Commedia Dell'Arte By Michelle

History of Commedia Dell'Arte

Though the official origins were not conclusive, in the 16th and 17th century, a type of comedy was developed in Italy, it's know as Commedia Dell'Arte. There have been some scholars that have claimed that Commedia originated from the Roman times though. Later on it spread to France and Spain and then to other parts of Europe.

Commedia Dell'Arte's plot outlines (scenarios) which were usually improvised text which is how they differed from other dialogue from the same period. Former performances in Italy started in about the mid-1500s and started to gain popularity from there. It has distinctive masks befitting each of the different characters in the performance and was most popular from about 1550 to about 1650. It was also something where men and women had an equal rights for which made it gain in popularity even more. Though like all things, after about two hundred years, it died out somewhere in the mid-1700s.

Arlecchino

Name: Arlecchino/Harlequin

Mask: The mask worn by Arlecchino is like a carnival mask and has small rounded eyes. There's a distinctive wart on the forehead which may have been a cut off devil's horn.

Status: Arlecchino is a servant, mainly to Pantalone but sometimes to Il' Capitano or Il'Dottore. He is the second zanni if there is a Brighella or Pasauariello but if there isn't, then he is first.

Costume: Arlecchino wears a tight-fitting long jacket and trousers with random sewn on patches of green, yellow, red and brown. There is also a belt on his hip and shoes which are flat and black. He wears a hat with a feather or tail as a sign of being a butt of ridicule.

Characteristics & Mannerisms: Arlecchino is a mischievous and likes to stay on his feet. He is also in love with the one and only Columbina.

Columbina

Name: Columbina

Mask: Columbina doesn't usually wear a mask but if she does, then it will be a small one around her eyes.

Status: Columbina is either a maid to Isabella, a servant or the wife of Arlecchino.

Costume: Since she is a lady maid, she is better dressed than male servants. She wears an apron and a 'folly' dress underneath. The colours of the clothing is varied and often frilled.

Characteristics & Mannerisms: She is an important character as she is one of the only rational and intelligent characters. She has enough food and drink and no ambition to become rich and can read, write, sing and dance. She is witty, sarcastic and had strength and is a perfect balance of masculinity and femininity

Pierrot

Name: Pedrolino/Pierrot

Mask: Pierrot doesn't usually wear a mask and is recognised through his white-powdered face.

Status: He is the youngest son and bottom of the barrel, he is originally a servant but can have a variety of roles.

Costume: His clothing are baggy and hand-me-downs and normally too big for him, sometimes the sleeves are too long and don't allow his hands to be in sight. He is easily confused with Pulcinella in early sketches and had small pockets to carry objects. He also had a pointed white hat.

Characteristics & Mannerisms: Pierrot (being the youngest) is usually the butt of jokes and is a coward. But even though he has to sleep with animals, he never loses his dignity.

Scenarios

Commedia Dell'Arte has lots of theatre scripts and scenario descriptions which are meant for performances. They have incorporate the different characters and masks and have works from the 16th century to the 21st century. They help give performances and performers an idea of what is going on. The scenarios are no more than a small part of the actual plot which give a brief idea of the actions and steps. It's divided into acts and scenes which which are then recreated by the performers performing. Some examples of original scripts are Arlecchino's Folly, Zeus and the Servant Girl, Pedrolino In Love, The Innamorati Ball and The Marriage of Pierrot.

Staging

There are both indoor and outdoor stages for Commedia Del'Arte performances. Private homes and town halls were converted into stages for acts. While in Europe, troupes used whatever theatre they could find and built new ones to further the art.

Outdoor stages allowed the performers to utilise and dramatise their daily lives. Merchants had the role of getting people's attentions from the stage.

Lazzi

There are both indoor and outdoor stages for Commedia Del'Arte performances. Private homes and town halls were converted into stages for acts. While in Europe, troupes used whatever theatre they could find and built new ones to further the art.

Outdoor stages allowed the performers to utilise and dramatise their daily lives. Merchants had the role of getting people's attentions from the stage.

Bibliography

What is Commedia dell'Arte? n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://www.commedia-dell-arte.com/commediainfo.htm>.

Commedia dell'arte Conventions n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://www.thedramateacher.com/commedia-dellarte-conventions/>.

Character Analysis n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://shane-arts.com/Commedia-Arlechinno.htm>.

Commedia dell Arte - Colombina n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <https://prezi.com/m/pcntqhwbie4r/commedia-dell-arte-colombina/>.

Character Analysis n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://shane-arts.com/Commedia-Columbina.htm>.

Character Analysis n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://shane-arts.com/Commedia-Pedrolino.htm>.

Commedia dell’arte n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <http://shane-arts.com/Commedia-Scenarios.htm>.

Spotlight: E-News from Theatrefolk n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <https://www.theatrefolk.com/spotlights/commedia-dell-arte>.

Plays and Scenari n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <https://sites.google.com/site/italiancommedia/plays-and-scenari>.

Commedia dell'arte staging and staging practices n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commedia_dell%27arte_staging_and_staging_practices>.

Lazzi n.d., accessed 3 May 2017, <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazzi>.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.