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Commedia dell'arte

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Shobha Dasari

on 17 April 2014

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Transcript of Commedia dell'arte

Commedia dell'arte
This form of theatre was improvisational.
The characters had individuality because the actors had to get to know the characters to act as them.
Scenes were suspenseful and had many unexpected twists.
The scenes were humorous and included lazzi, humorous interruptions.
This form of theatre would take place on temporary stages (court venues, city streets, etc.)
The scenes had many props.
Plays and Playwrights
Since plays in the time period were improvisational, there weren't many playwrights. But there were a few famous plays such as:
The Three Cuckolds- Pantalone, a wealthy shopkeeper, and Leandro, a young lover, try to make a joke of Coviello. Meanwhile, Coviello and his servant, Arrecchino, try to return the favor.
The Servant of Two Masters- A hungry servant named Truffaldino gets a job with his master's forbidden lover in order to receive more food.
Important People
Silvio Florillo (unknown-1632)- Italian comedic dramatist
Isabella Andrenini (1562-1604)- well-known female performer. Had character named after her, a young lover named "Isabella."
Carlo Gondoni (1707-1793)- scripted many plays in the mid- to late- 17th century.
Existing Changes
Commedia dell'arte in flunced modern theatre tremendously. Examples are
Stock Characters (stereotypical characters used in modern sitcoms).
Plays were highly improvisational
Influenced French pantomime and English harlequin
Used masks for many of the minor characters
Marked the first time women participated in theatre

Stock Characters
Commedia dell'arte is famous for its stock characters (stereotypical characters). Examples are:
Pantalone- stupid, gullible, talkative shopkeeper. He is the butt of many jokes.
Il Dottore- conceited, quotes Latin randomly
Il Capitano- Spanish, wealthy, boasting, told tales of his bravery, but first to flee in face of danger.
Zanni- jester, tricks others and gets duped himself.
Punchinello- dark-cloaked hunchback, dry humor
Pierrot- sad clown pantomime
Interesting Facts
Commedia dell'arte translates into "Comedy of Art."
This form of theatre sometimes had risque scenes.
This form of theatre had lazzi (amusing breaks). Lazzi could be an acrobatic feat or a funny scene (ex: a servant who won't do his master's orders until he completes a somersault).
This form of theatre was most likely influenced by Greek and Roman comedy, although historians still debate.

Commedia dell'arte was popular from the 14th century to the 18th century. Its height of popularity, however, was the 16th and 17th century. Commedia dell'arte was popular until about 1780, declining along with Italy's economy.
Commedia dell'arte was a popular form of theatre in the 14th through 18th centuries. This form of theatre is characterized mostly by improvisational performances and stock (stereotypical) characters, both of which influenced modern drama. Another characteristic of Commeida dell'arte were lazzi, humorous interruptions. A famous person in Commedia dell'arte was Carlo Goldoni, who recorded many plays in the later years of the form. Silvio Florillo and Isabella Andrenini were famous male and female actors. Commedia dell'arte markd the first time women participated in theatre. Two famous plays from the time period were The Three Cuckolds, and The Servant of Two Masters.
1. When was Commedia dell'arte popular?
2. Name one characteristic of Commedia dell'arte.
3. Name two famous plays in Commedia dell'arte.
4. How did Commedia dell'arte influence modern drama (can't be an answer already provided)?
5. Name a famous person in Commedia dell'arte, and their role in the art.
6. What are stock characters, and give an example?
www. theatrehistory.com/italian
Time Period
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