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Commedia dell'arte Troupe on a Wagon in a Town Square, by Jan Miel, 1640 Commedia dell'arte (Italian pronunciation: [komˈmɛːdja delˈlarte], comedy of the profession) was an early form of professional theatre, originating from Italy, that was popular in Europe from the 16th through the 18th century.Commedia dell'arte also is known as commedia alla maschera, commedia improvviso, and commedia dell'arte all'improvviso.
Commedia is a form of theatre characterized by masked "types" which began in Italy in the 16th century and was responsible for the advent of actresses (Isabella Andreini) and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios. A commedia, such as The Tooth Puller, is both scripted and improvised. Characters' entrances and exits are scripted. A special characteristic of commedia dell'arte are the lazzi.
A lazzo is a joke or "something foolish" or "witty", usually well known to the performers and to some extent a 'scripted' routine. Another characteristic of commedia dell'arte is pantomime, which is mostly used by the character Arlecchino (Harlequin). The characters of the commedia usually represent fixed social types and stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado.
The main categories of these characters include servants, old men, lovers, and captains. The characters are exaggerated "real characters", such as a know-it-all doctor called Il Dottore, a greedy old man called Pantalone, or a perfect relationship like the Innamorati. Many troupes were formed to perform commedia dell'arte, including I Gelosi (which had actors such as Isabella Andreini, and her husband Francesco Andreini), Confidenti Troupe, Desioi Troupe, and Fedeli Troupe.
Commedia dell'arte was often performed outside on platforms or in popular areas such as a piazza. The form of theatre originated in Italy, but travelled throughout Europe and even to Moscow. The commedia genesis may be related to carnival in Venice, where by 1570 the author/actor Andrea Calmo had created the character Il Magnifico, the precursor to the vecchio (old man) Pantalone. In the Flaminio Scala scenario for example, Il Magnifico persists and is interchangeable with Pantalone, into the seventeenth century.
While Calmo's characters (which also included the Spanish Capitano and a dottore type) were not masked, it is uncertain at what point the characters donned the mask. However, the connection to carnival (the period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday) would suggest that masking was a convention of carnival and was applied at some point. The tradition in Northern Italy is centered in Mantua, Florence, and Venice, where the major companies came under the aegis of the various dukes.
Concomitantly, a Neapolitan tradition emerged in the south and featured the prominent stage figure Pulcinella. Pulcinella has been long associated with Naples, and derived into various types elsewhere—the most famous as the puppet character Punch (of the eponymous Punch and Judy shows) in England. History Claude Gillot (1673–1722), Four Commedia dell'arte Figures: Three Gentlemen and Pierrot, c.
1715 Although commedia dell'arte flourished in Italy during the Mannerist period, there has been a long-standing tradition of trying to establish historical antecedents in antiquity. While we can detect formal similarities between the commedia dell'arte and earlier theatrical traditions, there is no way to establish certainty of origin. Some date the origins to the period of the Roman Republic (Plautine types) or the Empire (Atellan Farces).
The Atellan Farces of the Roman Empire featured crude "types" wearing masks with grossly exaggerated features and an improvised plot. Some historians argue that Atellan stock characters, Pappus, Maccus+Buccus, and Manducus, are the primitive versions of the Commedia characters Pantalone, Pulcinella, and il Capitano. More recent accounts establish links to the medieval jongleurs, and prototypes from medieval moralities, such as Hellequin (as the source of Harlequin, for example).
 Italian Pulcinella The first recorded commedia dell'arte performances came from Rome as early as 1551.Commedia dell'arte was performed outdoors in temporary venues by professional actors who were costumed and masked, as opposed to commedia erudita, which were written comedies, presented indoors by untrained and unmasked actors. This view may be somewhat romanticized since records describe the Gelosi performing Tasso's Aminta, for example, and much was done at court rather than in the street.
By the mid-16th century, specific troupes of commedia performers began to coalesce, and by 1568 the Gelosi became a distinct company. In keeping with the tradition of the Italian Academies, I Gelosi adapted as their impress (or coat of arms) the two-faced Roman god Janus. Janus symbolized both the comings and goings of this traveling troupe, and the dual nature of the actor who impersonates the "other.
" The Gelosi performed in Northern Italy and France where they received protection and patronage from the King of France. Despite fluctuations the Gelosi maintained stability for performances with the "usual ten": "two vecchi (old men), four innamorati (two male and two female lovers), two zanni, a captain and a servetta (serving maid)". It should be noted that commedia often performed inside in court theatres or halls, and also as some fixed theatres such as Teatro Baldrucca in Florence.
