History of Commedia dell'Arte
Commedia dell'arte was an early form of professional theatre, originating in Italy, that was popular in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century. Commedia is a fast paced, dynamic style of comedy that plays with archetypes that are recognized the world over and are the foundation of the Western comedy we know today.
Famously, most of the Commedia characters are defined by their masks, which were made of leather, fur, and feathers. These masks forced the actors to use their bodies to tell the story and Commedia became grounded in its physicality. Commedia dell'Arte has a process of development that is unique. Early Commedia actors rarely worked with scripts, instead they relied on improvisation, training, and the traditional Commedia characters to develop their plots.