Devising Theatre and Commedia dell’Arte with Chiara D’Anna

Issue 17: 3/2/2023 , Blue Pool Road, Tseung Kwan O News (Reflections and Achievements)

“Using your body can fill a room with excitement; that’s what Chiara did during her workshop and performance.” (Student-Y9/4eme)

Year 9 and 4eme SIA students enjoyed a full day of drama workshops and performance with special guest Chiara D’Anna at Tseung Kwan O on Tuesday 31st January.

Acclaimed theatre artist, performer and director, Chiara D’Anna, currently on a tour of Asia, joined our students to work with them using elements of 16th century Commedia dell’Arte to explore and devise contemporary themes and characters. 

“Working with Chiara was interesting […] She explained the importance of the precision of every movement” (Student-Y9/4eme)

Chiara’s workshops aimed to unlock performers’ inner creativity and imagination. Based on the notion of ‘Actor-as-Creator’, her approach to theatre making places the performer at the heart of the creative process, and her workshops offered students a range of tools to create innovative performances and captivating stories through an exploration of different styles, acting techniques and theatre approaches including Devising, Physical Theatre and Storytelling. 

“Chiara’s energy was amazing and she’s an extremely talented actor. I can’t wait to watch the movies that she’s in that are coming out soon.” (Student-Y9/4eme)

“I have never watched a one man show. I was surprised at how entertaining and impressive it was.” (Student-Y9/4eme)

The students then got the chance to see Chiara’s work realised in her highly energetic and engaging “Don’t You Dare”, an award-winning one-person show that combines Storytelling, Physical Theatre, and Political Satire with a contemporary reinterpretation of the Masks of Commedia dell’Arte. Students were blown away by Chiara’s ability to switch between characters, stories, and between high energy interactive comedy and poignant tragedy to create a rollercoaster ride of a show.

“I learned that working with someone new might be difficult at first, but once you get to know them you could start a new friendship which could last a lifetime.” (Student-Y9/4eme)

“I talked to someone I didn’t know and now we are friends.” (Student-Y9/4eme)

Throughout the day, the students were encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and ordinary learning environments, mixing and working with students across streams and campuses in a series of workshops. As well as working with Chiara on physicality in particular, they took a voice workshop and played with Shakespeare’s insults and compliments with Mr Hill, Ms Jourdan and Ms O’Brien. They also explored the world and history of theatrical masks and enjoyed making and designing their own masks with Mr Long, Ms Morris and Ms Tordoir. 

The students had lots of positive things to say about the day. They really enjoyed the opportunity to watch such a dynamic live performance, and some were so impressed that they asked Chiara for her autograph! They also loved working with different students and teachers, and participating in a range of new activities.

Juliette O'Brien
English Teacher