Intro to Commedia

Learning Objective

The students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of Commedia Dell’Arte by participating in a Jeopardy game.



Materials Needed

Whiteboard, copies of Commedia Dell’Arte pictures, tape, copies of Commedia History Handout, computer (internet to access




Have written on the board what has came out of Italy? Once the students come in invite the students to come up to the board and write down their thoughts. (Spaghetti, Fast cars, Catholics, Pope)

Discuss each of the things that were written on the board. Add if not written Commedia Dell’ Arte, Commedia Dell’ Arte originated in Italy in the 1500’s.



Step One-Discussion

Before the students enter the room, tape up pictures of different Commedia characters around the room. Once the discussion of what comes out of Italy have the class walk around the room and look at each of the pictures. Tell the student, as you are looking at each of these pictures take notice of things that stick out to you—we are going to share with the class.


Step Two-Transition

Gather the group back together once they have looked at all of the pictures. Ask the class what were things that stuck out to them?  What did they have questions about? What seemed odd? Have the students discuss this with a partner near them. Once the conversation dies down tell the class to remember what questions you have and make sure they get answered in this next activity.


Step Three- Instruction

Have the class get into groups of three. Each member of the group is responsible for researching a different element of Commedia history.

PERSON ONE-Origins of Commedia Del’ Arte- This should include where it began,     when it began, who participated, description of commedia, and how they performed.

PERSON TWO- Purpose of Commedia Dell Arte – This should include why it was         started, why they chose the format/venues that they did and how they performed

PERSON THREE- · Influence of Commedia Dell Arte – This should include other          countries that it has spread to, writers it has influenced, plays it has influenced and other types of theatre it has influenced.


 Step Four- Group Work

Have all the number one’s, two’s, and three’s get into groups. If the groups are big create smaller groups within the same number for easier flow. Use the history background sheet and make sure you are prepared to share with your group.  Work together with the people who are your same number to find all the information you need to know. Give the students 10 minutes to gather all the information they need to know.


Step Five- Peer Teaching

Have the students get back into their original groups, one of each number in each group, and share what they have learned. Give each of the students 2 minutes to share. After each person presents the other two students can ask them any questions they have. Have each number, one, two and three present.


Step Six-Discussion/Checking for Understanding

Gather the class all together. You now have a glimpse into the world of Commedia Dell’ Arte. Ask the class who can tell me something interesting you learned from a member of your group? Have students share.


Step Seven

Show the clip from the National Theater website entitled “A Brief History of Commedia”. That was your final review. Now let’s compete.


Step Eight-Assessment

Now to test our knowledge we are going to play Jeopardy. The normal Jeopardy rules apply. You must answer each question with “What is” if you do not you will get it wrong. I have twelve questions. Whoever answers the most correct wins! Ask for 5 volunteers. The winner of the first question stays and the losers sit down and the next group of students come up and challenge him on the next question. Repeat this until every person has tried to answer a question and all of the questions have been answered.




Students will show their knowledge of Commedia Dell’ Arte by participating in a Jeopardy game.




History of Commedia NotesJeopardy Commedia Game