Flaminio Scala, who had been a minor performer in the Gelosi published the scenarios of the commedia dell'arte around the start of the 17th century, really in an effort to legitimize the form—and ensure its legacy. These scenari are highly structured and built around the symmetry of the various types in duet: two zanni, vecchi, inamorate and inamorati, etc. In commedia dell'arte, female roles were played by women, documented as early as the 1560s.
In the 1570s, English theatre critics generally denigrated the troupes with their female actors (some decades later, Ben Jonson referred to one female performer of the commedia as a "tumbling whore"). By the end of the 1570s, Italian prelates attempted to ban female performers; however, by the end of the 16th century, actresses were standard on the Italian stage. The Italian scholar Ferdinando Taviani has collated a number of church documents opposing the advent of the actress as a kind of courtesan, whose scanty attire and promiscuous lifestyle corrupted young men, or at least infused them with carnal desires.
Taviani's term negativa poetica describes this and other practices offensive to the church, while giving us an idea of the phenomenon of the commedia dell'arte performance. By the early 17th century, the zanni comedies were moving from pure improvisational street performances to specified and clearly delineated acts and characters. Three books written during the 17th century—Cecchini's Fruti della moderne commedia (1628), Niccolò Barbieri's La supplica (1634) and Perrucci's Dell'arte rapresentativa (1699—"made firm recommendations concerning performing practice.
" Katritzky argues, that as a result, commedia was reduced to formulaic and stylized acting; as far as possible from the purity of the improvisational genesis a century earlier. In France, during the reign of Louis XIV, the Comédie-Italienne created a repertoire and delineated new masks and characters, while deleting some of the Italian precursors, such as Pantalone. French playwrights, particularly Molière, gleaned from the plots and masks in creating an indigenous treatment.
Indeed, Molière shared the stage with the Comédie-Italienne at Petit-Bourbon, and some of his forms, e.g. the tirade, are derivative from the commedia (tirata). Commedia dell'arte moved outside the city limits to the théâtre de la foire, or fair theatres, in the early 17th century as it evolved toward a more pantomimed style. With the dispatch of the Italian comedians from France in 1697, the form transmogrified in the 18th century as genres such as comédie larmoyante gained in attraction in France, particularly through the plays of Marivaux.
Marivaux softened the commedia considerably by bringing in true emotion to the stage. Harlequin achieved more prominence during this period. It is possible that this kind of improvised acting was passed down the Italian generations until the 17th century, when it was revived as a professional theatrical technique. However, as currently used the term commedia dell'arte was coined in the mid-18th century.
 Curiously, commedia dell'arte was equally if not more popular in France, where it continued its popularity throughout the 17th century (until 1697), and it was in France that commedia developed its established repertoire. Commedia evolved into various configurations across Europe, and each country acculturated the form to its liking. For example, pantomime, which flourished in the 18th century, owes its genesis to the character types of the commedia, particularly Harlequin.
The Punch and Judy puppet shows, popular to this day in England, owe their basis to the Pulcinella mask that emerged in Neapolitan versions of the form. In Italy, commedia masks and plots found their way into the opera buffa, and the plots of Rossini, Verdi, and Puccini. During the Napoleonic occupation of Italy, instigators of reform and critics of French Imperial rule (such as Giacomo Casanova) used the carnival masks to hide their identities while fueling political agendas, challenging social rule and hurling blatant insults and criticisms at the regime.
In 1797, in order to destroy the impromptu style of carnival as a partisan platform, Napoleon outlawed the commedia dell'arte. It was not reborn in Venice until 1979. Companies Commedia dell'arte troupe I Gelosi in a late 16th-century Flemish painting Compagnie, or companies, were troupes of actors, each of whom had a specific function or role. Actors were versed in a plethora of skills, with many having joined troupes without a theatre background.
Some were doctors, other priests, other soldiers, enticed by the excitement and prevelence of theatre in Italian society. Actors were known to switch from troupe to troupe "on loan," and companies would often collaborate if unified by a single patron or performing in the same general location. Members would also splinter off to form their own troupes, such was the case with the Ganassa and the Gelosi.
These compagnie traveled throughout Europe from the early period, beginning with the Soldati, then, the Ganassa, who traveled to Spain, and were famous for playing the guitar and singing—never to be heard from again—and the famous troupes of the Golden Age (1580–1605): Gelosi, Confidenti, Accessi. These names which signified daring and enterprise were appropriated from the names of the academies—in a sense, to lend legitimacy.
However, each troupe had its impresse (like a coat of arms) which symbolized its nature. The Gelosi, for example, used the two-headed face of the Roman god Janus, to signify its comings and goings and relationship to the season of carnival, which took place in January. Janus also signified the duality of the actor, who is playing a character or mask, while still remaining oneself. Magistrates and clergy were not always receptive to the traveling compagnie (companies), particularly during periods of plague, and because of their itinerant nature.
