This book explores the commedia dell'arte: the Italian professional theatre in Shakespeare's time. The actors of this theatre usually did not perform from scripted drama but instead improvised their performances from a shared plot and thorough knowledge of individual character roles. Robert Henke closely analyzes hitherto unexamined commedia dell'arte texts in order to demonstrate how the spoken word and written literature were fruitfully combined in performance. Henke examines a number of primary sources including performance accounts, actors' contracts, and letters, among other documents.
This is a translation with detailed commentary of 30 commedia dell'arte scenarios first published in 1611 by Flaminio Scala. It aims principally to demonstrate the methodology of Italian improvised theater and the constant interchange of plot, characterization, and scene structure between scripted and improvised comedy.
There has been an enormous revival of interest in Commedia dell'arte. And it remians a central part of many drama school courses. In Commedia dell'arte in the Twentieth Century John Rublin first examines the orgins of this vital theatrical form and charts its recent revival through the work of companies like Tag, Theatre de Complicite and the influential methods of Jacques Lecoq. The second part of the book provides a unique practical guide for would-be practitioners: demonstrating how to approach the roles of Zanni, Arlecchion, Brighella, Pantalone, Dottore, and the Lovers in terms of movement, mask-work and voice. As well as offering a range of lazzi or comic business, improvisation exercises, sample monologues,and dialogues. No other book so clearly outlines the specific culture of Commedia or provides such a practical guide to its techniques. This immensely timely and useful handbook will be an essential purchase for all actors, students, and teachers.
From Commedia dell’Arte came archetypal characters that are still with us today, such as Harlequin and Pantalone, and the rediscovered craft of writing comic dramas and masked theatre. From it came the forces that helped create and influence Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lopes de Vega, Goldoni, Meyerhold, and even the glove puppet, Mr Punch. The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte is a wide-ranging volume written by over 50 experts, that traces the history, characteristics, and development of this fascinating yet elusive theatre form. In synthesizing the elements of Commedia, this book introduces the history of the Sartori mask studio; presents a comparison between Gozzi and Goldoni’s complicated and adversarial approaches to theatre; invites discussions on Commedia’s relevance to Shakespeare, and illuminates re-interpretations of Commedia in modern times. The authors are drawn from actors, mask-makers, pedagogues, directors, trainers and academics, all of whom add unique insights into this most delightful of theatre styles. Notable contributions include: • Donato Sartori on the 20th century Sartori mask • Rob Henke on form and freedom • Anna Cottis on Carlo Boso • Didi Hopkins on One Man, Two Guv’nors • Kenneth Richards on acting companies • Antonio Fava on Pulcinella • Joan Schirle on Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and women in Commedia • and M.A. Katritzky on images Olly Crick is a performer, trainer and director, having trained in Commedia under Barry Grantham and Carlo Boso. He is founder of The Fabulous Old Spot Theatre Company. Judith Chaffee is Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston University, and Head of Movement Training for Actors. She trained in Commedia with Antonio Fava, Julie Goell, Stanley Allen Sherman, and Carlos Garcia Estevez.
Shakespeare and Commedia dell’Arte examines the ongoing influence of commedia dell’arte on Shakespeare’s plays. Exploring the influence of commedia dell’arte improvisation, sight gags, and wordplay on the development of Shakespeare’s plays, Artemis Preeshl blends historical research with extensive practical experience to demonstrate how these techniques might be applied when producing some of Shakespeare's best-known works today. Each chapter focuses on a specific play, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to The Winter’s Tale, drawing out elements of commedia dell’arte style in the playscripts and in contemporary performance. Including contemporary directors’ notes and interviews with actors and audience members alongside Elizabethan reviews, criticism, and commentary, Shakespeare and Commedia dell’Arte presents an invaluable resource for scholars and students of Renaissance theatre.
Commedia dell'Arte in Context
Author: Christopher B. Balme, Piermario Vescovo, Daniele Vianello
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The commedia dell'arte, the improvised Italian theatre that dominated the European stage from 1550 to 1750, is arguably the most famous theatre tradition to emerge from Europe in the early modern period. Its celebrated masks have come to symbolize theatre itself and have become part of the European cultural imagination. Over the past twenty years a revolution in commedia dell'arte scholarship has taken place, generated mainly by a number of distinguished Italian scholars. Their work, in which they have radically separated out the myth from the history of the phenomenon remains, however, largely untranslated into English (or any other language). The present volume gathers together these Italian and English-speaking scholars to synthesize for the first time this research for both specialist and non-specialist readers. The book is structured around key topics that span both the early modern period and the twentieth-century reinvention of the commedia dell'arte.
