Il Dottore’s phrases and aphrodisiac vocabulary

Latin Words:

Collum- neck

Spinae -spine

Digitus itchthies – fish fingers

Digitus – fingers

Genua – knees

Apis – Bees

Vomitio – Vomit

Fluens – humours/fluids

Muscus – Tongue




Powdered Oyster

Vanilla Beans

Shilajit (exotic brown paste from Tibet)

Kanweiling (herb)

Tribulus (herb)

Maca (berry)

Guava (berry)

Deer’s member (meat?)

Meng Nan (herb)

Men Nam (juice)

Bilic juices of the bear

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Commedia D’ell Arte Rehearsal notes

8th of November:

– The exercises were extremely tiring due to the enormous energy required, especially the immediate changes made to the movements.

– I found that the Laban movements that suited me the most were dabbing, gliding (to an extent) and some pressing.

– We also performed an exercise where we pretended to be animals, going through a Mouse, a Cat, a Puppy, a Bear and a Crane/Stork. Il Dottore is definitely a Crane/Stork character, elegantly gesturing around.

– With our scene: Il Dottore is more of a businessman than I expected, he is constantly trying to sell people medicines and tonics, while also hoping for money from Pantalone in order to turn lead into gold (in order to make more money).

– despite his extensive pompousness, Il Dottore is actually a stupid character and struggles to understand social quirks such as innuendos.

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Commedia Dell’Arte Questions

  1. What was the Commedia Dell’Arte? Commedia Dell’Arte was an Italian improvisational comedy theatre that originated in the Italian City states in the 15th Century. It consisted of troupes who toured the country.
  2. Where did the Commedia Originate from? It originated from Italy in the 15th century.
  3. What were the scenarios? The common scenarios were the two old men, Il Dottore and Pantalone, attempting to make money out of marrying one of the younger characters, and the two lovers, the Inamorati, are attempting to marry one another and are constantly being thwarted by other characters. 
  4. How were lazzi used? Lazzi were vignettes that were known by the entire troupe and were used as fall-back points when the improvisation of the actors began to fail. 
  5. In what places were the Commedia plays performed? Commedia was most commonly performed on streets and at markets, but it was known to be performed in more conventional spaces and even on occasion prestigious places, such as Royal Courts (although this was rare).
  6. How were troupes organised? Every troupe had a number of actors with set roles that did not change: each actor had their own specific character that they perfected over their career. It was not uncommon for the actors, as they grew older, to begin to play the roles of older characters such as Pantalone and Il Dottore. 
  7. Describe the three types of character roles. The Inamorati, or Lovers, were the centrepoints of all the scenarios, and were meant to attract the sympathy of the audience (in theory) The Masters/Old Men, Pantalone (a merchant who was constantly trying to keep hold of his money) and Il Dottore (a pompous old fool of a doctor who constantly shows off his education by befuddling other characters) were always trying to stop the two lovers from getting together. The Servants, or Zanni, were constantly trying to obtain money from their masters or the richer characters. 
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Hamlet Review

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of what is often referred to as “Shakespeare’s most famous play of all time”, Hamlet, on the 9th of August at the MTC building was of varying quality. While the play’s much loved plot was easily recognisable, with the expected eerie arrival of the Ghost of Denmark, Hamlet’s deliberation over whether or not to kill Claudius, his feigned madness whilst doing so, the tragic deaths of Polonius and Ophelia, and the grand duelling finale, the intention of the play seemed at times to be confused. The time period to which it had been recontextualised, for instance, seemed by the lights to be mid-20th century Soviet Bloc, and the helmets used by the guards also reinforced this image. However, the play made extensive use of technology, even including a laptop twice, and other than the military uniforms the clothing was entirely modern. The director apparently wished the audience to consider their own lives while watching theatre, and the use of a glass set reflected this, but there was little else to support this message in the play. The decision to dress Claudius in a low-key black business suit in contrast to the rest of the cast perhaps showed that he wished to convey the idea that “evil and dictatorship comes in many guises.” This I was unable to determine. However, it is easy to see from these contrasts in ideas that the play seemed to lack direction in some areas.

One predicable element of the play, however, was the quality of actors. The entire cast were quite effective in their given roles, and played the parts with entertaining new takes, such as the slightly younger than expected but by no means less entertaining Polonius. In fact, it would not be untrue to say that Polonius was the best role in the production. While not necessarily an incredible actor in his own right, Garry McDonald’s secretarial approach to Polonius was entertainingly different to the traditional self-important advisor that he has been represented as in the past. His dabbling hand actions and regular adjustment of his glasses, along with occasional stutters in his speech, led to a character that had none of the self-importance that one would expect from Polonius.

Also, the acting of Claudius by John Adam was exceptional. His constant frowning and careful, guarded movements gave the impression of a deep unease, and supported well his line “god sees all”-O gained a sense that he was aware of this and was almost paranoid throughout the show, a feeling which gradually intensified, and was released admirably in the scene with the dumb show and the performance by the players.

