Music by John La Barbera.
Golden Stag Players are an SCA-based troupe that sometimes do Commedia in the greater San Francisco Bay area. We met them at the Austin Commedia Festival, Sept 2001. I was at one of the condos they'd rented when the big news hit the TVs on Tuesday the eleventh. These people do some wonderful things, and have a couple of Arlecchino players who are just plain great.
Jealous Players are Genevieve Davis' troupe. We've seen a 1992 video in which they do a lot of wonderful improvised dance with styles, costume, and backdrop drawn from 18th century Commedia dell' Arte. Davis has produced the television production, Sweet Nothings and performed with her troupe at Taliesin in Spring Green, Festa Italiana Milwaukee and Chicago, the University of Wisconsin and at American Players Theater.
Kompani Komedi is a troupe in Sweden. We haven't seen them, but we've seen a video tape of a show they took on tour a few years back. This show had great physical bits, and grummelot [required since they visited many different countries that didn't speak Swedish [or English]. The group is small, and gives workshops on Commedia.
Loughi dell'Arte is an Italian troupe. They also give workshops. We haven't seen them, but did see a tape of a show they did in France a few years ago. They didn't do a full scenario, but instead did selected bits involving a Pantalone, Dottore, Arlecchino, Servetta, and young lovers. The show seemed to focus on showing the audience what Commedia dell' Arte was all about, including some extended bits with their leader on stage out of mask and costume. It was a great show.
i Megalomani are the troupe from the Austin Commedia Society. They have a child friendly version of the troupe called Pedrolino's Friends. They hosted [and founded] the Commedia Festival in September 2001. We were very impressed with their show "The Isoceles Love Triangle". They had very good movement, and ran a tight show. The three main players were all amazing. I found out later that their amorosa was trained as a dancer. It showed. They also did the most amazing fart scene [sounds awful, but it was very well done]. My son watched the video we brought back of them, and a year later, he still imitates Smeraldina's signature moves.
Pasta Shock is a Philadelphia based troupe founded in 1998 by Glenn Russell. We met them in Dec 2002 and had a great time. Glenn is great with masks and movement. I've seen them perform on tape. Their show is very amusing, and kid friendly. Very physical. The also had a very favorable review emphasising their ability to engage the audience.
Reverend Funnypants Players I'm not sure this really qualifies as a troupe, but they HAVE put a huge amount of effort into making computer generated animations based on human movement. They have also put some clips up on the web. Don't miss it.
i Scandali is an Indiana/Ohio/Kentucky SCA based troupe that performed their first show July 19th. They performed a commedia scenario improvising lines but without masks. Here's a link with images of their first show.
Teatrovivo They are working with Carlo Boso since 1999, they organize the most important festival in Italy (LIMPROVVISA) every year in June at Cotignola, near Ravenna and we are the project leader of "Europa in Maschera", a project with the European Commission to spread the Commedia in Europe. Site is Italian. We've seen two videos of theirs. Very funny. Their shows include an aspect of being both characters and people playing characters.
Tongue and Groove is a troupe that did a very Arlecchino-centric show at the Austin Commedia Festival [Sept 2001]. They had some brilliant bits, and some very interesting stylized on-stage sex.
Commedia dell'Arte Troupes We haven't Seen
i Arroganti Ernie Maldonado's Troupe
The Antaeus Commedia Troupe, A Los Angeles Theatre Company that uses Commedia as a training tool
Baltimore Consort a musical combo including Larry Lipkis who are very commedia inspired.
Bas les Masques
Blatantly Obvious Jonathan Stone's troupe centered in Hartwick College, NY. I've seen some of them perform as part of the second annual i Grandissimi show.
Canada dell'Arte
Commedia dell' Arte Operetta Company, an English group recreating eighteenth century Commedia.
Commedia Gillet, A Swedish troupe that does Commedia related mask shows [part of Commedia Centrum in Stockholm]
Commedia Sans Arte They are based in Kansas City, Kansas and have performed dell arte at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival this year. They started playing with dell arte in the spring of 2003 and have just fallen in love it. They used to do short form improv wacky comedy but are working towards more dell arte work.
La Compagnie des Trois Oranges, resident company for Selavy school in Burgundy France
DanceMaskers Paula Josa-Jones New York City based workshop
Dario Fo, An Italian site about Dario Fo [Nobel Laureate]
Desperate Men founded about 1980, this Anglo-european troupe was founded by Ritchie Smith and Jon Beedell (the current director), looking at their website, they currently do street theater, but aren't strictly Commedia dell' Arte. Jon also directs a company called Gazua that does street theater in Portugal. I can't tell from their site if there's a strong commedia element to those shows.
DramaWorks Interactive Business Theater
Fratelli Bologna, A great San Fransico troupe that does business training and trade shows.
Frizzi & Lazzi, Olde Time Italian-American Music and Theatre Company [NYC]
Full Tilt Performance Troupe
Gimme Theatre An Australian troupe doing contemporary stuff in a commedia vein.
