Italian Comic Theatre is the award-winning course that offers University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) students the opportunity to practice their Italian through the performing arts. What began as an extracurricular activity, led to the production of over 27 shows since its inception, promoting the Italian play tradition. Its initial popularity prompted professors Guido Pugliese and Salvatore Bancheri to consider the theatrical activity from a didactic perspective. They reached the conclusion that the combination of comedy-performance was an effective tool for teaching language, a dramatic text, or culture.
There are three dimensions to the theatre course: literary, linguistic, and performative. As products of the imagination, the plays are analyzed as literary artifacts, operating according to the premise that a play is fully actualized only when performed. Since they communicate their message almost exclusively through dialogue, the plays are in turn used as vehicles for generating communication among the students in a like manner.
In 1992, those involved in the theatre group took on the name of Maschere Duemondi (Two-World Players), a name indicative of the dualities that were being joined: Canadian and Italian, University and community, entertainment and learning. From 1986 to 2009 Professors Pugliese and Bancheri directed the shows; since 2010, Teresa Lobalsamo has directed the production together with Jeannine Debattista.
This year, the troupe will time travel back to the Renaissance era (encountering a few modern twists along the way) to perform La Lena by Ludovico Ariosto, which is considered as one of the first and funniest plays to come out of that time.
The play will take place at the University of Toronto Mississauga, CC1080, CCIT Building on the following dates:
• Thursday, February 21 at 10:30am
• Saturday, February 23 at 7:30pm
• Sunday, February 24 at 2pm
• Saturday, March 2 at 7:30pm
• Sunday, March 3 at 2pm