Dell’Arte Tragedy, Clown and Thesis Projects go electronic

Dell'Arte clowns gonna clown.

Dell’Arte International

BLUE LAKE – Dell’Arte International is expanding its online season by adding a series of student performances to the schedule, including the annual Tragedy, Clown and Thesis Projects. While sheltering in place, students have creatively and collectively adapted these culminating performances of their school year to online media. 

 “While we can’t offer the space in the Carlo Theatre for these last performances of the school year, we also can’t bear the thought of not offering them to our greatest supporter, our community,” said Founding Artistic Director Michael Fields. “Our students have worked tirelessly in adapting their work to online platforms with potent results. And what is a show without an audience? We’re thrilled to stay connected in this way until we can reconnect face-to-face and elbow-to-elbow.” 

 Show descriptions and dates are as follows. Note that some shows are happening live through Zoom, while others will be available to view online. In lieu of ticket sales, donations are requested to be made through the Dell’Arte website.


Video to be available May 1 to 6. The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre presents Lily in the Desert, an original tragedy devised by Dell’Arte’s second-year MFA Ensemble, under the guidance of faculty member Sayda Trujillo. The story pits Lily Milton, an ambitious pastor with miraculous powers, against the very people she serves. 

Through song, text, and movement, the play delves into our relationship to God, to the unknown, and to our own belief. Departing from the traditional live performance of tragedy at Dell’Arte due to COVID-19, Lily in the Desert was filmed entirely by the ensemble, while observing social distancing and safety protocols for all cast members.

 Tragedy at Dell’Arte is an eight-week study in which actors are challenged to embody the powerful physical and metaphysical forces stirred by this ancient theatre form. Pitting the rational, ordered world against the cosmic forces of destruction and chaos, tragedy allows us, through the hero’s journey and fall, to glimpse the most shocking aspect of the human condition: our powerlessness. 

Unique in its capacity to awaken feelings of awe in an audience, tragedy is, finally, a life-affirming theatrical form, a cry of the human spirit. In the time of the pandemic, Lily in the Desert brings audiences to the heart of an ensemble grappling with forces greater than themselves, and daring to create a cry in the wilderness.


Performances on Zoom from Thursday, May 7 to Saturday, May 9 at 8 p.m. 

 The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre presents Clown! Please join us for a weekend of raucous performances celebrating the buoyant spirit of the clown, a glimpse into the worlds of 18 clowns as they shelter, laugh, dance, slip, and pratfall in place. With the guidance of faculty members Joe Krienke, Stephanie Thompson and Lauren Wilson, a new crop of Dell’Arte clowns have come into the world, just when we all need a good belly laugh. 

 Details and Zoom links for the three performances will be available on Dell’Arte’s website  at Expect a national and international audience in attendance, as alumni, community members, family, and friends from around the world gather online to laugh with the clowns. 

Thesis Festival

Performances on Zoom Thursday, May 14 to Sunday, May 17, and Thursday, May 21 to Sunday, May 24 at 8 p.m. 

 The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre is excited to announce its 2020 Thesis Festival. This year’s Thesis Festival features three new works created by members of the graduating MFA class, who have adapted to the current circumstances by making their projects available to audiences online. 

The online Thesis Festival marks the culmination of three years of graduate study by an international ensemble of theatre artists from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the United States.

There will be an opportunity for a talkback with the artists on Thursday, May 14, and Saturday, May 16, on Zoom after the show. Here are this year’s Thesis Projects: 

 Once Upon a Time I Was Addicted to You, created by Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody, Jayampathi Guruge, and Nipuni Sharadahra; performed by Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody. 

 Don’t we all love to listen to fairy tales that begin with “Once upon a time” and end with “Happily ever after”? Not all stories are fairy tales, and not all stories have happy endings. However, we become addicted to what is familiar and then feel like we need it to survive. But does that mean we are happy? 

Once Upon a Time I Was Addicted to You is the result of an ensemble working for 10 weeks to create a one-act play online between Sri Lanka and the United States. The international production is inspired by true events. 

 Disparities, created and performed by Delilah Stowers, Dionna Fletcher, and Everson Ndlovu. 

 Everyone is caught in a dream of ideas that don’t accept, respect and honor the diverse complexion of Mother Earth. Oppressors have created a longstanding color of law and culture to separate, isolate and dehumanize People of Color mentally, physically and spiritually. Domesticated by the oppressive human hierarchy, these second-class citizens experience and express the lack of humanism and social justice which has tainted their existence. It is disquieting to desire to navigate the system and a powerless paradox while facing it. How do they continue transforming this darkness into light?

  Boo Boo: The Big Ouchie, created and performed by Andrew Lupkes, Abigail Maguire and Joël Vining, with provocation from Erin Crites.

Inspired by current circumstances, Boo Boo: The Big Ouchie examines how the drudgery of a day-to-day office existence becomes a little more lively as Death starts to hang around.


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