Grupo OJO This is a Mexican Troupe, I don't read Spanish, they seem to based in Tijauna. They've played togehter since 2002, possibly a dell'Arte school product.
Jabberwocky Theatre Troupe a Tasmanian Commedia troupe
Klange, a German troupe with a Commedia flavor.
Lazzi d'Amore is the resident troupe at the Texas Renn Faire (seven weekends in Oct/Nov) who also do the occaisional wedding, birthday, or bar mitzvah. Currently five players. while they do perform traditional shows, they also do fractured versions of fairy tales and hysterical hystories.
Legacy Commedia Troupe located in Tutbury castle, Staffordshire England
Lick the Spoon a New York based troupe apparently founded in 2003
Masque Theater Company
Masquerade Productions (1998-
The Mummers Troupe a Texas based troupe
Ohio Commedia dell'Arte Troupe
Ophaboom UK based troupe founded in 1991
Oxford Stage Company Founded in 1974, but is not currently doing Commedia
I Piselli Troupe in Munich performed July 10 and 11 its Theater play "Randale und Hiebe (Frei
nach Wolfgang von Tröte)" at the Studiobühne of the Theater Institute at the Ludwig-Maximilian Universität in Munich.
The Rude Mechanical Theater Company UK based troupe
San Francisco Mime Troupe, this is a great troupe of long standing. I've seen an brief old tape showing a young Peter Coyote as their Dottore introducing a show. Very sharp!
Saint Vitus [The Noble Guild of] A Northern California Renn-Faire Commedia troupe formed about 2002.
Tarradiddle Players are a childrens' theatre group with a Commedia bent.
Teatro! (di Pecorino Romano) the Cheesy Theater, is the theatrical side of the Maryland-based company, TaskMaskers, run by Michele Schultz. Working mostly with Patrick Franz, she hires up other actors as required.
Teatropen a professional Swedish troupe, site in Swedish only.
Theatre de l'Utopie a professional company founded in 1999 in Montreal by director Cristina Iovita is based on the practice and applications of the Commedia dell'Arte techniques to repertory classical and contemporary. They perform in French.
Theatre Palooza a Hartford CT based children's theater workshop
Theatre Thalia is a Danish commedia and mime troupe.
Trestle Theatre's page
TriArts Inc. is a Chicago based troupe doing modern plays with a commedia dell' arte approach
TripAway Theatre is a company that has done historical style shows, including, but not limited to commedia.
Troupo Magnifico from a middleschool in Minnesota
Tutti Frutti Commedia Company [San Francisco Area] Jim Letchworth's current company
Zuppa del Giorno is the resident professional troupe at Keystone College near Scranton PA. They seem to have done their first show in May 2003. This may be a one shot Commedia effort by a comic theater company.
Commedia dell'Arte Troupes We think don't perform anymore
i Adrenalinis (1997) Didi Hopkins with some folks from i Fortunati
Beryl and the Perils (1978-86) Didi Hopkins created this English troupe to cover women's issues.
Bubalaires formed in 1991, and we don't know when they stopped doing Commedia per se. They certainly appear to be doing some creative stuff. They are associated with Antaeus.
California Commedia Troupe is a troupe that existed for a short time under the direction of Eli Simon at University of California at Irvine. Their web-site has some indication that they were very good.
Dell'Arte Players, founded in 1975 with the Dell'Arte school, this troupe used the techniques taught by Carlo Mazzone-Clementi. Perhaps they have not performed since 2000.
i Famiglia Bologna [San Francisco Area] This troupe was active from '79 to '82 at Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Novato California, a subset of this troupe is now Fratelli Bologna, Jim Letchworth was also in this troupe [Tutti-Frutti]
Famiglia Formaggio [West Coast Festivals and Faires]
i Fortunati (1987-8), Professional splinter from the Unfortunati, later called Howitt & Broadbent.
i Gelati (1984-6) An English troupe made of students of Jacques Lecoq.
Gobbi Players When Unfortunati split, those with milder asperations formed this troupe.
i Illuminati the Cornell based troupe that was a big part of inspiring i Sebastiani to be founded.
i Intenti , The troupe of Barry Grantham, author of "Playing Commedia".
La Perduta
Moving Picture Mime Show (1977-91)
St. Carol Players, (1982-5)
Il Teatro Macaroni (1990-1)
Unfortunati (1982-7) English troupe of Ninian Kinnear-Wilson, John Glennard, & John Broadbent.
 
 

This is intended to be an exhaustive list of all known troupes. I'd like to travel around and see everyone, but that's not going to happen soon. Some of this list is based on Rudlin & Crick's famous tome "Commedia dell'arte, a Handbook for Troupes" [published by Routledge in 2001]. If you know of a current or recent troupe not on this list, believe that someone on this list shouldn't be here, or have additional comments about anyone listed, please contact the Webmaster.