Commedia dell'Arte: From Masks to Moliere & Shakespeare

Tisch Special Programs fall 2018 event header
Actors performing in masks in Florence, Italy

Actors performing in masks in Florence, Italy

Experience whimsy and embrace the absurd through Commedia dell'Arte!

Join Jim Calder, master teacher and head of movement at NYU Tisch Graduate Acting, and Jacob Oleson, actor, author, musician, and often director with the Donati & Oleson Company for a workshop on what they call ‘The Serious Comic’. You will engage in heightened physical comedy along with mask work and how to go from commedia masks into Moliere & Shakespeare.

Jim Calder and alumni from the Commedia dell'Arte program will also discuss what the six-week, summer intensive acting workshop in Florence is all about.  

Representatives from Tisch Special Programs will be in attendance to help with your admissions questions.

Jim Calder
Master Teacher and Head of Movement at NYU Tisch Graduate Acting. Jim founded the Commedia in Florence program in 2001 and since has become Artistic Director of the Summer Theater Festival at La Pietra in Florence. In residence each summer is the Continuum Company, a group of Graduate Acting alumni and other artists who come to Florence every summer to develop classical and new works. The Continuum Company has had in residence some of Americas most exciting artists, including playwrights Tarell McCraney, (MoonlightThe Brothers Size), and Danai Gurira (EclipsedFamiliar), as well as the actors Sterling K. Brown (Black PantherThis Is Us, The People vs O.J. Simpson,), Nina Arianda (Venus In Fur –Tony Award-winner), Andre Holland (MoonlightThe Knick42American Horror Story), Susan Watson (This Is Us), and Logan Marshal Green (24The O.C., Prometheus).

Jacob Oleson
Dual Danish/Swedish national Jacob Olesen has been acting in Italy and abroad for more than 30 years with the Donati & Olesen Company, in which he is actor, author, musician, and often director.

His lengthy, distinguished artistic career began at The Commedia School in Sweden and continued in Paris at the L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. Later, in Rome, he also acquired a teacher’s diploma in the Feldenkrais Method.

In 1981, he founded the Donati & Olesen Company, for which he produced 20 different shows with artists Giorgio Donati, Ted Keijser, Giovanni Calò and Iaon Gunn. The most successful productions, including Buona notte brivido and Three Men in a Boat, have been performed over 2,500 times in Italy and abroad.

In 2007, he began creating his own productions in parallel with the company work. The first was My Name is Bohumil, followed by Oibò sono morto, for which he was awarded the Teatro del Sacro prize in 2009. In 2014, produced by Enrico Carretta, he created with Giovanni Calò the monologue Primo, taken from Primo Levi’s If This is a Man, which he is presently touring and presenting in national and international festivals.

With six languages at his command – Italian, English, French, German, Danish and Swedish – he has been able to perform throughout Europe and in North Africa, South America and Asia. He has appeared in many short and feature-length films and worked on numerous radio and television programs as well.

He teaches acting, stage presence, Commedia dell’Arte and clowning both in Italy and abroad. Since 2011, with Jim Calder, he has collaborated with New York University in Florence, teaching, creating Commedia dell’Arte performances, and helping to stage productions with professional actors, graduates of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Directions to Info Session & Workshop: When you arrive at 721 Broadway, take the North elevators (near the security desk) to the 5th floor. As you exit the elevator, go through the glass doors and make a left. Room 521 will be on the right-hand side of the hallway.