Author: John Rudlin, Olly Crick
Publisher: Psychology Press
A companion to John Rudlin's best-selling Commedia dell'Arte: A Handbook for Actors, this book covers both the history and professional practice of commedia dell'arte companies from 1568 to the present day. Indispensable for both the beginner and the professional, it contains historical and contemporary company case histories, details on company organisation, and tips on practical stagecraft. Essential for students and practitioners, this book enables the reader to understand how successful commedia dell'arte companies function, and how we can learn from past and current practice to create a lively and dynamic form of theatre. Includes tips on: * writing a scenario * mask-making * building a stage * designing a backdrop * costume * music. _
This book considers the relationship between commedia dell arte and early operatic forms, from the court operas of the first years of the seventeenth century, through semi-private productions in Rome, to the public stages of Venice over fifty years later. While musicology has largely ignored the commedia dell arte, except in cases of specifically comic opera characters, this book offers a corrective. The importance of serious commedia characters and situations for the development of opera is articulated, with particular attention given to the prime donne innamorate and the use of lament. Through a series of case studies that situate side by side commedia dell arte plays, pedagogical texts on acting, and some of the century s best-known operatic works, the book illustrates how sound itself functioned as a crucial and influential component of commedia dell arte dramaturgy. Furthermore, it argues that the aural epistemology of the commedia dell arte theatre in which the gender, class, geographic origins, motivations and predilections of each character were audible in their voice trained Italian audiences in habits of listening that rendered the musical drama of opera verisimilar according to existing dramatic norms, thus underwriting the success of the genre. Vincenzo Galilei s 1581 exhortation for composers to listen to the speech of the commedia actors for inspiration on how to make their music expressive is used to contextualize the link between the sound of the commedia dell arte and that of early opera.The first chapter introduces commedia dell arte and its stock characters, with particular attention paid to the sound of the genre as a whole and the use of music within spoken dramatic performances. Subsequent chapters examine Monteverdi s early opera "L Arianna "(of which only the famous lament survives) and his "Il Ritorno d Ulisse" and "L incoronazione" "di Poppea," as well as some of the first operas in the comic vein, often written by commedia practitioners such as Giovan Battista Andreini. The conclusion looks at how the new genre of opera, both serious and comic, comes to fruition in Cavalli s large-scale Venetian operas of the 1650s. Throughout, the book articulates the productive overlapping of the worlds of commedia dell arte and early opera, from shared audiences and performing venues, to shared actors/singers (especially female, such as the first Arianna, the actress and Giovan Battista s wife, Virgina Ramponi Andreini), who brought their spoken-theater prowess to their impersonation of operatic characters and helped disseminate the new genre on the Italian stage and beyond. "
Focusing on Commedia Dell'Arte, this work provides a historical and critical commentary of the Commedia. It highlights common factors between this genre and that of the Japanese Noh theatre. The author proposes six similarities: characters familiar to their audience and masked, minimal properties and scenery with the focus on the actor, the "families" of performers, a sharp mind as well as an agile body, a professional living on these skills and patronage, and a knowledgeable audience. Complementing this book is the play "Please Be Gentle" which explores the various tricks and devices of Commedia Dell'Arte acting.
Music and the Commedia dell'Arte narrates the story of the most famous commedia dell'arte troupe of the late Renaissance, focusing in particular on the representation of women on stage and on the role of music-making in their craft. In its thorough integration of the fields of music history, theatre history, performance studies, women's studies and Classics, this is the first comprehensive analysis of the leading actresses of the Compagnia dei Gelosi and their contributions to the Renaissance stage. Including an extensive survey of documents concerning comedians, their patrons, colleagues and audiences, Music and the Commedia dell'Arte provides a rich context for the study of musical-theatrical performance before the advent of opera and re-defines our perceptions of women, music and theatre in the Renaissance.
The Art of Commedia
Author: M. A. Katritzky
Italian comedians attracted audiences to performances at every level, from the magnificent Italian, German and French court festival appearances of Orlando di Lasso or Isabella Andreini, to the humble street trestle lazzi of anonymous quacks. The characters they inspired continue to exercise a profound cultural influence, and an understanding of the commedia dell arte and its visual record is fundamental for scholars of post-1550 European drama, literature, art and music. The 340 plates presented here are considered in the light of the rise and spread of commedia stock types, and especially Harlequin, Zanni and the actresses. Intensively researched in public and private collections in Oxford, Munich, Florence, Venice, Paris and elsewhere, they complement the familiar images of Jacques Callot and the Stockholm Recueil Fossard within a framework of hundreds of significant pictures still virtually unknown in this context. These range from anonymous popular prints to pictures by artists such as Ambrogio Brambilla, Sebastian Vrancx, Jan Bruegel, Louis de Caulery, Marten de Vos, and members of the Valckenborch and Francken clans. This volume, essential for commedia dell arte specialists, represents an invaluable reference resource for scholars, students, theatre practitioners and artists concerned with commedia-related aspects of visual, dramatic and festival culture, in and beyond Italy."
The World of Harlequin
Author: Allardyce Nicoll
Publisher: CUP Archive
In this classic study of the Commedia dell 'Arte, printed in several editions and languages since its first publication in 1963, one of Allardyce Nicoll's chief concerns is to show how and why the figure of Harlequin came to predominate among recognised stage types. Tracing the history and influence of the Commedia, he also focuses on the characters of Punch, Pantaloon, Zany, Pierrot, Columbine, and Scaramouche.
Triumph of Pierrot
Author: Martin Green, John Swan
Publisher: Penn State Press
The original commedia dell'arte in late sixteenth-century Italy was performed by traveling players who improvised their plays around a basic plot or scenario. The best known commedia characters were the comic servants like Harlequin and Pierrot who have become almost household names. The commedia dell'arte players soon moved to other European countries, and the genre was transformed in the process, particularly in France. Over the centuries the commedia has been adapted to suit the needs of successive cultural movements, and has become a symbolic theme not only in drama, but also in other branches of literature, as well as in art and music. This book examines manifestations of the commedia dell'arte from Shakespeare to Dario Fo. The emphasis is on the variety and richness of the commedia, and includes discussion of music and poetry as well as drama, popular culture and the avant garde. Another feature of the book is its comprehensive and integrated coverage of the cross-cultural nature of the commedia: it draws together a collection of experts in major European Languages and literatures (including Latin American literature) and provides a new angle for discussion of a phenomenon until now covered mainly from the viewpoint of the drama historian.