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Northwestern University Library
Commedia dell'Arte: The Masks of Antonio Fava

Biography of Antonio Fava

Antonio Fava
Actor, Author, Director, Teacher, Musician (Flute), Composer and Mask Maker.

Antonio Fava was born in Scandale, KR, at 5:45 a.m. one spring day in 1949. He lives in Reggio Emilia where he wakes up every day at the same time as his birth.

He originally studied music with Gianfranco Masini and became a flautist and quasi-composer. Today he writes and sings comic songs for his original comedies. He is a comical singer or perhaps it's better to say he sings comedy songs? In any case, he began as a singer in 1961 in Reggio Emilia where he sang, with a voice still young and pure, the second act of Puccini's La Boheme. It was then and there with the other children singing "Parpignol Parpignol" behind Pavarotti (singing the part of Rodolfo) that Fava made his debut. Then, by chance, by destiny, or perhaps by choice, he went into the theatre, leaving behind all his beautiful musical training.

Fava then discovered his family's roots in the theatre. His father, Tommaso, had been a very popular Pulcinella in his town and his mother MariĆ¹ made velvet masks. Unfortunately at the time of this important discovery Fava's father was no longer living. Fava gathered all the information that he could from family and relations about the work of his father. This precious research will one day be organized, edited, and perhaps published in a book. In the meanwhile, Fava's work was irresistibly directed towards comedy.

Leaving his early associations behind, Fava first worked with Dario Fo in Mlian. He then worked with Jacques LeCoq in Paris. In France, he collaborated with Jacques Chabrol to create beautiful works of theatre. While there he also shook the hands of two French Presidents (Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chiraq) for exquisitely cultural reasons. In Italy he shook the hand of Fellini because Fellini is the only person in the world that he would have asked for a job. In fact, Fava asked Fellini for a job. He didn't get it.

Fava is a Comicologist and Comiturge (his own terms). He also composes music for his theatre work. He speaks (maybe too much?) Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, as well as Reggiano and Crotonese. He has directed shows and performed his Commedia dell'Arte all over the world. He has also collaborated and taught at conservatories and universities internationally.

In Reggio Emilia Italy, he founded and directs the International School of the Comic Actor where each year 70 to 80 young professional actors from all over the world come to study. He also teaches mask making. For Fava, making masks is like enjoying a great meal - a wonderful and satisfying experience. At the International School of the Comic Actor all languages and cultures are welcome.

Dina Buccino (Fava's wife) is his manager. His daughter Marcella (1988) is deeply involved in Commedia and his son Ferrucio (1994) is already a comic.

"Try to quit smoking...done? Bravo! Now: try to quit laughing!" - A. Fava