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Commedia Viva



Commedia Viva

Performance by theatre company Commedia Academy

The Italian Cultural Institute has invited to Sydney two Commedia dell’Arte artists residing in Perth, Sanjiva (Giovanni) Margio and Giri (Antonio) Mazzella, who will present for the first time in Sydney the show Commedia Viva, as well as holding two Commedia dell’Arte shows and workshops for the students of the International Grammar School on the 26th of May and the Italian Bilingual School on the 28th of May.

Commedia dell'Arte began in Italy in the early 16th Century, marking a major turning point in the history of western theatre with the creation of professional theatre companies. It quickly spread throughout Europe, creating a lasting influence on Shakespeare, Molière, opera, vaudeville, ballet, contemporary musical theatre and improvised comedy. The style of Commedia is characterized by its use of masks, improvisation, physical comedy, and recognizable character types: young lovers, wily servants, greedy old men, know-it-all professors, boasting heroes, and the like. The legacy of Commedia includes the first professional theatre company, Padua’s Compagnia di Ser Maphio, the first European actresses, and many of the themes and storylines still enjoyed by audiences today.

During their show Giri and Sanjiva will present the main character types of the Commedia: the Servants (or Zanni), such as Arlecchino (Harlequin) and Pulcinella; the Old Men or Vecchi such as the greedy Pantalone, the know-it-all Dottore or the stuttering Tartaglia; the young Lovers or Innamorati and the Capitani and their female equivalent, the vivacious and oftentimes violent Signora.

sanjivaSanjiva (Giovanni) Margio’s passionate love for the arts and theatre has taken him across many countries in search of perfecting his creative skills. His training started in Sicily with Fine Arts, sculpture and design at the Catania State Institute of Arts. After migrating to Australia he studied graphic design, film making and photography in Perth. Sanjiva then travelled further east to the Sydney Drama Action Centre, training in circus skills, clown, mime, mask, music, singing, dance, movement, storytelling, improvisation and Theatre Sports. Sanjiva later headed back to Europe for specialised training in Commedia Dell’Arte and Comic Theatre at the famous Teatro Del Vicolo led by legendary Antonio Fava, focusing on the theatre traditions of continental Europe. In 2006 Sanjiva accepted a nomination from the WA Equity Guild Awards for Best Supporting Actor in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s production The Arrival (Winner of Best Production of the year). As a sculptor and designer he has created many large Carnival floats, puppets, masks, sets, costumes and props for cinema, television, outdoor events and theatrical productions. Sanjiva’s skills also include teaching, directing, group facilitating and professional development in spontaneity and creative thinking.

With a background in classical singing, Giri (Antonio) Mazzella began a love affairgiri with clowning, physical comedy and mask work that led him to train and perform with the masters of mask in Asia and in 1991 with Antonio Fava in Italy. He performed in France in the lead role in the award winning production The Arrival staged by the WA Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. In 2010 he was invited to work and perform at the Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona and toured Australia with Commedia Academy enjoying rave reviews for their performances at the Australasian Commedia Festival in Brisbane. Giri also teaches, facilitates groups for professional development workshops as well as performing solo as a storyteller and musician, as well as being a member of Australia’s Clown Doctors.

Free entry. Booking essential: 

Doors open at 6.30 pm

The show will start at 7.00 pm


Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021

Time: At 6:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Entrance : Free


Club Five Dock RSL, 66 Great North Road, Five Dock