Drama’s Mime and Commedia Show Amazes Audiences


Avril Brown

The Male Lover (Kyle Peng) gets excited as he proposes to the Female Lover (Skye Baoung) while his servant Punchanella (Sri Sankar) lies dead in the window and Columbina (Kat Tiana) warns the lovers that the house is on fire.

The annual Mime and Commedia Show captivated audiences the night of October 7th. The show was held in Valhalla Theater and featured pantomimes by Drama 1 students and improvised Commedia Dell’Arte scenes from Drama 2 students, all of which students wrote themselves.

The night started with pantomime “A Walk Through The Woods,” where campers encounter a bear in the wilderness and knock it out in one blow. 

This was followed by the pre-recorded pantomime “Cooking Gone A Blaze,” in which a home chef sets his house on fire and is burned alive as the firemen arrived too late. The scene’s tragic plot was given a comedic twist through the actors’ use of sound effects and exaggerated movements. 

The pantomime section continued with “The 3 Disciples,” the hero’s journey of a young martial arts disciple who trains to avenge his master. The constant action and plot twists caused audiences to roar with laughter, keeping their audiences wildly entertained. And finally, the pantomimes closed off with “The Unexpected Guest,” where a homeowner and policewoman confront a suspicious intruder.  

“Pantomime made me visualize the scene more and think about my surroundings,” Wayne Agbanlog (12) reflects, “It’s that challenge of, ‘How can we make this realistic or possibly exaggerate it more to show that this is what we’re doing?’”.

The show’s second half featured Commedia Dell’Arte performances improvised by Drama 2 students. Commedia Dell’Arte, Italian improvisation from the 16th-18th century, is performed in character masks and has created stock characters that inspire many characters in modern-day media.

The first improv performance of this segment was “The One Piece is Real” in which the trickster Brighella enlisted the help of the jokester Arlecchino to deceive the gullible Capitano with a quest for the elusive “one-piece”. The performance featured a lot of slapstick comedy, including tricks such as cartwheels and a comedic chase scene. 

“Improv is pretty awesome because I didn’t know anything at all,” said Drama 2 student Eshan Prakash (12) who played Brighella. “You just get to make stuff up and people assume that you know what you’re doing, but you don’t and people laugh anyways.”

The next performance was “The Dinner Party”, a satirical piece where the naive male and female lovers confess their love to each other as the party burns down around them, poking fun at the lovers’ self-centerdness. And the final Commedia performance was “The Letter”, where gullible servant Pedrolino delivers a love letter to the wrong person, and chaos ensues. 

“Comedy is hard and some things went over very well while some things fell a little bit flat,” Mr.Ballin notes, “And so there were a lot of really good things about it. With improvisation, it can be hit and miss but I think the show was a decent length and it was a lot of fun.”

“I enjoyed it a lot,” audience member Gloria Kwon (12) shares after the show, “ It was amazing seeing fellow students performing and giving their heart out on stage. And they were so funny! My favorite scene is when the guy dies in the window in the fire and when the girl gets shoved off the seat for the guy”. 

Though the drama department faced challenges with coordinating sound cues and many were performing on stage for the first time, the actors put themselves out there and embodied their characters, making for a relaxed atmosphere and some great comedic moments that filled the entire theater with laughter.