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A Search into Commedia del Arte as a Dramatherapy Tool

A Search into Commedia del Arte as a Dramatherapy Tool

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  • 1. Masks and their application “ The use of masks will be discovered eventually to be the freest solution of the modern dramatists problem as to how-with the greatest possible dramatic clarity and economy of means-he can express those profound hidden conflicts of the mind which the probing of psychology continue to disclose to us “. Eugene O‟Neill in Harris Smith (1984) What we are primarily concerned with in this study is to further the idea of the relevance of masks, as a tool for the elucidation and transformation of aspects of the human condition. By pushing and expanding the boundaries of our experience and a priori knowledge, we can begin to develop our understanding, not only of our own existence but the importance and relevance of our social interaction and integration. The analysis of what a mask can represent helps us to explore several effects: 1. As protective persona, a tough shield protecting a susceptible and sensitive personality. 2. A mask maybe fixed on another by a group, in order to influence the individual into a socially accepted norm. 3. The personality is defined wholly by externals, the only meaning is in the character or in the mask. 4. The mask could be an illustration of a healthier identity, an ideal toward which the deficient identity strives for. A subtle bringing together can become conscious in the contrast between mask and face. 5. Group masking in which groups mask as a conscious collective. “They provide a medium for exploring formal boundaries and a means of investigating the problems that appearances pose in the experience of change” Napier (1986) Archetypes and the Masks of the Commedia del Arte 1.Introduction to Commedia del Arte "This brings us to comedy, which is inherently subversive and visionary, always has a moral, and has always been popular. The traditional class connections of the dramatic genres are Conventionally explained in terms of relative sophistication: only the aristocracy has leisure and refinement to consider the great Issues propounded by tragedy; realism appeals to the no-nonsense outlook of the bustling middle-class; comedy delights the childlike hedonism of the masses." Joan Holden the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Fisher (1992:252) The "Commedia del Arte" originated around the 1550‟s. Literally translated as, "Comedy of Skills". (Abbr. CdA) Family tradition enabled its style to survive. There were no scripted dialogues as such, except in the form of "business" and "directions" for the actors/characters to freely improvise. The expression through body language and movement as well as sound and spoken language meant that 1
  • 2. the form was accessible to a great many people as well as being cross-cultural. The performers were often well educated and were able to create great subtleties within the characters. The Commedia del Arte is set very much by the character "types" these are known within the form as "masks", (although some of the characters are maskless). They are also identifiable by the postures and actions of the characters as well as the way they sound. These became the main features of Commedia del Arte, differentiating it from other theatre forms, although it does have similarities with the melodrama of the Victorian stage. However, within melodrama, the character types are maintained within a scripted piece and the character portraits may vary. CdA on the other hand, maintains the set form each character has, within mainly improvised scenarios called "Lazzi's"; as Rudlin (1994) suggests: "Rather than the form being the container for the characters. The characters become the container for the form"(34). It has connected cultures and artists over a great period of time; through it's purity and rational flexibility and use of ubiquitous human symbols. Some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century have used characters from the Commedia del Arte to influence their work; Fisher (1992) proposes that: "Many of them were drawn toward a kind of archetypal Jungian Vision which reduced and also transformed life into a handful Of simple plots and stereotypical figures that confront us with Spiritual and intellectual glimpses of our deepest beings". (p.11) Beckett, Brecht, and Ionesco based their existential clowns on Arlecchino; the most famous known to us must be Charlie Chaplin‟s', "Tramp". Craig, Meyerhold, and Blok, as twentieth century dramatists, were also influenced by these ancient archetypal figures. In a quote taken from „The Triumph of Pierrot‟ Green et al; Fisher (1992:12), has pointed out that: "Commedia del Arte is not an idea or a meaning, but a collection of images with many meanings". Shakespearean drama is a prime example of this statement. Strehler in his adaptation of The Tempest depicted Ariel as (Pierrot), Stephano (Capitano), Trinculo (Pulcinella). "A very different picture emerges from painters and writers like Picasso, Dali and Garcia Lorca (the first of whom was painting Cubist Harlequins before some of the press reviews which have been studied), who explore the ludic traditions of the Commedia." David John George (1992:35) Appendix 1 and 2 2