Actors, both male and female, were known to strip nearly naked, and storylines typically descended into crude situations with overt sexuality, considered to teach nothing but "lewdness and adultery...of both sexes" by the French Parliament. The term vagabondi was used in reference to the comici, and remains a derogatory term to this day (vagabond). This was in reference to the nomadic nature of the troupes, often instigated by persecution from the Church, civil authorities, and rival theatre organisations that forced the companies to move from place to place.
A troupe often consisted of ten performers of familiar masked and unmasked types, and included women. The companies would employ carpenters, props masters, servants, nurses, and prompters, all of whom would travel with the company. They would travel in large carts laden with supplies necessary for their nomadic style of performance, enabling them to move from place to place without having to worry about the difficulties of relocation.
This nomadic nature, though influenced by persecution, was also largely due in part to the troupes requiring new (and paying) audiences. They would take advantage of public fairs and celebrations, most often in wealthier towns were financial success was more probable. Companies would also find themselves summoned by high ranking officials, who would offer patronage in return for performing in their land for a certain amount of time.
Companies in fact preferred to not stay in any one place too long, mostly out of a fear of the act becoming "stale." They would move on to the next location while their popularity was still active, ensuring the towns and people were sad to see them leave, and would be more likely to either invite them back or pay to watch performances again should the troupe ever return. Prices were dependent on the troupe's decision, which could vary depending on the wealth of the location, the length of stay, and the regulations governments had in place for dramatic performances.
List of known commedia troupes  Compagnia dei Fedeli: active 1601–52, with Giambattista Andreini Compagnia degli Accesi: active 1590–1628 Compagnia degli Uniti: active 1578–1640 Compagnia dei Confidenti: active 1574–99; reformed under Flaminio Scala, operated again 1611–39 I Dedosi: active 1581–99 I Gelosi: active 1568–1604 Zan Ganassa: active 1568–1610 Characters Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), Commedia dell'arte player of Pierrot, ca.
1718–19, identified as "Gilles" Generally, the actors playing were diverse in background in terms of class and religion, and performed anywhere they could. Castagno posits that the aesthetic of exaggeration, distortion, anti-humanism (as in the masked types), and excessive borrowing as opposed to originality was typical of all the arts in the late Italian Renaissance. Theatre historian Martin Green points to the extravagance of emotion during the period of commedia's emergence as the reason for representational moods, or characters, that define the art.
In commedia each character embodies a mood: mockery, sadness, gaiety, confusion, and so forth. According to 18th-century London theatre critic Baretti, commedia dell'arte incorporates specific roles and characters that were "originally intended as a kind of characteristic representative of some particular Italian district or town." The character's persona included the specific dialect of the region or town represented.
Characters would often be passed down from generation to generation, and characters married onstage were often married in real life as well, seen most famously with Francesco and Isabella Andreini. This was believed to make performances more natural, as well as strengthening the bonds within the troupe, who emphasized complete unity between every member. Additionally, each character has a singular costume and mask that is representative of the character's role.
 Commedia dell'arte has four stock character groups: the servants or Zanni, these are characters such as Arlecchino, Brighella, and Pedrolino; the old men or vecchi, characters such as Pantalone and il Dottore; the lovers or innamorati who would have names such as Flavio and Isabella; and the captains or Capitani who can also be La Signora if a female. Male servants and male masters (but not male amorosi) are masked and those characters themselves are often referred to as "masks" (in Italian: maschere), which, according to John Rudlin, cannot be separated from the character.
In other words, the characteristics of the character and the characteristics of the mask are the same. In time however the word maschere came to refer to all of the characters of the commedia dell'arte whether masked or not. Female characters (including female servants) are most often not masked (female amorose are never masked). Female characters in the masters group are rare. Female servants wore bonnets.
Their character was played with a malicious wit or gossipy gaiety. The amorosi are often children of a male character in the masters group, but not of any female character in the masters group, which may represent younger women who have e.g. married an old man, or a high class courtesan. Female characters in the masters group, while younger than their male counterparts, are nevertheless older than the amorosi.
The servants or the clowns are referred to as the zanni and include characters such as Arlecchino (also known as Harlequin), Brighella, Scapino and Pedrolino. Some of the better known commedia dell'arte characters are Pierrot and Pierrette, Pantalone, Il Dottore, Brighella, Il Capitano, Colombina, the innamorati, Pedrolino, Pulcinella, Sandrone, Scaramuccia (also known as Scaramouche), La Signora, and Tartaglia.
