Commedia Dell’Arte


A time to advocate, educate, and celebrate the impact and transformative power of the arts in education.

Join us in celebrating #ArtInOurSchools featuring hand painted masks by students from Mr. Daniel Tart’s class at Overhills High School…

Comedy exists everywhere from cartoons to sitcoms to Shakespeare plays, all of which students are both familiar with and can easily relate back to its Italian foundations. The style called Commedia Dell’Arte features stock characters best categorized by their economic status. On the left you find the poor consisting of clowns, bartenders and street merchants. On the right are the rich who not only constantly judge but also suppress the poor with their stiff wages and tyrannical lending powers.

It is the antagonism between these two groups that brings on the laugh. Our study of these characters is a vital building block for future archetypical portrayals in a play’s characters as well as in improvisation. The masks are carefully planned with these roles in mind and students are fully aware of what each one means and how to portray it. These lessons are by far the most engaging thing we do all year and students’ masks proudly hang on the walls of our performance space. Without a doubt, these masks coupled with students relating classic tropes to everything that makes us laugh today empowers aspiring artists and performers to share their talents in their communities and professions.

~ Mr. Daniel Tart
Art Teacher
Overhills High School