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Commedia dell'Arte. Commedia dell'Arte, also known as "Italian comedy," was a humorous theatrical presentation performed by professional players who traveled.

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Presentation on theme: "Commedia dell'Arte. Commedia dell'Arte, also known as "Italian comedy," was a humorous theatrical presentation performed by professional players who traveled."— Presentation transcript:

1 Commedia dell'Arte

2 Commedia dell'Arte, also known as "Italian comedy," was a humorous theatrical presentation performed by professional players who traveled in troupes throughout Italy in the 16th century.

3 Performances took place on temporary stages, mostly on city streets, but occasionally even in court venues.

4 Even when a local company performed, much of the dialogue would not have been understood. Regardless of region, il Capitano would have spoken in Spanish, il Dottore in Bolognese, and l'Arlecchino in utter gibberish. The focus was placed on physical business rather than on spoken text. Given the vast number of Italian dialects, there was no attempt made to change the performance's dialect from region to region.

5 Props There were no elaborate sets. Instead, great use was made of props including animals, food, furniture, watering devices, and weapons. The character Arlecchino bore two sticks tied together, which made a great noise on impact. This gave birth to the word "slapstick."

6 Improvisation Commedia dell'arte was a highly disciplined art requiring both virtuosity and a strong sense of ensemble playing. The unique talent of commedia players was to improvise comedy around a pre–established scenario. Responding to each other, or to audience reaction, the actors made use of the lazzi (special rehearsed routines that could be inserted into the plays at convenient points to heighten the comedy).

7 Masks forced actors to project their characters' emotions through the body. Leaps, tumbles, stock gags (burle and lazzi), obscene gestures and slapstick antics were incorporated into their acts. Physical Theater

8 Stock Characters The actors of the commedia represented fixed social types, tipi fissi, for example, foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado. Characters such as Pantalone, the miserly Venetian merchant; Dottore Gratiano, the pedant from Bologna; or Arlecchino, the mischievous servant from Bergamo, began as satires on Italian "types" and became the archetypes of many of the favorite characters of 17th– and 18th–century European theatre.

9 A caricature of the Venetian merchant, rich lecherous and retired, mean and miserly, with a young wife or an adventurous daughter. Pantalone

10 A caricature of learning— pompous and fraudulent. Il Dottore the doctor

11 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

12 Arlecchino's crony, was more roguish and sophisticated, a cowardly villain who would do anything for money. Brighella

13 A caricature of the professional soldier—bold, swaggering, and cowardly. Il Capitano the captain

14 For Further Study: PANTALONE: THE STOCK CHARACTER OF VENICE Pantalone, a rich and miserly merchant, is another one of the Commedia’s vecchio characters. He represents the merchant class of Venice, often employing Arlecchino of Bergamo. He treats his employee cruelly, and his hard-heartedness reminds the audience that throughout history, merchants in Venice were often accused of mistreating the working class. As port city on the Adriatic and undisputed center of power and commerce, the Venetian Republic was well known for its navy and army. It had a reputation for being a city of invulnerable citizens and high-class merchants. Pantalone’s frugal character reflects the island city’s style of dress and holds a mirror up to the Venetian mentality and its stereotypes. IL DOTTORE: THE STOCK CHARACTER OF BOLOGNA Il dottore is an aristocrat who travels to Bologna in pursuit of a university degree. He is rolling in ‘old money’ and plays one of the wealthy vecchio characters who forbid the comedy’s lovers to pursue their budding relationship. The doctor, known as a glutton of fine cuisine and good wine, is easily recognizable, thanks to his rotund figure. Home to aristocrats who freely enjoyed their wealth, Bologna was known as a place where one could easily indulge in the extravagances of life. The city is home to the oldest university in Europe and has always been considered one of Italy’s richest and well-planned urban centers. Over the years, Bologna has earned itself tell-tale nicknames like la dotta (the learned one) and la grassa (the fat one), references to its famous university and its fine cuisine. With his over-indulgence and love of food and worldly pleasures, il dottore character exemplifies the stereotypical Bolognese man. ARLECCHINO: THE STOCK CHARACTER OF BERGAMO Arlecchino is a poor, illiterate servant from the town of Bergamo, who leaves his home in search of fortune in Venice. As an acrobat and clown, he is the founder of slapstick comedy. The ‘stick’ that gave rise to the term was the baton he used to bash other characters. Arlecchino plays on the stereotype of the self-interested man. Despite his poverty and apparent ignorance, he’s quite cunning and resourceful. Early in its history, Bergamo was under Venetian rule. Arlecchino reflects this power struggle in the sense that he often acts as a servant to rich merchants from Venice. Bergamo also suffered in the shadow of neighboring Milan, and its triumphs were frequently belittled by any true Bergamo. People from this town were known for constantly struggling to climb up the ladder of material success and economic wealth and were often forced to leave their homeland to seek success elsewhere. Nogo, Jasmina. “A Cast of Characters:Stereotypes on stage with the Commedia dell’arte.” The Florentine.net. 19 April Web. 2 June 2010.


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