Short list of characters Character(s) Masks Status Costume Arlecchino Yes Servant (sometimes to two masters) Colorful tight fitting jacket and trousers Il Dottore Yes Head of the household Black scholarly robe Il Capitano Yes Indigenous loner Military uniform Innamorati No High class hopeless lovers Nicely dressed on par with the time Pantalone Yes Older wealthy man Dark capes and red trousers Colombina Yes Perky maid / servant Can be colorful on par with Arlecchino or black and white Pierrot No Sad clown White, flowy costume with large buttons In the 17th century as commedia became popular in France, the characters of Pierrot, Columbine and Harlequin were refined and became essentially Parisian, according to Green.
 Costumes Main article: Costumes in commedia dell'arte Each character in Commedia dell'arte has a distinct costume that helps the audience understand who the character is. Arlecchino originally wore a tight fitting long jacket with matching trousers that both had numerous odd shaped patches, usually green, yellow, red, and brown. Usually, there was a bat and a wallet that would hang from his belt.
 His hat, which was a soft cap, was modeled after Charles IX or after Henri II, and almost always had a tail of a rabbit, hare or a fox with the occasional tuft of feathers. During the 17th century, the patches turned into blue, red, and green triangles arranged in a symmetrical pattern. The 18th century is when the iconic Arlecchino look with the diamond shaped lozenges took shape.
The jacket became shorter and his hat changed from a soft cap to a double pointed hat. Il Dottore's costume was a play on the academic dress of the Bolognese scholars. Il Dottore is almost always clothed entirely in black. He wore a long black gown or jacket that went below the knees. Over the gown, he would have a long black robe that went down to his heels, and he would have on black shoes, stockings, and breeches.
 In 1653, his costume was changed by Augustin Lolli who was a very popular Il Dottore actor. He added an enormous black hat, changed the robe to a jacket cut similarly to Louis XIV, and added a flat ruff to the neck. Il Capitano's costume is similar to Il Dottore's in the fact that it is also a satire on military wear of the time. This costume would therefore change depending on where the Capitano character is from, and the period the Capitano is from.
 Pantalone has one of the most iconic costumes of Commedia dell'arte. Typically, he would wear a tightly fitting jacket with a matching pair of trousers. He usually pairs these two with a big black coat called a zimarra. Women, who usually played servants or lovers, wore less stylized costumes than the men in commedia. The lovers, Innamorati, would wear what was considered to be the fashion of the time period.
They would only wear plain half-masks with no character distinction or street makeup. Subjects Conventional plot lines were written on themes of sex, jealousy, love and old age. Many of the basic plot elements can be traced back to the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence, some of which were themselves translations of lost Greek comedies of the 4th century BC. However, it is more probable that the comici used contemporary novella, or, traditional sources as well, and drew from current events and local news of the day.
Not all scenari were comic, there were some mixed forms and even tragedies. Shakespeare's The Tempest is drawn from a popular scenario in the Scala collection, his Polonius (Hamlet) is drawn from Pantalone, and his clowns bear homage to the zanni. Comici performed written comedies at court. Song and dance were widely used, and a number of innamorati were skilled madrigalists, a song form that uses chromatics and close harmonies.
Audiences came to see the performers, with plot lines becoming secondary to the performance. Among the great innamorate, Isabella Andreini was perhaps the most widely known, and a medallion dedicated to her reads "eternal fame". Tristano Martinelli achieved international fame as the first of the great Arlecchinos, and was honored by the Medici and the Queen of France. Performers made use of well-rehearsed jokes and stock physical gags, known as lazzi and concetti, as well as on-the-spot improvised and interpolated episodes and routines, called burle (singular burla, Italian for joke), usually involving a practical joke.
Since the productions were improvised, dialogue and action could easily be changed to satirize local scandals, current events, or regional tastes, while still using old jokes and punchlines. Characters were identified by costumes, masks, and props, such as a type of baton known as a slapstick. These characters included the forebears of the modern clown, namely Harlequin (arlecchino) and the zanni.
Harlequin, in particular, was allowed to comment on current events in his entertainment. The classic, traditional plot is that the innamorati are in love and wish to be married, but one elder (vecchio) or several elders (vecchi) are preventing this from happening, leading the lovers to ask one or more zanni (eccentric servants) for help. Typically the story ends happily, with the marriage of the innamorati and forgiveness for any wrongdoings.
There are countless variations on this story, as well as many that diverge wholly from the structure, such as a well-known story about Arlecchino becoming mysteriously pregnant, or the Punch and Judy scenario. While generally personally unscripted, the performances often were based on scenarios that gave some semblance of plot to the largely improvised format. The Flaminio Scala scenarios, published in the early 17th century, are the most widely known collection and representative of its most esteemed compagnia, I Gelosi.
