Carlo Mazzone-Clementi was an Italian theatre artist and mime, born in 1920 and a contemporary of Jaques Lecoq, Dario Fo, Amleto Sartori, and Eric Bentley, who emigrated to the United States in 1958. After an array of contracts performing in New York and teaching at Carnegie-Mellon University, University of California-Berkley, and the American Conservatory Theatre, Carlo eventually settled in northern California, where he and his wife Jane Hill purchased an abandoned Oddfellows Hall and began to train students in his expertise: commedia dell’arte. He was, by all accounts, a perfect bastard and a mad genius.
Today, Carlo and Jane’s school–Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California–continues the work he began over forty years ago, exploring the metaphor and technique of mask performance and applying the improvisational spirit of commedia dell’arte. Performers of widely different modalities and levels of experience train together in acrobatics, vaudeville, clown, melodrama, a study of the natural world, and commedia to create original, dynamic works of theatre in ensemble–discovering who they are as unique theatre artists. From San Francisco to Hoboken, to Puerto Rico, England, Iran, Zimbabwe, India, and beyond, the alumni of Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre share a connection: one of the most exciting and peculiar theatre schools in operation today, tucked away in a rural corner of the United States.