I can not believe that I have already been here for half of a semester! The time has completely flown by, yet it feels like I have known the people here for a lifetime. These past couple weeks we have been focusing on Commedia dell’Arte with Dr. Chiara D’Anna, an artist and researcher who writes, directs, acts and does so much more. She specializes in commedia (and is incredibly amazing at it, everyday in class I am completely awestruck by her abilities). This is an art form that was born in Italy during the 16th century as a form of popular and professional theater performed in marketplaces and squares with masked actors representing specific characters. This form of theater is incredibly technical and physically demanding, so my body has been aching, but I don’t mind it as the work is incredibly rewarding and very fun. Commedia is unique to any other art forms I have studied, as it is structured in a very specific way, but also completely improvised by the characters (sounds contradictory, right?). Let me explain. Commedia is specific in that each character has very distinct and particular physical qualities, movements, desires, statuses, and relationships. Each character has their own set of lazi or comedic tricks and movements that they own. Within the actual performance, there are certain guidelines in which a sketch or scenario is presented, stating when certain characters should be on stage and why (usually in 3 acts each with 5 or more scenarios). The improvised aspect is the dialogue, blocking, and when the latzi are performed. As we are getting ready for our own Commedia dell’Arte performances, which we will be performing in a local theater in Arezzo, we have had long days of physical work. I find this work incredibly intriguing from a movement standpoint, but also from an anthropological standpoint, as each character is a parody or stereotype. There are the narcissistic lovers, the over-pompous soldiers and so many more. Commedia is overflowing with social commentary which is one of the reasons I am most excited to perform this type of theater. Besides our preparations for Commedia, I have been reading Recitatif by Toni Morrison, working on my acrobatic headstand, studying Italian, and getting ready for Halloween in Arezzo. At home, my artistic environment is very lax, so being in such a thriving and fulfilling atmosphere where everyone is dedicated to their artistry is incredibly rewarding. I have learned so much about myself and the world and can not wait to keep expanding my knowledge in this beautiful villa in Italy.