Influence in visual art Jean-Antoine Watteau, Italian Comedians, 1720 The iconography of the commedia dell'arte represents an entire field of study that has been examined by commedia scholars such as Erenstein, Castagno, Katritzky, Molinari, and others. In the early period, representative works by painters at Fontainebleau were notable for their erotic depictions of the thinly veiled innamorata, or the bare-breasted courtesan/actress.
The Flemish influence is widely documented as commedia figures entered the world of the vanitas genre, depicting the dangers of lust, drinking, and the hedonistic lifestyle. Castagno describes the Flemish pittore vago (wandering painters) who assimilated themselves within Italian workshops and even assumed Italian surnames: One of the most influential painters, Lodewyk Toeput, for example, became Ludovico Pozzoserrato and was a celebrated painter in the Veneto region of Italy.
The pittore vago can be attributed with establishing commedia dell'arte as a genre of painting that would persist for centuries. While the iconography gives evidence of the performance style (see Fossard collection), it is important to note that many of the images and engravings were not depictions from real life, but concocted in the studio. The Callot etchings of the Balli di Sfessania (1611) are most widely considered capricci rather than actual depictions of a commedia dance form, or typical masks.
While these are often reproduced in large formats, it is important to note that the actual prints measured about 2×3 inches. In the 18th century, Watteau's painting of commedia figures intermingling with the aristocracy were often set in sumptuous garden or pastoral settings and were representative of that genre. Picasso's painting Three Musicians painted in 1921 is a colorful representation of commedia-inspired characters.
 Picasso also designed the original costumes for Stravinsky's Pulcinella (1920), a ballet depicting commedia characters and situations. Commedia iconography is evident in porcelain figurines many selling for thousands of dollars at auction. Influence in performance art Peeter van Bredael, Commedia dell'arte Scene in an Italian Landscape The expressive theatre influenced Molière's comedy and subsequently ballet d'action, thus lending a fresh range of expression and choreographic means.
An example of a commedia dell'arte character in literature is the Pied Piper of Hamelin who is dressed as Harlequin. Music and dance were central to commedia dell'arte performance. Brighella was often depicted with a guitar, and many images of the commedia feature singing innamorati or dancing figures. In fact, it was considered part of the innamorati function to be able to sing and have the popular repertoire under their belt.
Accounts of the early commedia, as far back as Calmo in the 1570s and the buffoni of Venice, note the ability of comici to sing madrigali precisely and beautifully. The danzatrice probably accompanied the troupes, and may have been in addition to the general cast of characters. For examples of strange instruments of various grotesque formations see articles by Tom Heck, who has documented this area.
The works of a number of playwrights have featured characters influenced by the commedia dell'arte and sometimes directly drawn from it. Prominent examples include The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Les Fourberies de Scapin by Molière, Servant of Two Masters (1743) by Carlo Goldoni, the Figaro plays of Pierre Beaumarchais, and especially Love for Three Oranges, Turandot and other fiabe by Carlo Gozzi.
Influences appear in the lodgers in Steven Berkoff's adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Through their association with spoken theatre and playwrights commedia figures have provided opera with many of its stock characters. Mozart's Don Giovanni sets a puppet show story and comic servants like Leporello and Figaro have commedia precedents. Soubrette characters like Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Despina in Così fan tutte recall Columbina and related characters.
The comic operas of Gaetano Donizetti, such as Elisir d'amore, draw readily upon commedia stock types. Leoncavallo's tragic melodrama Pagliacci depicts a commedia dell'arte company in which the performers find their life situations reflecting events they depict on stage. Commedia characters also figure in Richard Strauss's opera Ariadne auf Naxos. Stock characters and situations also appear in ballet.
Igor Stravinsky's Petrushka and Pulcinella allude directly to the tradition. Women Women were allowed to be on stage even though at the time it would not have been usual. It was also suggested that women parts were played by prostitutes and that "Men, women, and children together, wandering gypsylike from country fair to city carnival, setting up their temporary stages wherever they might hope for a few pennies from the crowd, free for half an hour from the interference of civil or ecclesiastical officers.
They were compelled to lurk in corners partly because they sold quack medicines of doubtful composition...." Many believe that female roles in commedia dell'arte were underdeveloped since this was the first form of theatre to allow women on stage. Also, women were taking on other roles later on, not necessarily tied to stage performance. "When they (the actors) enter a city, a drum immediately lets everyone know their arrival; the woman dressed as a man goes ahead, sword in hand, to make the announcement and invite the populace to a comedy or a tragedy in a palace or at the Pilgrim Inn.
.." When looking at the way they lived and travelled, women had the same living style and living space as men did, which is really special in the era in which Commedia dell' Arte thrived. These companies were very progressive compared to the time period. Still, they were constantly accused and in scandal all the time. During this time period women were not very educated and most could not read or write.
