The Kennedy Center

Dell’Arte International


With Joan Schirle in "Second Skin"
Conceived, written & performed by Joan Schirle
Directed & Designed by Giulio Cesare Perrone
Lighting by Michael Foster
Original Music by Tim Gray
Additional music: Joan Schirle sings "Heaven" by David Byrne, Anne Victoria Banks and Teresa Berganza sing Glück's "Che faro senza Eurydice," Erikah Badu sings "Bag Lady"
Masks by I.B. Alit, Cesar, I.B. Oka, I. W. Ruka, M. Rupa, N. Setiawan, Paule Stein, I.W. Suba

Masks are a "second skin," just like clothing, makeup, social masks, past lives, and visions of who we wish we were. Masks are rarely used in the American theater, except for visual excitement as fantasy creatures or in spectacle, but they are inherently, anciently theatrical and charged with layers of meaning. The expression of a mask is fixed, therefore it demands the performer’s artistry to give it breath, gesture, thought, and a voice. Second Skin was created from the inspiration of the masks themselves. From the stories that emerged from these masks, from their questions and their answers came the themes for the piece. Its form draws from world mask performance traditions, among them Balinese topeng, commedia dell’arte, Noh, the Hollywood glamour mask and puppetry.

In the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus, son of Apollo and Calliope, was a musician of great renown. Shortly after their wedding, his wife Eurydice died. He vowed to seek her in the regions of the dead. With his music he charmed the guards and gods of Hades, and was allowed to find Eurydice and bring her back on the condition that he not look at her until they reach the land of the sun. But just before they leave Hades, he steals a glance at her, and she is lost to the shadows. For more information about Dell’Arte International, please visit their website at

THE DELL’ARTE COMPANY has been developing original works of theatre through an ensemble process for 25 years, and has performed at international festivals in the U.S., Scandinavia, Europe, South America, and Canada. Dell’Arte’s summer Mad River Festival features the work of the company, as well as local and international guests. The company recently returned from Croatia and Hungary, where it performed Associate Artist Giulio Cesare Perrone’s adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost: The Clone of God.

JOAN SCHIRLE is co-Artistic Director and a founding member of Dell’Arte International, the North American center for the exploration, development, training, and performance of the actor-creator. She is a principal collaborator in the original works of the Dell’Arte Company and Director of Training at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, a full time professional actor-training program. She is a certified teacher of the F.M. Alexander Technique, and leads bi-annual study trips to Bali. Recent directing work includes her circus production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Picasso At The Lapin Agile at San Diego Rep; she has also directed for The Alley Theatre in Houston, Bloomsburg Ensemble, A Traveling Jewish Theatre of San Francisco, Touchstone Theatre, and Dell'Arte. Last Fall she appeared at the Yale Repertory Theatre in Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella.

GIULIO CESARE PERRONE is the recipient of a 2000 Pew National Artists Residency grant with Dell’Arte International. A native of Italy, he is a director and designer who created sets and costumes for Italy’s most important festivals, resident and touring companies. Now a U.S. resident, since 1995 Perrone has designed 28 theatre and opera productions at San Jose Rep, San Diego Rep, Festival Opera, the ACT Academy, Marin Theatre Company, Foghouse Productions, Opera San Jose, California Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks and the Magic Theatre. For Dell’Arte he has designed sets and costumes for Mad Love, La Bottega da Caffé and for Joan Schirle’s The Weave and Second Skin. He directed the Dell’Arte productions of Paradise Lost: The Clone of God, Paradise Lost: Sacred Land , La Bottega da Caffé (with Michael Fields), and Second Skin.

TIM GRAY (Music) is a composer, musician and recording engineer living and working in Northern California. He has studied music at College of the Redwoods and at Humboldt State University. From 1994 to 2000, Gray was chief engineer at Big Bang Productions, a state-of-the-art recording studio in Loleta, CA. He has worked with The Dell’Arte Company as a composer and sound designer since 1996. Some of his Dell’Arte credits include Goldoni’s La Bottega da Caffé, Schirle’s Shotgun Wedding and Journey of the Ten Moons; Robinson Cru-So, Mad Love and Paradise Lost: The Clone of God.

MICHAEL FOSTER (Lighting Design) is Dell’Arte’s resident Lighting Designer and has designed over 25 productions for the Company. He won a Drama-Logue award for design for The Road Not Taken. He has also toured with Caravan Stage Company of British Columbia and designed for Eureka Theatre of San Francisco, Arcata’s Pacific Arts Center, Brenda Wong Aoki, Mendocino Art Center, and many others. He also designed the sets for Dell’Arte touring productions The House of Bernarda Alba and Journey of the Ten Moons.

THE DELL’ARTE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF PHYSICAL THEATRE is the only institution in the United States offering a full-time professional training program in physical theatre. The program is led by master teachers in the field of physical theatre and is designed for those who have made a commitment to acting as their profession. Over the past 25 years, we have attracted an international student body and trained performers from throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. In addition, the school offers summer workshops, the International Institute of Physical Theatre, and the Dell’Arte Abroad Program in Bali in 2003.
  Dell’Arte International