Claudia Contin Arlecchino (Italy) is an Italian author, actress, director and figurative artist known all over the world as the first woman to interpret the male character of Arlecchino since 1987. She has already published several theatrical texts, essays and theatre anthropology researches, translated into various languages. From 1990 to 2016 she was co-founder and didactic director of the Scuola Sperimentale dell’Attore. From 1997 to 2018 she was artistic director of the annual international festival L’Arlecchino Errante. In 2007 she founded the Porto Arlecchino art and craft workshop, in collaboration with the graphic designer, photographer and musician Luca Fantinutti. Since 2015 all Claudia Contin Arlecchino’s performances and educational projects of have been produced and distributed by the Ortoteatro cooperative in Pordenone.
In this article the Italian performer Claudia Contin Arlecchino reflects on her personal and artistic experience with the masque of Arlecchino (Harlequin) acquired in 35 years of practice, teaching and research. Working on different “archetypes” of Commedia dell’Arte (Zanni, Pantalone, Balanzone, Arlecchino, Brighella, Lovers, Captains, Servants, Courtesans, Pulcinella), and interrogating fundamental aspects of her own techniques and training, the author offers an insight into several components of the performer’s craft, such as the body, gymnastics, acrobatics, dance, impulses, rhythm, and exercises. What is at stake is the reconstruction of an extra-daily behaviour, which allows to give new life to an acting technique based on tradition.