  • 3. The masks of the Commedia del Arte allow us to identify specific roles and attitudes, extending the dramatic metaphor, into what I have called "parallel identification". By looking at this style as an example for extension, we will see that it incorporates the work of Dr. Sue Jennings and Dr. Robert Landy, that of „Embodiment‟ of archetypes, „Projection‟ through mask and process through „Role Types‟. We may transform it from agit prop street theatre into agit prop psychology. The discipline is in the art form. It has a fixed prearranged structure, without any other overt imagery attached to it. Parallel identification Really this is looking at certain aspects of role through the use of Commedia for simple example what would the Capitano aspect of a homeless person look like and if we were to take it into metaphor. What would the Capitano aspect of a giant be like, and if we took it further we might look at what is the Pantaloni aspect of the Capitano aspect of giant is therefore we are paralleling one aspect with another to see there what their differences might be we are effectively making some assessment of complexes. 2.Introduction to Dramatherapy Dramatherapy is an eclectic practice combining, Psychotherapeutic practice, and Creative Arts, giving emphasis to drama. A typical definition might be: The intentional use of theatrical events to bring about change during the therapeutic process. We are in essence talking about internal and external socialisation through direct theatrical events, which help to create the therapeutic journey. Dramatherapy can be used in many different ways with many different client groups from elderly people with moderate to severe dementia, people in prison to give some example. It is also used with individual clients. Its adaptation and flexibility allow dramatherapy as an art form to be infinite in possibility and influence. With the strong structure of drama, the client can find stability in time, space, and role. The words "Drama" and "therapy" were first put together and used by Peter Slade in 1954. Through Slades work with adolescents, he discovered that by using drama as a container for experience, the children were able to create boundaries for themselves. This paved the way for an opinion and research that would create the art form of Dramatherapy as we know it today. It was formulated in a paper called "Dramatherapy as an Aid to Becoming a Person", which was published after Slade gave a lecture in 1958 at the Guild of Pastoral Psychology. He indicates in the paper, a process of productive discipline which incorporates the use of drama, to equip a person with the skills necessary to evoke; "confidence, hope, feeling of security, discovery of sympathy, and to concentration"(5) He goes on to make valid observations about symbols, related to the dreamlike interpretations of imaginative fantasy, which are apparent within "projected play" as in objects external to the person and "personal play" as in roles within a person: "Symbols are thrown up, but there are many parallels which may be, as it were, symbols of these symbols, and through which the truth behind the original symbols is equally stumbled upon. The apparently haphazard or casually related train of events may represent a stark reality, so it is not generally necessary to be overcareful to include symbols in suggested scenes. (8) He goes on to say: 3
  • 4. There are two main qualities in the drama that I am trying to describe, and these are Absorption and Sincerity. There can be tremendous absorption in the task done and a tremendous sincerity about the way of doing it. Both these, in time, can become habits of the personality, affecting such things as ability to concentrate, remember and learn, and the sincerity brings out the fundamental things like truthfulness and honest behaviour. (10) In the appreciation of drama as therapy "dramatherapy" we can express our realities within a form that is infinite. In Peter Slades own words: "In general realms, one might say that drama offers imaginary opportunity, as life does not always provide it. (20) Since 1958 practitioners of Drama, Psychology, and Psychiatry have expanded and formulated different systems that have become specifically equated to drama therapeutic work. Within the work developed by these practitioners, we can explore ourselves using imaginative processes. We can create places that allow us the freedom of expression so valuable to us. We can observe the exploration of others, which is so often a reflection of our own. These events can take place within a group situation or can be experienced individually, one to one. Because of the nature of the socialisation process it is best used with groups to greater advantage. Although, a client who has symptoms of "frustrated archetypal intent" (Stevens 1984) as unaccomplished role-relations within him or herself, may need individual consideration, to facilitate the initial stages of social structure and development. Its usage varies to a very great degree depending on the background of the practitioner. Some dramatherapists are psychoanalytic based. Some are approaching dramatherapy from a Jungian perspective. Usually there is some kind of an event attached in all methods. It is essential for a dramatherapist to have some basic understanding of dramatic techniques these may include: Games - Role play - Character work - Play reading and/or writing - Movement - Improvisation and Maskwork. Not all dramatherapists use solely drama techniques. 3. Postulate I am proposing that "Commedia del Arte"(Abbrev.CdA) can be used as further exploration into dramatherapeutic work. The most relevant factor in CdA that link it so well with dramatherapy is the integral "archetypes" of the characters. As well as the archetypal principality, the use of body and imagination, so important for embodiment and projective purposes within therapeutic exploration, allow us to extend the form into an impressive source of inspiration. If we could pinpoint an illustration to parallel the nature of the character "types" of the Commedia del Arte, we might utilise for example; Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood and Colombo. These are all basic archetypal characters (they are driven by a particular energy). They all became recognised for certain qualities, costumes, and stature, making them into three- dimensional characters built up over time to represent a "type". Because the "archetypes" of the (masks or maskless) are pre-determined in the CdA, and are quite precise in each character type, there is automatically more manageability. (We are stealing from Peter Slades idea of using a form for expression, in this instance it is the CdA). By determining the qualities being evoked the interventions can be predicted with more precision. Hence, the intervention can be monitored. As Nicoll (1963) says of one of the characters: 4
