Die barocke Maskenbühne ("The Baroque Theater of Masks")

The new and curious theatrical Dance School
"Die barocke Maskenbühne" is the title of a piece which was developed after the ideas of the 1716 printed compendium "The new and curious theatrical Dance School" by dance master Gregorio Lambranzi, then living in Germany.

Lambranzi' work concerns itself with the mixture of different theatrical styles of his time, which are mainly defined by the fact that there still had never been a separation between music, dance and acting.

Basing himself on the music and dances of his time, as they were treated on the one hand by the people, and on the other by the court, he designed through 100 sketches a catalog of scenes, which portrays both the regular, professional and theatrical types of his times, as well as the court dancers and grotesque characters in scenic and dance sequences.

The Theater der Klaenge revived Lambranzi's dance- and -comedians troup, inspired by the sketches and their inherent baroque aesthetic, in order to show a genre picture of late baroque dance-and-music theater through a combination of baroque court dances, folk dances, dance parodies, play of masks and the stage character of Lambranzi (as well as his wife).

This theater is defined by a half-open touring company type of construction, candle lighting, opulent costumes, Commedia dell'Arte characters, a theater-and-dance music of ist own, and a type of staging in which body language renders the spoken word to a large extent obsolete.

Die barocke Maskenbuehne, created in collective collaboration of the members of the Theater der Klaenge and written by Joerg Lensing, is not a reconstruction of historical theater, but much more an involvement with another, not literary and therefore pre-middle-class form of theater.

In the new music composition, new choreography of the dances, and new staging of the entire material, the "Baroque Theater of Masks" deals with a contemporary theater piece, which proves the possibility of "another" type of theater based on a buried tradition, through the masks of the Baroque, as an artistic challenge and test till today.

Die barocke Maskenbuehne has for this reason experienced between 1989 and the present 5 different versions, with the masks, costumes and scenic ideas of Gregorio Lambranzi, as it was the case in the original Commedia dell'Arte.
Each time a new ensemble was put together for a new version, it improvised with the previously found materials, characters, lazzos and dances (and sketches), so that out of each improvisation phase a new version could come into being based on the same aesthetic point of reference.

Work with the Commedia dell'Arte masks is since 1988 an integral part of Theater der Klaenge and constitutes a basis for examination and training of new admissions.

The 5 versions, in the same way as street theater variantes for the "Festival at Avignon", lived in 1993 altogether 55 performances in 7 different places and have been seen by approximately 10.000 spectators.

The work with masks led in 1994 to the creation of a contemporary piece under the title "Speech is of Silver..."


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