Commedia dell Arte The Comedy of Art Commedia dell Arte Commedia dell'Arte (Italian: "the comedy of art") is a form of improvisational theatre that began in Italy in the 16th century and held its popularity through the 18th century, although it is still performed today Commedia dell Arte Performances were unscripted, held outside, and used few props. They were free to watch, funded by donations. Commedia dell Arte A troupe consisted of ten people. (Women included as actors) Outside Italy the form was also known as "Italian Comedy". Commedia dell Arte Conventional plot lines were written on themes of adultery, jealousy, old age, and love. Many of the basic plot elements can be traced back to the Roman comedies, some of which were themselves translations of lost Greek comedies of the fourth century BC. Commedia dell Arte Performers made use of well-rehearsed jokes and stock physical gags, known as Lazzi and , as well as, of course, on-the-spot improvised and interpolated episodes and routines, called burle (singular burla, Italian for joke), usually involving a practical joke. Commedia dell Arte Characters were identified by costumes, masks, and even props, The classic, traditional plot is that the innamorati are in love and wish to be married, but one elder (vecchio) or several elders (vecchi) are preventing this from happening, leading the lovers to ask one or more zanni (eccentric servants) for help. Typically the story ends happily, with the marriage of the innamorati and forgiveness for any wrongdoings. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Arlecchino or Harlequin: Clown. Acrobatic and mischievous, zanni & Servant Recognizable by the colorful diamondshaped patches that traditionally were part of his costume. The part is sometimes substituted with Truffaldino, his son. His mask has a low forehead with a wart, and sometimes wore a black stocking wound round the lower face and then up over the head. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Arlecchino: is often the servant to Pantalone He is in love with Colombina, He can often have a close relationship with the audience, The Arlecchino character also tries to trick his masters and is always plotting and planning, but his plans never work. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Brighella: either a shopkeeper or servant. Brighella is always out for a way to profit from any given situation. Will cheerfully lie to save himself. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Il Capitano (The Captain): Swash-buckling and bold, but not necessarily heroic, Wears the military dress of the day. His attire is generally foppish and overdone. A braggart, a ladies man, and a cavalier. He is motivated by his desire for sex. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Colombina: female counterpart of Arlecchino. Servant and zanni. Initiates the plot of the play. Clever, crafty, and untamed. Her costume often had the same colored patches found in Arlecchino's outfit. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Il Dottore - the doctor: He appears to be a learned man, but generally that impression proves to be false. He is older, wealthy, and a member of the vecchi. Pedantic and miserly, he is hopelessly unsuccessful with women. Everyone else believes what he is saying to be true but it is erroneous. This leads into further trouble and confusion. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters The Innamorati- The Lovers: The innamorato and innamorata had many different names over time ("Isabella" was a particularly popular name for the woman, as was "Flavio" for the man). Young, righteous, and hopelessly in love with one another. Wear the most fashionable dress of the day. Never play in mask. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters The Innamorati: Often seen singing, dancing, or reciting poetry, Frequently portrayed as the children of Dottore and Pantalone. Madly in love but only surmount the obstacles put in the way of their happiness, at the end of the play. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Pantalone : member of the vecchi. Archetypal "old miser.” Quite wealthy but very greedy. He only cares about money and he will do anything to get it. His costume usually incorporates a long beard and red pants. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Pedrolino: also known as "Pierrot" or "Pedro" The loyal servant. Hardworking, trustworthy, honest and devoted to his master. Charming and likable, he wears a loose white outfit with a neck ruff. Tends to be the butt of the physical jokes. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Pulcinella : sometimes called "Punch,” Pitiable, helpless, and often physically disfigured. Usually has a hump, a distinct limp, or some other obvious physical deformity. In some portrayals he cannot speak, and expresses himself in squeaks or other strange sounds. His personality can be foolish or sly and shrewd. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Scaramuccia: also known as Scaramouche Roguish character who wears a black velvet mask, black trousers, a shirt and a hat. Usually portrayed as a buffoon or boastful coward. Commedia dell Arte Stock Characters Tartaglia: short sighted with a terrible stutter he is one of the stock old characters who appears in many scenarios as one of the lovers. His social status varies; he is sometimes a bailiff, lawyer, notary or chemist. Tartaglia wears a large felt hat, an enormous cloak, oversized boots, a long sword, a giant mustache and a cardboard nose.