  • 5. "Pantaloni, let us say, retains his name costume and essential basic characteristics in successive plays, but he is made to appear in diverse circumstances and in diverse relationships with his companions." (p.21) His companions being that of other character "types" or "parts", Nicoll goes on to say that "Whatever his particular circumstances, his essential personality remains the same. The impression we get is of an individual revealed in different ways through the varying connections he has with his fellows and through the particular positions in life which have been accorded to him". (p.22 As Mead in Landy (1993) is clear to point out as a social scientist: "It is generally recognised that the specifically social expressions of intelligence, or the exercise of what is often called "social intelligence" depend upon the given individual's ability to take the roles of, or "put himself in the place of", the other individuals implicated with him in given social situations; and upon his consequent sensitivity to their attitudes toward himself and toward one another."(141) In terms of therapeutic involvement we could look at precisely what is stated in the above quotes ie. What kind of thought processes the different characters have in relation to each other and to themselves, and if we are presuming that all of the character "types" are in actual fact all present within one psyche, we can endeavour examine that psyche in an effective realistic way. By introducing the different character "types" or "parts", which may vary in accordance with therapeutic goals, certain avenues of thought process could be adjusted and enhanced through arbitration between these characters. Through the actualisation and investigation of them. All the characters have a comic edge to them. If we can use the comedy to look at important issues, those issues will then lose some weight and/or heaviness and become less threatening to the client and to the therapist. This does not mean that the therapy is belittled in terms of value; in fact the value increases because the comedy is more often or not the polar opposite of tragedy, which creates a deep catharsis and integration. In Jungian terms this would clarify the term “The union of opposites" as pointed out by Jacobi (1959): "For in transcending the opposites by uniting them in itself (only to let them separate again afterwards, so that no rigidity, no standstill may ensue,) the symbol maintains psychic life in a constant flux and carries it onward toward its destined goal". (98) She also indicates that: "Only when the archetypes come into contact with the conscious mind, that is when the light of consciousness falls on them and their contours begin to emerge from the darkness and to fill with individual content, can the conscious mind differentiate them.” (66) And Jung (1996) 2nd Ed., states quite clearly that: "The archetype let us never forget this-is a psychic organ present in all of us.” (160) By using Commedia del Arte as a structure and container to work in, we can begin to recognise a potential for archetypal release and journey towards individuation. "When consciously observed and guided, the individuation represents a dialectical interaction between the contents of the unconscious and of the consciousness; symbols provide the necessary bridges, linking and reconciling the often seemingly irreconcilable contradictions between the two sides". (115) Jolande Jacobi (1959) 5
  • 6. 4.Character Analysis of the Commedia del Arte. "And indeed the old man has a wicked aspect too, just as the primitive medicine- man is a healer and helper and also the dreaded concocter of poisons. (227) Jung (1996) 2nd.Ed. A closer look at CdA by an analysis of the characters from a Jungian perspective, we are looking at what Jung refers to as "motifs" these are dominating themes. Within this structure there are indications of the qualities and symbols that are commonly found in a diverse range of stories, dreams and fairytales. We must also remember that animals and inanimate objects may also hold the qualities of these figures, including geometrical and abstract forms. Role Types Brighella (zanni) ROLE Cunning, Venal. Corrupt. Conniving. Leads by fear/manipulation. Knows weak points of another, uses it against them for own benefit. Good at extracting mainly with deceit. The boss of the zanni. Never a victim. Exploits. A criminal, pitiless, lies constantly and disguises himself. Capitano ROLE Absurd egotist/self-admirer. Brags about powers as a military man and as a lover. Depicted as Spanish. Boaster. Coward and a Rogue. Mischief-loving person, often childlike. Wild beast of savage temper living apart from herd. A loner. Rascal. Knave. Scoundrel. Self-appointed name (never really held rank) scared of women, thief, vain, stupid, sneering, he is in fact a glorified zanni. His first duty is to himself. Boasts of false lineage (preferably a very long one). A "Don Juan" complex. He pretends from pride to humility. Loud. Dottore ROLE Father of one of the lovers. Pantaloni's friend or rival. Doctor of medicine or law. Insufferable pedant with petty details of book learning, grammatical rules. Conceited ignoramus. Muddled pronouncements and absurd opinions. Studied everything understood nothing. Philosopher. Highly creative scientific mind but unable to communicate logically. He is a separate higher mind. Pretentious scholar, can be a bachelor, big, drinks, thinks out loud, envies true creativity and natural understanding. Inability to make a proposition without also giving voice to its antithesis. Harlequin/Arlecchino (zanni) (possibly taking the "child motif") ROLE Like an agile cat. Ignorance. Naivete. Anarchic Wit. Persecuted Lover. Stupidity with grace. Overgrown Boy. Eternally amorous. He represents the needs of the common people. Roguishness, amorality and emotional detachment. Innocent dolt but also a shrewd manipulator, without the sinister connotations of his counterpart. Humour. Mischievous child. Plays on people‟s vanity. A sceptic. Links with the devil well known. Easily lead by his counter-part BRIGHELLA. Servant to Pantaloni/Capitano/Dottore. Little Devil. A shape shifter adopting disguises/cross dressing. Describes precisely through words and gesture. Hoarse voice. Never contemplates the consequence of action. He is reactive rather than pro-active. (The Lovers)Innamorali. ROLE Masters/Mistresses. Lovers. Speeches in poetic form. Always in love. Always happy, floating on a cloud. They want others to share in this love. Lyrical poetry. Elegance. They lack firm contact with the 6