However women roles were usually the smartest in scenes. On an intelligence spectrum of the stock characters,form low to high, it may look like this: "Pedrolino, Pantalone, Capitano, Dottore, Arlecchino, the Innamorata, Columbina, Brighella, Franceschina." Franceschina was known as the most intelligent women role in commedia. Columbina is also very intelligent however; she does not out-smart Brighella.
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Toronto: General Publishing. pp. 86–98. ^ Castagno. ^ Green, pp. xi–xii ^ Oreglia, Giacomo (1968). The Commedia dell'Arte. Hill & Wang. pp. 65, 71. OCLC 939808594. ^ Rudlin, An Actor's Handbook. p. 34. ^ Rudlin, An Actor's Handbook. p. 67. ^ "Commedia Stock Characters". shane-arts.com. Retrieved 2016-04-05. ^ Green, p. 163 ^ a b c d e f g h Rudlin, John (1994). Commedia dell'Arte An Actor's Handbook.
New York: Routledge. pp. 67–156. ISBN 0-415-04769-2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ducharte, Pierre (1966). The Italian Comedy. New York: Dover. pp. 164–207. ^ Oreglia, Giacomo (1968). The Commedia dell'Arte. Hill & Wang. p. 58. OCLC 939808594. ^ Katrizky p. 26 Sources Callery, Dymphna. Through the Body: A Practical Guide to Physical Theatre. London: Nickalis Hernt Books (2001). ISBN 1-85459-630-6 Castagno, Paul C.
The Early Commedia dell'arte (1550–1621): The Mannerist Context. Bern, New York: Peter Lang Publishing (1994). Cecchini, Pier Maria (1628) Frutti delle moderne comedie et avvisi a chi le recita, Padua: Guareschi Green, Martin and John Swan. The Triumph of Pierrot: The Commedia dell'arte and the Modern Imagination. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University (1993). ISBN 0-271-00928-4 Katritzky, M.
A.The Art of Commedia: A Study in the Commedia dell'arte 1560–1620 with Special Reference to the Visual Records. New York: Editions Rodopi (2006). ISBN 90-420-1798-8 Palleschi, Marino. The Commedia dell'arte: Its Origins, Development & Influence on the Ballet. Auguste Vestris (2005) Perrucci, Andrea (1699) Dell'arte rappresentativa premeditata, ed all'improviso Rudlin, John. Commedia dell'arte: An Actor's Handbook.
Ebook Corporation. Rudlin, John, and Oliver Crick. Commedia dell'arte: A Handbook for Troupes. London: Routledge (2001). ISBN 041-520-408-9 Scala, Flaminio (1611) Il Teatro Delle Favole Rappresentative (online pdf available at Bavarian State Library website). Translated into English by Henry F. Salerno in 1967 as Scenarios of the Commedia dell'arte. New Italian edition cured by F.Mariotti (1976).
New partial translation (30 scenarios out of 50) by Richard Andrews (2008) The Commedia dell'arte of Flaminio Scala, A Translation and Analysis of Scenarios Published by: Scarecrow Press. Taviani, Ferdinando and Marotti, Ferruccio, and Romei, Giovanna. La Commedia dell'arte e la societa barocca M. Bulzoni, Roma : 1969 Taviani, Ferdinando and M. Schino (1982) Il segreto della commedia dell'arte. Tessari, R.
(1969) La commedia dell'arte nel seicento Tessari, R. (1981) Commedia dell'arte: la maschera e l'ombra Smith, Winifred. The Commedia dell'Arte. Benjamin Bloom, Inc., 1964. Further reading Aguirre, Mariano 'Qué es la Commedia dell'arte' (Spanish)  Chaffee, Judith; Crick, Oliver, eds. (2014). The Routledge Companion to Commedia Dell'Arte. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-61337-4. Tony, Kishawi Teaching Commedia dell'arte (2010) A step by step handbook for the theatre ensemble and Drama teacher.
 ISBN 978-0-646-53217-2 Darius, Adam. The Commedia dell'arte (1996) Kolesnik Production OY, Helsinki. ISBN 952-90-7188-4 DelPiano, Roberto La Commedia dell'arte 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-09. Grantham, Barry Playing Commedia, Nick Hern Books, London, 2000. ISBN 978-1-85459-466-2 Grantham, Barry Commedia Plays: Scenarios – Scripts – Lazzi, Nick Hern Books, London, 2006. ISBN 978-1-85459-871-4 Jordan, Peter (2013).
