Commedia in a New World Context

The comedy and poetry of survival

Authored by: Katrien van Beurden

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415745062
eBook ISBN: 9781315750842
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613374


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As a young girl on my way to high school one day, between the crazy, loud, staccato noises of morning traffic jams I heard a rasping sound from a saxophone. I turned and saw a homeless man playing the sax lying on a bench in the park. From that moment we started daily conversations about our struggles and joys in life. One morning, on a very cold winter day, he paused in the middle of a sentence and started looking around, searching for something. “Where is it?” he asked. I had no idea what he meant. Then he saw his white plastic cup of beer on the ground, and shouted happily “There it is!” He quickly picked it up, put it to his ear like a phone and said: “Hello?” and went silent for a few moments. He turned to me and said softly “Excuse me, please, it’s God calling.” He got back on his “phone” and continued: “So great to hear from you! … What? … You’ve got the flu? … You would like me to take over your job for this week?” Hearing the great news that he would become the leader of the world for a week made him jump up. On his bare feet, he started pacing back and forth with large steps. In a deep voice he asked God: “So, you want me to call the United Nations and end all wars, tell the rich to give money to the poor and create more beer? Consider it done. Go to bed and take a rest. I’ll do the job down here!” He hung up, turned to me and said: “Sorry, duty calls” and proudly walked off.

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