  • 7. ground. Unfortunately things that resulted from the heat of passion get them into trouble. High status brought lower by the hopelessness of their infatuation. Little or no physical contact. Vanity, mirrors. Upset by their imperfections. Well read knowing large extracts of poems by heart. They are in love with themselves being in love. When they do meet they have great difficulty communicating with each other (nervous). Petulant and spoilt. No patience. Masochistic tendencies. Drama queens. Full of doubt and low self-esteem. Selfish. Isobella ROLE Prima donna daughter of Pantaloni, less dilettante, more perspicacious, flirty, provocative stubborn, head strong. Il Cavaliere ROLE Real Soldier. After revenge. Laughs and sneers and is above everyone. Unfaithful and flatters any woman who is present. Hubristic self-esteem Pantaloni ROLE Often the father of one of the lovers. Comic contradictions of old age. Stingy. Extremely mercenary. Paranoia around losing anything i.e. Money, possessions, servants, his daughter. Vane. Lechery. Gullibility. Leads to exposure and defeat. Old man attempting to hide old age. He is money. Protecting purse and bullying, aggressive, mean. Leers at women. Everything can be bought or sold as far as he is concerned. Loves money for its own sake. Emotionally extreme. Never forgets. Narrow minded. Pierrot/Pedrolino (zanni) ROLE Victim of cuckolding (husband whose wife is unfaithful) Central Character è£ frustrated elegant. Dandy (man excessively concerned with smartness of dress). Melancholy dreamer. Tragic rather than comic. Simple-minded awkward servant. Distaste for vulgarity. Lonely figure. Butt of jokes. Survives oppression by seeming to be simple. Seems to have no feelings. Gives vent to feelings when alone. Totally honest. Conscientious. A loner faithful to his master. Abused half-starved life. Great endurance without complaint. Anaesthetised his sensitivity by pretending to have no feelings. Always tired. A loner that loves COLUMBINA. Pulcinella. (zanni) ROLE Blustering sometimes violent. Characteristic hump. A powerful figure in society who is not averse to using violence to achieve his goals. Deformed. Pot bellied. Misshapen. Cruelty. No respect for others. Sometimes has two humps indicating his split personality. Quick thought and speech. Impersonates animals and birds and inanimate objects, such as tree's and houses. He is either clever pretending to stupid or stupid pretending to be clever. Egotist. Ferocious. Interior. Quarrels. Bloodshed. fatalistic. His philosophy - nothing gets to him. He sees everything in his own image: Brutal, Ugly, and destructive. Has no capacity to take kindness therefore can't give it. He is domesticated and is capable of impersonating wife/mother if there is not one available. No respect. His good humour conceals a ferocious interior. Quarrels and seeks them out. He cannot help telling everybody everything Crispin. (Zanni) ROLE. Scheming exploitation of peoples weaknesses to reach a desired end. 7
  • 8. Scapino. (Zanni) ROLE Rascally. Speciality is running away. Coward. Makes confusion out of everything. A Liar. Flippant in love. He falls in love for the sheer joy of it and like a bird flits from one love to another, never becoming deeply involved and always obeying every impulse that enters his flighty head. Schemes against old men for revenge. No logic. Forgets everything. Scaramouche. ROLE. Musician. Little fighter. Go between. A derivative of CAPITANO. Cowardly/boasting. Short-sighted and deaf in one ear. Rarely speaks has great difficulty expressing himself in words that which he wishes to say. Expresses facially and through gesticulation of the body. A stirrer. Tabarin. ROLE Old man. The "Zanni"(Zany ones) - servants. ROLE Servants. (Soul energy) Food, sleep, sex. Animal nature. Grounded on the Earth. Basic needs level, no intellect. Workers. Survival through "natural selection". Assist and scheme on behalf of the masters to get rewards. Ignorant and loutish. No self-awareness. Intolerant of discipline and authority but very faithful. All their reactions are emotional and they live totally in the present. (Sleep just happens to them where they stand). They have to work hard for little reward. Emotionally driven. (Male energy). Constantly in difficult Columbina. (Zanni) ROLE (All of the female characters of the CdA can be related to aspects or "motifs" of the feminine unconscious. There are many different levels of these: Older, stronger, younger, weaker, resourceful. Earthy compatriot. Sometimes lover of Harlequin. Innocent. Helper. Helps the downtrodden. Spokesman for others. Mediator. Uses her position to help others. Rescuer. Justice higher level servant. Freshness. Personal maid to the Prima Donna. Female zanni. Gossipy. Takes to punishing Arlecchino. Lucid. Self-sufficient. Autonomous. No negative attributes. Thinks before she acts. Tartaglia ROLE To stammer, a utility figure (useful). Frequently a Lawyer or minor official. Bald. Pot-bellied. Flies into rages with himself and others when failing to communicate. Mixes his words up (Coriolanus 'Cor e laid into us). Amarilli ROLE Female lover. A pastoral figure. Lonely wife of a shepherd. Bertolino (zanni) Brandino (zanni) Cassandro Old man more level headed than PANTILONI. Cola Zanni or old man. A friend of PANTILONI. Ridiculous. 8
  • 9. Coviello Jumped up Zanni or low-life CAPITANO. He favours everything mischievous, grotesque, and obscene. Fedelindo Lover son of TARTAGLIA. Fichetto. (Zanni) A pedantic. One who overvalues, or insists on petty details of book learning. Fiorinetta Great courtesan, over-dressed, wore too many jewels. Elaborate. Gabba. (Zanni) Servant to ROBERTO Gianduja. Loads of children. Peasant. Huge shoes. La Ruffiana Old woman. Peasant. Obstinate. Limited. Narrow and primitive in her reactions. Generous in spirit. Lattanzio. (Zanni) Friend of COVIELLO Menenghino ROLE (we might say that this character closely resembles that of "the wise old man" being one of many "motifs" within the unconscious). An honest man. Prudent. Careful, discreet and sensible, with balanced judgements. Pasquariello ROLE Schemer who has a long nose. Roberto ROLE A miserly old man. Rosaura PANTILONI'S wife, an older COLUMBINA. A man-eater she takes lovers, particularly CAPITANO. Stenterello Admires ARLECCHINO and stenterello's defects are shadows of arlecchino's. Lazy, fidgety, greedy and a rascal. Misuses words and enjoys new-coined words or phrases Trappola. (Zanni) ROLE The Captains valet. Tristitia ROLE Assistant to ROBERTO Trivelino 9
