A Brief History and Some Information on

Commedia dell'Carte was conceived in 1993 as a performance ensemble that utilizes the historical, improvisational and theatrical art form, commedia dell'arte, to facilitate a variety of spontaneous, entertaining and educational plots.  This group performs on a traveling stage in the spirit of pageant wagons and the nomadic commedia troupes of the Italian Renaissance.  Such a performance venue would not be very practical as they enter into the 21st Century, so they designed an extremely versatile "cart" smaller than the traditional pageant wagon.   The name "Commedia dell'Carte" was adopted and painted on the sides of the "carte" to identify this American based commedia troupe.  The cart fit just about anywhere, from parking lots to huge performance halls, truly making the world their stage.

The 1994 Cart

Scarborough Faire
After all, Commedia dell'Carte markets their show as "a theatre coming near you."

    Their performances are even more versatile than the cart; ranging from traditional commedia-style scenarios to improvising contemporary themes within any given genre and performing spontaneous shows on the request of the audience.  After years of performing together, Commedia dell'Carte has evolved into an actual ensemble that has been together long enough to present an authentic commedia dell'arte style.  They do not merely emulate the commedia style to present a scripted scenario, but they also organically create scenarios from their repetoire of characters and lazzi's as the generations of commedia performers have since the Renaissance.

    The ensemble premeired at Scarborough Faire, The Renaissance Festival located in Waxahachie, Texas,(U.S.A.)  Tim Shane, director of improvisation for the Scarborough Faire performing company for 5 years, selected performers with extensive training in improvisation and interactive theatre for the charter ensemble.   The spirit of commedia dell'arte began to grow within the professional ensemble, as did their venues.   Commedia dell'Carte began to branch out to other major festivals and events in the area until they established an annual calendar of events.  They travel with their "carte" to wherever an audience gathers, and rely a great deal on "busking" to make their money.  The term "busking" refers to passing their hat for the audience to give what they can.  In 1999 Commedia dell'Carte formed Commedia dell'Carte, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts organization in hopes of keeping the ensemble alive and bring the art form to even more audiences.   They are currenlty developing an educational and entertaing video series as well as designing a new set of academic shows.

Tim Shane, 1998
Scarborough Faire

Eastfield Community College

El Centro Community College

   Commedia dell'Carte is ideal for an educational model or for workshops for actors presenting such commedia dell'arte plays/scenarios.  It is a phenomenon that has had signifigant influences on many cultures and historical figures around the world, shaping the history of comedy to what we know today.  Commedia dell'Carte believes that by exposing people to this art, we are educating audiences on the powerful force theatre and art can have on this world.  The creator and artistic director of Commedia dell'Carte, Tim Shane,  is also a teacher of theatre arts and communications at the college level.  He has developed curriculum and presentations to use the style of commedia dell'arte to teach other topics such as Shakespeare and drama history.  This could provide a valuable asset to teachers and students who are studying comedy, theatre arts, art history, dance, Italian, French, English, literature just to name a few subjects.  Performances and workshops can easily be tailored to meet the needs of an audience and their level of understanding.  Whether they are performing in a rowdy pub to an adult audience who appreciates the more vulgar and bawdy, or a children's theatre who might appreciate the movement and and crazy antics of the colorful characters; for a group of intellectual critics or the groundlings; for educational insight or just pure entertainment, Commedia dell'Carte performs an entertaining art-form with a track record of centuries of success. 

At the turn of the century, Commedia dell'Carte joined other multiple endeavors to keep the artists working in a viable profession. By marketing many versatile services under a single banner, Commedia dell'Carte was able to stay very much alive into the 21st Century.

Participating in the Commedia dell'Austin festival in 2001, and establishing a name for themselves around the world, Commedia dell'Carte is part of education on at least three different continents, and for ages of K-Graduate Level courses.

By 2005, Commedia dell'Carte has performed for numerous Schools, Colleges and Universities around the United States, performed at major festivals throughout the southwest including ARTFEST and the Festival of Independent Theaters and will be presenting regular offerings in the new and aptly named "Dallas Hub Theater".

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