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Commedia Del Arte

theatre history project

owen perrett

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of Commedia Del Arte

Acting Styles
Historical backround of the period
-Commedia Dell’arte flourished during the 14th -18th century. It reached the height of its popularity in the 16th and 17th century. This form of theatre was popular until 1780.
-During the 16th century, Shakespeare was born along with another famous poet, Marlowe.
-Also contains the Elizabethan era which was a very popular time.
-1599 A.D The Globe theatre opened.
Interests/Culture of people
-Spanish literature and art were now entering their greatest period. Morally and economically there were dark sides to the picture, but to the Spaniards the 16th and early 17th centuries have always been their "Golden Century."
-Clothing style like Elizabethan
Stage Structure and theatre
Performances took place on temporary stages, usually city streets.
Occasionally troupes would perform on court venues.
Actors that were more famous performed in palaces and traveled abroad.
There were no elaborate sets in Commedia Dell’arte.
Stages were just temporary outdoor structures, made from barrels or large pieces of wood.
Props were used greatly, including animals, food, furniture, watering devices and weapons.
Technologies of the Period
New inventions
-First flush toilets appeared.
-Bottled beer
-knitting machine called the stocking frame.
-Otto von Guericke invents a air pump.
-In the 16th century guns transformed warfare.
Technologies used
-Seeing as this form of theatre was very mobile, use of technologies were minimal parts of scenes.
-Truthfully most things possibly considered technologies could only be props. Props were a highly used part of Commedia dell'arte.

-As actors were presented with very sketchy scenarios, some with a little dialogue, others with indications of dialogue, and still others with the outline of the plot only, they had to improvise the words that they spoke.
-The actors would have studied the scenarios
-Much of their speech would have been premeditated and as they were encouraged to build up a stock of memorised passages appropriate to their characters and to the action, very little would have been spontaneous.
-Commedia Dell'arte means "Comedy of art". It contains a new type of theatre to the era, containing elements of the complete opposite to the other types of theatre of that era.
-In general, there are main plot lines characters and settings memorized by the actors, the dialogue is usually improvised.
-Like the language, actions are also performed by improvisation depending on what they have as their stock character, etc.
-Certain characters would have different roles, actions, personality and dialogue.
-Actors would be the only one who knows what character they are going to be. This brings out surprise and comedy to the audience.
-Commedia performers had also to be accomplished musicians, singers and dancers as music played an important part in the staging of a Commedia play.
-Dance seems always to have provided the grand finale to the comedy.
Stock Characters
-The actors of the Commedia represented fixed social types.
-Costumes represented the characters excellently. Loose fitting garments were altered with tight fitting garments to create elaboration.
-Colours were contrasting and masks were used for more of the major characters to represent themselves. The characters of fun or satire, wore coloured leather masks. Though sometimes actors just wore what they owned to relate to the audience better.
-Regardless of where they toured, the characters in Commedia Dell’arte were recognized by their costumes. Masks were worn by all fixed characters.
The Stock Characters/Masks
The most famous. He was an acrobat and a wit, childlike and amorous. He wore a cat–like mask and motley colored clothes and carried a bat or wooden sword.
Arlecchino's crony, was more roguish and sophisticated, a cowardly villain who would do anything for money.
Il Capitano
(the captain) was a caricature of the professional soldier—bold, swaggering, and cowardly.
Il Dottore
(the doctor) was a caricature of learning—pompous and fraudulent.
Was a caricature of the Venetian merchant, rich and retired, mean and miserly, with a young wife or an adventurous daughter.
Was a white–faced, moon–struck dreamer and the forerunner of today's clown.
As seen in the English Punch and Judy shows, was a dwarfish humpback with a crooked nose, the cruel bachelor who chased pretty girls.
Dressed in black and carrying a pointed sword, was the Robin Hood of his day.
The handsome (lover) went by many names. He wore no mask and had to be eloquent in order to speak the love declamations.
Female counterpart of inamorto. Witty, bright, and given to intrigue, she developed into such characters as Harlequine and Pierrette.
La Ruffiana
Was an old woman, either the mother or a village gossip, who thwarted the lovers.
Cantarina & Ballerina
Often took part in the comedy, but for the most part their job was to sing, dance, or play music.
The audience was able to pick up from each character's dress the type of person he was representing.
Arlecchino, for example, would be immediately recognizable because of his black mask and patchwork costume.
Audiences knew what members of the various social classes typically wore, and also expected certain colors to represent certain emotional states.
Famous person from time
In commedia Dell'arte, there were no plays written really, it was just plots with imporivsation. Therefore there were no famous playwrights during that time.
A famous troupe that performed Commedia Dell’arte from 1569-1604 was Gelosi. They formed in Milan, Italy by FlaminioScala.
Their first notable performer was VittoriaPissimi. They were the first troupe to be patronized by nobility.In 1574 and 1577, they performed for the King of France. After this they toured all over Europe and spread Commedia Dell’arte from Italy to France, Poland, Spain, Germany and England.
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