  • 10. ROLE Rival or companion to ARLECCHINO. Ubaldo An old man. Zanobio Similar to CASSANDRO Brighella Crispin Arlequino Different levels of servants with varying character Columbina traits. The levels of each character ……………. 1.Physical 2.Emotional 3.Mental. 4.Spiritual. 5.Role-types as Symbols, Archetypes, and Complexes. Within the "role-types" of the CdA there are a number of established "parts" these parts could be construed to be parts of a whole personality or "self". These "role-types" or "parts" can be representational of our inter-personal "role-system" or relationships. Not only with people, but also in our relationship to the environment and how these "roles" interact with the "roles" that are formed by and for society. Our external relation to objects, images, signs our overall semiological awareness. (See character profile of PULCINELLA). These "role-types" or "parts" can also be assigned to the representation of "intra-psychic-role-relations" leading into "sub-role/relations" and various degrees of "sub- roling/division", Creating Avenues for specific exploration. In order to establish a concrete base to work from we must look at the "masks" or "Role-types" from a fundamental viewpoint; as symbols or a collection of symbols, that being, each "mask" and the components that make up the "mask" as a whole. If we are to consider that these "types" are intra-psychic as well as interpersonal symbols, how does the relationship between these two polarities change? (The movement, or shift of the experience of the archetypes from inner to outer). Here we are encouraged by Jung (1996) 2nd.Ed, as he states: "The archetype-let us never forget this-is a psychic organ present in all of us. A bad explanation means a correspondingly bad attitude to this organ, which may thus be injured. But the ultimate sufferer is the bad interpreter himself. Hence the "explanation" should always be such that the functional significance of the archetype remains un- impaired, so that an adequate and meaningful connection between the conscious mind and the archetypes is assured. For the archetype is an element of our psychic structure and thus a vital component in our psychic economy."(160) So we will propose a model for explanation of this interchange, between archetype as potential, and symbol as point of growth. 10
  • 11. SYMBOL The German for symbol is - Sinnbild, and as such can be defined further by de-construction. "Sinn" is defined as the meaning and is the masculine or yang element of a symbol. "Bild" is defined as the image or the raw material of a symbol and is the feminine or yin element. The symbol is the "transcendent function" and as Jacobi (1959) states: "The content, the raw material of the creative, primordial womb of the collective unconscious, which takes on meaning and shape through its union with the first component". (95) The Union of Opposites The Symbol as = Transcendent Function  This function creates a transition from one attitude to another  The Symbol: "It is a synthesis of conscious and unconscious material". (100) The "self" is another way of referring to the unconscious and the conscious combined processes. Making way for potential wholeness and individuation. Again we can take Jung (1996) 2nd. Ed. as an example: "Moreover, the self is felt empirically not as subject but as object, and this by reason of its unconscious component, which can only come to consciousness indirectly, by way of projection. Because of its unconscious component the self is so far removed from the conscious mind that it can only be partially expressed by human figures; the other part of it has to be expressed by objective, abstract symbols"(187) This will become clearer in the chapter concerning dreams and Commedia, where abstract symbols become channels for the illumination of the character and roles. Jung goes on to say that: "The indefinite extent of the unconscious component makes a comprehensive description of the human personality impossible."(187) ARCHETYPE If we take it that the archetype has a epicentre a place of origin and that an "archetype" or "nodal point" carries mythological or universal human material and originating "complexes" with it from the collective unconscious, into the unconscious, and therefore moving into the conscious we can draw a model connecting diagram. 11
  • 12. THE FOUR NODAL POINTS 1 top ….Positive, favourable, and bright. 3…Right…..That which is yet to come ► and 4…left ....◄ that which has been. ▼ 2… bottom …..Negative, unfavourable, partly chthonic. Individually acquired material from conception through the birth process along the continuum of life will carry "complexes" and continue gathering these until the cessation of physical life, as Jacobi states: "Only an interpretation on the symbolic level can strip the nucleus of the complex from its pathological covering and free it from the impediment of its personalistic garb". (26) Each client‟s experience is unique, life experience and accumulation of complexes is different and therefore requires careful negotiation, and not all complexes are pathological. Some complexes are indeed necessary to sustain a balanced life. Each client will have different levels of engagement with each character "type" or "part", which may be determined by gender, age, pathological state, and race. "The mask" or essential "role type of the CdA" would be classified as the distancing within this new formula, externalising or projecting the process of thought into an object, the "object of reference", before re-integrating with it as subject to object and object to subject. "Where there is no consciousness of the difference between subject and object an unconscious identity prevails. The unconscious is then projected into the object, and the object is introjected into the subject, becoming part of his psychology". Jung (1982:47) If we take a character from a fairy tale say "The Little Match Girl"; she has a basic "archetypal form" that of the Pauper. That structure or form maybe lifted into consciousness. Surrounding that form is a complex which is based on an individual‟s perception of what that "little Match Girl" is. There is also a complex that the individual has of the experience of that character within his or her own life story. "From the functional point of view we may say that the resolution of a complex and its emotional assimilation, i.e. the process of raising it to consciousness, always result in a new distribution of psychic energy". Jacobi (1959:11) 12
