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Commedia Dell'Arte: TDF Theatre Dictionary

Date: Oct 04, 2013


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Ever see a show with lunatic clowning, intrigue and deception, mistaken identity, cartoon-like characters, and a dollop of acrobatics? Was the style coarse, full of slapstick, with lots of improvisation and audience interaction?

Sounds very "Commedia dell'arte."

That's short for Commedia dell'arte all'improvviso, which means "light entertainment based on the craft of improvisation." Or, translated more loosely, "freakin' hysterical comedy."

This video was made with our friends Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon, the season 5 champion of RuPaul's Drag Race.

The TDF Theatre Dictionary is your expert guide to theatre terms. Created by Theatre Development Fund, it uses videos and articles to define the theatre's unique words and phrases. We're defining more theatre terms at

Commedia dell'Arte starring Jinkx Monsoon from Theatre Development Fund (tdf) on Vimeo.