Commedia Del'Arte.

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Commedia del'arte emerged in Tuscany around 1550, although its origins are difficult to trace. It had its roots in the masked comedies of ancient Rome. The form combined mime, improvised and scripted dialogue (often coarse), with tumbling and acrobatics. Commedia del'arte performances and techniques spread throughout Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, with offshoots in France, Spain and England. A del'arte company consisted of 10 or 12 strolling players. Each was assigned a stock part and had …

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…To talk about what it would or would do in a given situation. To do this the actor must be able to create the character by themselves without the aid of a playwright/director. The style and formula of Commedia is now surviving well into the late 20th century and beyond continuing the tradition as an artistic institution where gifted actors create some of the most memorable, historic physical characters the theatre will ever see.