La Biblioteca

A site specific project with young people using Commedia Dell'Arte

A Commedia Dell'Arte site specific project with young people

Too few control the many, the many mock the few...

This was the third time Dende collaborated with CYAC - Contact Young Actors Company. They created a show where the audience experienced The John Rylands Library as they’ve never seen it before in a promenade performance that explored love and hierarchies, past and present. Using the traditional 16th century Italian comedy form of Commedia Dell’Arte, the Library was brought vividly to life. Two 16th century Commedia scenarios by Flaminio Scala were deconstructed and performed simultaneously in all the rooms of this magnificent building: The Toothpuller and The Two Identical Capitanos.​ This was a walk-through promenade performance at The John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester.

Presented by Contact, Dende Collective and The University of Manchester.

A note from the Director for the program of the show

I have been working with Commedia for half of my life now. It has been a passion and a long research: first as an actor and mask maker, then as a teacher and finally as a director over the last years. I have been investigating ways in which Commedia can be revisited and reinvented to a contemporary audience. LA BIBLIOTECA is my first investigation of such in the UK. The starting point was: is Commedia still relevant to a group of young people residing in Manchester in 2013? Does it still matter to them? We deconstructed Commedia twice by making it relevant to the company and by responding to the Library itself: its architecture, symbolic relevance and implications. I believe this is the only way to honour the subversive nature of Commedia. Its spirit flourishes through an almost eternal need to matter to the here and now. Otherwise Commedia will be kept in the hidden chapters of historic books in libraries. LA BIBLIOTECA is an attempt to make Commedia resurface like a Phoenix from the ashes, holding theatrical wisdoms that deserve to be more widely known. Enjoy our secret!