  • 13. If we then add to this character another archetypal form, that of a CdA “type”, we can begin to identify specific attributes, different levels of functioning within the archetype of the pauper. It is my speculation, that there are as many archetypes within one archetype as there are archetypes of which there are an infinite number. This leads us to explore another level of thought process on a deeper more profound level, creating an even greater distance from the clients own experience, at the same time decreasing the distance, creating another polar opposite. Increasing the union of opposites. We are in effect working with "dual potential within parallel identification" that of the archetypal energy of the character and that of the archetype of the CdA “type”, increasing the likelihood of "archetypal release", or energy illumination. We can look to Jacobi (1959) for some clarification: "To define it from a functional point of view we might say that the archetype as such is concentrated psychic energy, but that the symbol provides the mode of manifestation by which the archetype becomes discernible". (74) Anima, Animus Projection and injection "Since we can no longer or only partially express the archetypes of the unconscious by means of figures in which we religiously believe, they lapse into unconsciousness again and hence are unconsciously projected upon more or less suitable human personalities." (200) 6.The Trickster Archetype The archetype that we are particularly interested in is the trickster archetype. Early depictions of the CdA characters lead us to believe that they were seen as devils, who are equated with the dichotomy between god and the devil and of good and evil, light and dark a very universally diverse aspects of the unconscious. How they might be used within a Dramatherapy session or a group of sessions. What we are ultimately aiming at, is to support people on a journey of self-discovery and illumination, which enables them to re-create their natural ability to negotiate freely, internally on a psychic level and externally on a social level, so structuring the capacity of balance. We will assume for the moment that we are not working with pathological states, but with people who have decided to look at a particular area of their lives, that they feel maybe causing them some difficulty. Let us take for example the problems of self-confidence or lack of it, which is a fairly universal problem. By making this our point of initiation into dramatherapy we may, after an initial exploration, find that another channel of expression is opened. 13
  • 14. Example 1. We may choose to call our exploration "In search of Capitano" and we offer this as our aim within a set of dramatherapy sessions as a short input strategy. The idea is to offer the clients the opportunity to find and develop their own individual Capitano. We have several degrees of this character and may choose to work with all of them to get the variations in quality. Capitano Il Cavaliere Scaramouche. Coviello Lattanzio. (Zanni) Trappola. (Zanni) At the assessment stage the clients would be told about Commedia del Arte (CdA) briefly, and that the work would focus using this method. The work would begin through movement using the stances and postures of the Capitano character as a warm-up and introduction to the group. We would then begin to construct our own individual Capitano's as the exploration of a "type", by using the four nodal points as a starting point to build the character. The qualities at the four points are: 1. Positive, favourable and bright. 2. Negative, unfavourable, partly chthonic (of, relating to, or inhabiting the underworld.[Greek “‟khthä¤n “‟'earth'] and 3. That which has been. 4. And that which is yet to come. We could also inquire into the; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual nature. The possibility of many variations within one archetype must be taken into consideration. Diagram 1 We will assume that the point at which the triangles meet in the middle, (diagram 1) is the point of the characters conception, within the actor/client. Coming from the left is the actors/clients own individual perceptions of his/her life experience. Moving to the right is the story or journey of the character, that will be created by the actor/client from his inner “‟a priori “‟knowledge and his imagination. Diagram 2 We will assume that the midway point in (diagram 2) represents The "archetype" or "point of energy" at conception or connection with a given character or/and emotional state. Time immemorial, coming in from the left, is a pre-supposed collection of material that is unconscious to the actor/client. These two diagrams juxtapose each other creating the model of dramatherapy. The right-hand triangle represents the path followed by an "archetype", through the different levels of the unconscious, moving through different layers of "complexes" until it reaches consciousness at which point the "archetype" can become realised "complexes" are at their most difficult, but can be worked and contained. 14
