Human Comedy; Human Drama

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
22 March 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W494 Acting and Physical Theatre

Module description

This core module begins with an introduction to the history of commedia dell’arte. Students will be introduced to the techniques of commedia dell’arte performance and will explore commedia characters within the Italian and French traditions. Students will be introduced to contemporary adaptations of commedia dell’ arte and will develop performances based on commedia improvisation.

The work on Melodrama and Naturalism starts big, taking advantage of developmental work begun in other modules.

The work of the module develops the actors’ relationship to the performance space. Students explore changing the space depending on the genre using the timing and rhythm of melodrama or the psychological truth of naturalism. The students will explore improvising in both styles. Students will examine the diagonal trajectories between, for example, the individual and the family or the individual and society. They will find a body and a breath to express big emotional scales of acting that go beyond and above psychological realism.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To examine and develop analysis and performance techniques required for commedia dell’ arte, naturalism and/ or melodrama

  • To extend students’ ability to produce scales of acting that transcend psychological realism

  • To develop the ability to create melodramatic performance work eg monologues and scene work

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Create and sustain improvisation within the disciplines of commedia dell' arte, naturalism and/or melodrama

  2. Demonstrate confidence in ensemble and/or monologue work

  3. Perform using the techniques of commedia dell' arte, naturalism and/or melodrama

  4. Successfully interpret text into a commedia dell' arte, naturalism and/or melodrama performance

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Practical classes.
  • Independent study.
  • Seminar.
  • Screenings.
  • Rehearsal.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Simon Hunt, email: huntsj@essex.ac.uk.
Simon Hunt and staff
01702 32 8319



External examiner

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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