The costuming, however, was good and bad in equal measures. The use of Hamlet’s costume to show his madness was very effective, in particular the instant transition with his hair from groomed to unkempt, and the versatile use of black jeans as formal trousers and casual dress.

Claudius’ clothing, however, did not fit the impressions that I gained about his character at all, it looked western and he looked like a reasonable, pleasant leader, as opposed to the unstable right-wing dictatorial figure that one would expect him to be given the setting and the unease of his character. He only looked like a ruler in the end scene, but he was still more of a Chief of staff or an Officer in a military wing, not a ruler as such (he needed more medals or other stereotypical compensatory attire).

The re-contextualisation of the Ghost of Hamlet to be “clad in armour” by wearing modern practical military fatigues (since camouflage is armour in modern warfare) was clever attention to detail, if subtle.


The use of Audio-Visual effects was well-tempered in that it never distracted from the acting. It was also useful in identification of the characters-for example, Robert Menzies’ “ghost of Hamlet” was immediately recognisable not because of his painted face but due to the eerie blue lighting change and the swirling mist from the smoke machine that surrounded him. Also, the use of sound effects was very effective in holding audience attention, such as the mobile phone ringing in one scene, and also in providing some levels of familiarity for the younger age bracket, such as the use of a modern stereo by the players.


Overall, this performance of Hamlet seemed a little confused as to its artistic direction, and there was perhaps a little more co-ordination needed between the members of the creative team. However, it was doubtless very entertaining, and the extensive use of props, sounds, lighting and the visually engaging nature of the revolve stage held the audience’s attention with ease.

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TPPP practice

30 minutes

choose a theme: remember THEORY!

Theatre in the World-Various traditions, what I saw

Theatre in the making: production elements, how they’re used in plays you’ve seen

Theatre in performance: What you did, What you saw

LINK THEM ALL!!! How they interact to create theatre

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Kathakali Post performance reflection

First of all, there was some time pressure…

What we did was perform a section of non-text based theatre-the performance stemmed from folklore. It is told using singing, dance and music (like Opera)

In a sense, it is also like a simultaneous dumbshow in that the story is spoken at the same time. The need to dance and express is inarguably present in every human culture. This could be a very useful activity in relation to my IP…

For example, you could take the archetypes present in Sleeping beauty, such as the witch, the Prince, and the doting parents. Laban is also very useful, with its formulas. It is possible to have music, singing or other elements. You could take well-known fairy-tales or biblical stories and represent them.

The performers were also very physical, and this could be used-Legs on the wall, Kage-all examples of physical theatre. This is a normal reaction to the weight of words and pendulum-like nature of any area, with emphasis changing between different elements.

It was necessary to have all of the resources, that they were obtainable. It was very difficult to maintain an even surface, but the makeup itself was quite useful-easy to dry, easy to take off, but we did feel it. It did not restrict our facial expressions at all.

The shape of the makeup also worked well with the facial muscles.

In this way, they were very similar to clowns in Western theatre. The makeup was also very impacting in changing your attitude, although Masks are much more powerful than makeup for this, and I feel much more immersed when wearing a mask such as in Theatre of cruelty. The character differences are fairly subtle, however it was interesting for there to be no difference between the makeup at all. On the other hand, Western theatre also has mostly costuming features, and we tried our best to represent the difficulties in Kathakali but limited resources made it difficult for some characters to distinguish. One audience member found it easy to follow the storyline.

We found it  a lot easier to focus in the second rehearsal because we had a smaller audience, we were much better prepared the second time, and less uncertain. We were unrehearsed for the first rehearsal but we were much better by the second rehearsal. Also, this is the case with all rehearsals.

We also discussed personal major issues, such as Self-Control for Anna, and movement for me. As a performer, I can see the value of extensive rehearsal because there is nothing else that allows for development for a theatre performance other than time and experience. The fact that our first performance was also our dress rehearsal also meant that we were yet to sort out any of our difficulties caused by the costuming and the props. In fact, we were so focussed on completing the performance – “playing the notes right” that we did not immerse ourselves in the performance properly.

I had personal difficulties moving as much as I needed to and it was difficult to recall facial expressions. We spent a lot of time attempting to obtain a greater comfort and freedom with our bodies, which we didn’t have beforehand because of our lack of practice in flexibility (other than Jaslyn). We also practiced wailing so as to improve our eastern musical style.

I had no problem with the sounds we needed to make because I was used to discordant sounds from musical pieces in concert band, and I am slightly more liberal in my musical choices.

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31st of August Kathakali

today we began to run through the script with acting as well, which was somewhat successful, however I felt that we did not achieve as much as we could because people had not learnt their mudras, scripts were forgotten, etc, which had a negative effect on the productivity of the rehearsal. We are beginning to understand the cultural role of Kathakali, however I felt that many of us were still chanting in a western style and moving in the ways that we feel comfortable, when we shouldn’t be…

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