  • 15. It is at this point that the story created by the actor needs to be structurally solid and engaged in order for the "complexes" to be worked safely. After the cultivation of the character has taken place, we would use a constructed mask for our own Capitano type these would vary according to the individuals interpretation, the only rule is that the mask has to have a long nose which is integral to the Capitano. By keeping the nose he retains his comic edge and holds the archetypal energy of the type, even if the interpretation varies slightly. Once we have the character profile and the mask we may begin to develop scenarios or Lazzi's for the Capitano to work in. These can be formulated and performed using other masks alongside as sidekicks, whether they be worn by other members of the group or laid out on the floor as a map, or worn by the therapist. Some of the other characters don't wear masks but depict a "type". This method can be used with any of the other character types. Example Two. We may like to work with a ready formulated character, creating more distance between the client and his own personal experience, by introducing different character types to him/her. What type of Commedia character is "Del-boy" from the TV programme "Only Fools and Horses"? If we develop another character trait for him, how would this change his outlook? If we gave Del-boy a different quality? How would he relate to his family? What are their qualities? Example Three. Cinderella How might different character types change her overall perception and journey through the story? How could we set up these changes as three-dimensional pictures? How can these different aspects of personality, help to instigate and bring about change within her journey? What roles do the other people play in this scene; it may be different from the actual story? What are the initial character "types" of Cinderella‟s' ugly Sisters? How does the behaviour of the ugly Sisters change when we give them a mask of a different "role- type"? The mask of Pantaloni perhaps? How does this affect how they relate to other members of the family? How does this change how people see them? How does this change the way in which they see themselves? How does this affect their status? The clients may have at their disposal a full set of masks, to identify particular aspects of the "types”,” parts" of a character. In this way, they might analyse the different "roles" and "sub-roles" that draw some ideas and perceptions about character choices. 15
  • 16. Example 4. We could move onto create improvisations, incorporating different character types that we might meet in our everyday lives. This would bring the work into reality. Working more on a psychodramatic level. As long as we observe the rule that the character types have a comic edge and the structure is kept solid. An example here might be; A biker with a harlequin aspect. A shop assistant with a Capitano aspect. We can look at; action and reaction, abstract and concrete, real and ideal, male and female or any combination of opposites can be explored in a safe distanced way. By giving the characters within the drama the different "archetypes" of the (CdA) to explore. The clients can explain the archetypes even without actualising the characters and work through discussion in a more psychotherapeutic way. Framework example 1.Character 5. Role (within drama) 2.Main role type 6.Sub-roles (within drama) 3.Commedia main role type 7.Dimensions of Sub-roles evoked. (Within drama) 4. (Commedia) sub-roles What we are dealing with is a "potential". There are no absolutes and this has to be stated quite clearly. The danger in mask work is they can evoke the full powerful potential of archetypes. As archetypes become exposed, the conscious persona/ego state determined by ones perception of the world could become unbalanced. Energy becomes magnified and enhanced, increasing the "potential" effect of the mask. Not only will archetypes or energy from the mask be released, but also the "contra-mask" may also be exposed. In psychological terms we might call this the "shadow persona” unconscious energy that is collected by our object of reference; the mask. A mask is a tangible object. It is a presence, and has a presence of its own, which encounters one‟s own presence - face to face. You can feel possessed. Masks create strong impulses. Masks dislike agitation. They can be animated by strong and utterly simple action. 16
  • 17. If you look in the mirror (You may play what you see and not what you feel). Masks have their own rhythm. The sound of breathing is greatly amplified (and can be frightening). When you put a mask on you may experience an injection of emotion which comes over you, this can be frightening because it heightens the awareness of your own state. Don't try and impose your own rhythm or will onto the mask. Giorgio Strehler gives his impression: "The mask is a terrible, mysterious instrument; it has always given me and continues to give me a feeling of fear. With the mask we are on the threshold of a theatrical mystery whose demons reappear with static, immutable faces, which are at the very roots of theatre." Rudlin (1994:34) Within our innate role system that is influenced by environment and social conditioning, we encounter many different situations that we have to evaluate and improvise. We may get locked into certain role "types", which may hinder our normal functioning. By exploring our own roles that are inextricably linked with other peoples, we begin to develop the capacity for interpersonal relationships. The capacity for intra-psychic development is increased, helping us to understand the different roles we have in life.“ Dreams and CdA Once upon a time there were two bits of energy that lived in a cave. After some time, the two bits of energy managed to separate. One bit stayed in the cave and became the big Ogre, and the other bit of energy became a family. There was a girl, a boy, and a mum. Don't know if there was a Dad. Anyway, the family went off into the world, and then the image that separated from the energy in the cave, which was a girl, (the energy in the cave was a man) decided to investigate. So she went back into the cave and saw that the other bit of energy was turned into the big Ogre, who was very angry, indeed. She was frightened, she didn't know how to approach him, and she felt this divine magic coming from him. She went back out into the world and got on with her life. But somehow she knew that the energy was trying to come out of the cave and get her Mother. She had to find her Mother in the world and tell her that she must be careful. The Mother wouldn't understand. The energy from the cave came after her, the Mother knew about the cave, and she decided to go and take a look for herself. So she went into the cave and she wasn't clever enough, and the Ogre killed her. And the girl in the world was very sad that the Mother was killed. Also; now the other energy had got her Mother, it was going to try and get her Brother as well. So she tried to find her Brother. She couldn't find him. She couldn't find him. She said to him, you must beware. The Ogre in the cave is going to come and get you. "Our dreams are continually saying things beyond our conscious Comprehension (which is why they are so useful in the therapy of neuroses). (178) Jung (1996) 2nd.Ed. I have been toying for ages of how to get the Commedia characters to match up to the action within the dream. All of the Commedia characters are driven by emotion, and each represents a certain 17