The Venetian Origins of the Commedia Dell'Arte. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-48824-5. Puppa, Paolo A History of Italian Theatre. Eds. Joseph Farrell. Cambridge University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-521-80265-2 Sand, Maurice (1860). Masques et bouffouns:(comédie italienne) (in French). Illustrated by Maurice Sand. Paris: Michel Levy Freres. Retrieved 22 October 2013. Smith, Winifred (1912). The Commedia dell'Arte: A Study in Popular Italian Comedy.
New York: The Columbia University Press. Retrieved July 10, 2009. Simply Masquerade – Types of masks used  External links commedia-dell-arte.com – Judith Chaffee's Commedia website, with resources, annotated bibliography, and links Meagher, Jennifer (2007) http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/comm/hd_comm.htm Bellinger, Martha Fletcher (2002) http://www.theatrehistory.com/italian/commedia_dell_arte_001.
html Wilson, Matthew R. (2010) http://www.factionoffools.org/history http://shane-arts.com/commedia-stock-characters.htm- Character lists v t e History of Western theatre Greek Roman Medieval Commedia dell'arte English Renaissance Spanish Golden Age Classicism Neoclassical Restoration Augustan Weimar Romanticism Melodrama 19th century Realism Naturalism Modernism Postmodern 20th century timeline Authority control GND: 4010433-3 Retrieved from "https://en.
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Commedia dell’arte, (Italian: “comedy of the profession”) Italian theatrical form that flourished throughout Europe from the 16th through the 18th century. Outside Italy, the form had its greatest success in France, where it became the Comédie-Italienne. In England, elements from it were naturalized in the harlequinade in pantomime and in the Punch-and-Judy show, a puppet play involving the commedia dell’arte character Punch.
The comical Hanswurst, of German folklore, was also a commedia dell’arte character. Commedia dell'arte troupe, probably depicting Isabella Andreini and the Compagnia dei Gelosi, oil painting by unknown artist, c. 1580; in the Musée Carnavalet, ParisCFL—Giraudon/Art Resource, New York The commedia dell’arte was a form of popular theatre that emphasized ensemble acting; its improvisations were set in a firm framework of masks and stock situations, and its plots were frequently borrowed from the classical literary tradition of the commedia erudita, or literary drama.
Professional players who specialized in one role developed an unmatched comic acting technique, which contributed to the popularity of the itinerant commedia troupes that traveled throughout Europe. Despite contemporary depictions of scenarios and masks and descriptions of particular presentations, impressions today of what the commedia dell’arte was like are secondhand. The art is a lost one, its mood and style irrecoverable.
Read More on This Topic Western theatre: Commedia dell’arte …theatre. This was the legendary commedia dell’arte (“theatre of the professionals”), a nonliterary tradition that centred on the actor, as distinguished from the commedia erudita, where the writer was preeminent. Although the precise origins of the commedia dell’arte are difficult to establish, its many similarities with the skills of the… READ MORE Origins and development Many attempts have been made to find the form’s origins in preclassical and classical mime and farce and to trace a continuity from the classical Atellan play to the commedia dell’arte’s emergence in 16th-century Italy.
Though merely speculative, these conjectures have revealed the existence of rustic regional dialect farces in Italy during the Middle Ages. Professional companies then arose; these recruited unorganized strolling players, acrobats, street entertainers, and a few better-educated adventurers, and they experimented with forms suited to popular taste: vernacular dialects (the commedia erudita was in Latin, or in an Italian not easily comprehensible to the general public), plenty of comic action, and recognizable characters derived from the exaggeration or parody of regional or stock fictional types.
It was the actors who gave the commedia dell’arte its impulse and character, relying on their wits and capacity to create atmosphere and convey character with little scenery or costume. The first date certainly associated with an Italian commedia dell’arte troupe is 1545. The most famous early company was the Gelosi, headed by Francesco Andreini and his wife, Isabella; the Gelosi performed from 1568 to 1604.
Of the same period were the Desiosi, formed in 1595, to which Tristano Martinelli (c. 1557–1630), the famous Arlecchino, belonged; the Comici Confidènti, active from 1574 to 1621; and the Uniti, under Drusiano Martinelli and his wife, Angelica, a company first mentioned in 1574. Troupes of the 17th century included a second Confidènti troupe, directed by Flaminio Scala, and the Accesi and the Fedeli, to which Giovambattista Andreini, called Lelio, one of the great commedia dell’arte actors, belonged.
The first mention of a company in France is in 1570–71. The Gelosi, summoned to Blois in 1577 by the king, later returned to Paris, and the Parisians embraced the Italian theatre, supporting resident Italian troupes who developed additional French characters. The Comédie-Italienne was formally established in France in 1653 and remained popular until Louis XIV expelled the Italian troupes in 1697.