  • 18. role-type. The eye in the first part of the dream and the cave, the first eye, where all the stuff came up about school and bullying, this generally might be classified as a kind of a very sad place. Now, one of the characters that this place might suit quite well is Pierrot/Pedrolino (zanni - bottom) ROLE Victim of cuckolding (husband whose wife is unfaithful) Central Character frustrated elegant. Dandy (man excessively concerned with smartness of dress). Melancholy dreamer. Tragic rather than comic. Simple-minded awkward servant. Distaste for vulgarity. Lonely figure. Butt of jokes. A scapegoat. Survives oppression by seeming to be simple. Seems to have no feelings. Gives vent to feelings when alone. Totally honest. Conscientious. A loner faithful to his master. Abused half-starved life. Great endurance without complaint. Anaesthetised his sensitivity by pretending to have no feelings. Always tired. A loner that loves COLUMBINA. 1.Physical 2.Emotional 3.Mental. 4.Spiritual. What we could say from the emotion experienced at this particular part of the dream, is that we take the emotion and energy of the dream and pass it through role, transcending into Pierrot we could really allow ourselves to experience it fully by making a mask of this character. This would be the mask that was individually accessed; maybe each mask would be different, on different days. The archetypes are the everlasting elements of the unconscious, but they change their shape constantly. My mask would have big droopy cheeks and funny slanting eyes, a funny upturned mouth. When we have developed this character, then we can make a list of his qualities, positive and negative. We could list the negative qualities with the mask on in first person i.e. I feel... what I am... during this state of being. And then we remove the mask and we find an opposite for each of the negative qualities that will represent a positive quality. We might re-iterate these in third person. Now the opposite of me might be different to the opposite for someone else, so this representation will be different in each case. So once we've listed qualities: positive and negative. Its time to put them together, to appreciate them as a one. Then we would put the mask back on and try to feel those two things at the same time negative and positive we would move to allow what has been and what is to come. This would create a true rounded person in our character. And this could happen for each symbol that a mask was made for. This would constitute turning symbol into role turning Commedia del arte into a healing tool. Bibliography Benkard, E. (1929) Undying Faces: A Collection of Death Masks Hogarth Press: London. 18
  • 19. Birch, A. & Malim, T. (1988) Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood Intertext: Bristol. D‟ardenne, P. and Mahtani, A. (1996) Transcultural Counselling in Action. Sage Publications: London. Eliade, M. (1962) Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism. Harvill Press: London. Eliade, M. (1964) Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy Fielding, C. H. (1877-94) Symbolism Fisher, J. (1992) The Theatre of Yesterday and Tomorrow: Commedia Del Arte on the Modern Stage Franklin, Electronic Publishers (1995) Dictionary and Thesaurus U.S.A.: Franklin. George, D. J. (1995) The History of the Commedia del Arte in Modern Hispanic Literature with Special Attention to the Work of Garcia Lorca. The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd: Wales. Goethe, J. W. (1949) Maximen und Reflexionen Gede-Kausgabe vol 9. Zurich Goethe, J. W. (1949) Wisdom and Experience Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd: London. Harris-Smith, S (1984 Masks in Modern Drama University of California Press: USA Home, G. (1991) The Reality of Schizophrenia. Faber and Faber: London. Jacobi, J. (1959) Complex; Archetype; Symbol: in the Psychology of C. G. Jung Routledge and Kegan Paul: London Jung, C. G. (1982) Psychology and the East Routledge and Kegan PaulJung, C. G. 2 nd Ed. (1990) Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. Routledge: London Jung, C. G. (1968) Analytical Psychology Its Theory and Practice: (The Tavistock Lectures). Ark Paperbacks: London Landy, R. J. (1993) Persona and performance : the meaning of role in drama, therapy, and everyday life London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Miller, A. (1995) The Drama of Being a Child London: Virago. Napier, A.D (1986) Masks, Transformation, and paradox. University of California Press: London Nicoll, A. (1963) The World of Harlequin: A Critical Study of the Commedia del Arte Cambridge University Press: London. Rycroft, C. (1977) A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis Penguin: London. Sharp, D. (1991) C. G. Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts. Inner City Books: Canada Sills, F. (1989) The Polarity Process. Element Books Ltd: Dorset. Slade, P. (1958) Dramatherapy as an Aid to Becoming a Person The Guild of Pastoral Psychology: Guild Lecture No. 103. 19
  • 20. Stevens, A. (1990) On Jung Routledge: London Stone, H. and Stone, S. (1993) Embracing Your Inner Critic. Harper and Company: San Francisco. Whitehead, A. N. (1928) Symbolism: Its meaning and effect. Cambridge University Press: London. Winkelman, S. and Stone, H. (1986) Embracing Ourselves. Devoras and Company: California. Strauss, A. L. (1959) Mirrors and Masks: The Search for Identity The Free Press of Glencoe: Illinois. Allardyce, N. (1931) Masks, Mimes, and Miracles: Studies in the Popular Theatre. Paul, N. H. & Rudlin, J. (1990) Copeau: Texts on Theatre Routledge: London and New York. Rudlin, J. (1994) Commedia del Arte: An Actors Handbook Routledge: London. Yalom, I. (1995) The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Harper and Collins. U.S.A. 20