The Italian players were also popular in England, Spain, and Bavaria. Each commedia dell’arte company had a stock of scenarios, commonplace books of soliloquies and witty exchanges, and about a dozen actors. Though there was some doubling of masks (roles), most players created their own masks or developed ones already established. This helped to keep a traditional continuity while allowing diversity.
Thus, though many players are individually associated with parts—the elder Andreini is said to have created the Capitano, and Tiberio Fiorillo (1608–94) is said to have done the same for Scaramuccia (the French Scaramouche—for an understanding of the commedia dell’arte, the mask is more important than the player. The masks, or characters A typical scenario involved a young couple’s love being thwarted by their parents.
The scenario used symmetrical pairs of characters: two elderly men, two lovers, two zanni, a maidservant, a soldier, and extras. The lovers, who played unmasked, were scarcely true commedia dell’arte characters—their popularity depending on looks, grace, and fluency in an eloquent Tuscan dialect. The parents were clearly differentiated. Pantalone was a Venetian merchant: serious, rarely consciously comic, and prone to long tirades and good advice.
Dottore Gratiano was, in origin, a Bolognese lawyer or doctor; gullible and lecherous, he spoke in a pedantic mixture of Italian and Latin. Other characters began as stock masks and developed into well-known characters in the hands of the most talented players. The Capitano developed as a caricature of the Spanish braggart soldier, boasting of exploits abroad, running away from danger at home. He was turned into Scaramuccia by Tiberio Fiorillo, who, in Paris with his own troupe (1645–47), altered the captain’s character to suit French taste.
As Scaramouche, Fiorillo was notable for the subtlety and finesse of his miming. The zanni, who were often acrobats, or “tumblers,” had various names such as Panzanino, Buratino, Pedrolino (or Pierrot), Scapino, Fritellino, Trappolino, Brighella, and most notably, Arlecchino and Pulcinella (related to the English Punchinello, or Punch). Pulcinella, like Capitano, “outgrew” his mask and became a character in his own right, probably created by Silvio Fiorillo (died c.
1632), who had earlier created a famous Capitano, Mattamoros. Columbina, a maidservant, was often paired in love matches with Arlecchino, Pedrolino, or the Capitano. With Harlequin she became a primary character in the English pantomime’s harlequinade. The zanni had already been differentiated as comic rustic and witty fool. They were characterized by shrewdness and self-interest; much of their success depended on improvised action and topical jokes.
Arlecchino (Harlequin), one of the zanni, was created by Tristano Martinelli as the witty servant, nimble and gay; as a lover, he became capricious, often heartless. Pedrolino was his counterpart. Doltish yet honest, he was often the victim of his fellow comedians’ pranks. As Pierrot, his winsome character carried over into later French pantomimes. The zanni used certain tricks of their trade: practical jokes (burle)—often the fool, thinking he had tricked the clown, had the tables turned on him by a rustic wit as clever, if not so nimble, as his own—and comic business (lazzi).
Decline The decline of the commedia dell’arte was due to a variety of factors. The rich verbal humour of the regional dialects was lost on foreign audiences. Eventually the physical comedy came to dominate the performance, and, as the comic business became routine, it lost its vitality. As time went on, the actors stopped altering the characters, so that the roles became frozen and no longer reflected the conditions of real life, thus losing an important comic element.
The efforts of such playwrights as Carlo Goldoni (1707–93) to reform Italian drama sealed the fate of the decaying commedia dell’arte. Goldoni borrowed from the older style to create a new, more realistic form of Italian comedy, and audiences greeted the new comedy with enthusiasm. The commedia dell’arte’s last traces entered into pantomime as introduced in England (1702) by John Weaver at Drury Lane Theatre and developed by John Rich at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
It was taken from England to Copenhagen (1801), where, at the Tivoli Gardens, it still survives. Revivals, notably in the 1960s by a Neapolitan troupe led by Peppino de Filippo, by puppet companies in Prague, and by students and repertory players in Bristol and London, however carefully their masks copied contemporary illustrations, however witty their improvisation, could only approximate what the commedia dell’arte must have been.
A more important, if less obvious, legacy of the commedia dell’arte is its influence on other dramatic forms. Visiting commedia dell’arte troupes inspired national comedic drama in Germany, eastern Europe, and Spain. Other national dramatic forms absorbed the comic routines and plot devices of the commedia. Molière, who worked with Italian troupes in France, and Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare in England incorporated characters and devices from the commedia dell’arte in their written works.
European puppet shows, the English harlequinade, French pantomime, and the cinematic slapstick of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton all recall the glorious comic form that once prevailed. Despite the loss in Western theatre of its direct connections to commedia dell’arte’s origins, the genre was sometimes used as a training component in physical and improvisational theatre at the beginning of the 21st century.
Title: What Is Commedia Dell Arte