A presentation by: Elena Pundjeva Nikolay Raykov

What is Commedia Dell’arte?
• unwritten or improvised drama • flourished in the XVI and XVII centuries • Commedia dell’arte (comedy of professional actors) vs. • Commedia erudita (learned drama)

Origins
• mimes and other entertainers of Roman times • from improvisations based on the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence. • The first Italian commedia dell'arte troupe (1545)

Features: Troupes
• • • • • 10-12 members (7-8 men and 3-4 women) traveled a lot commonplace books costumes - players created their own masks payment - sharing plan

Features: Place of Performance
• commedia troupes could play almost anywhere • theatrical stages prepared by professionals

– Teatro Olimpico

Features: Scripts
• outlining the situations, complications and the outcome • no written dialogue • remaining scripts
– some dramatic, tragic and musical – most - comic

Features: Lazzi
• humorous interruptions • performed by the most experienced actors • pantomimic acting, acrobatic feats, juggling, or wrestling • used to enliven the performance

Features: Improvisation
• distinguishing feature of commedia dell’arte • same actor always playing the same role • quick reactions

Features: Masks
• each character associated with a specific mask

Scenarios
• earliest scenarios that have survived
– published in Venice in 1611 – come from the Gelosi company – 40 comedies, 8 operas, one pastorals and one tragedy

Carlo Goldoni and Carlo Gozzi
• Two of the most famous playwrights of Commedia dell’arte scenarios • conflicting points of view

Carlo Goldoni
• Biographic facts • The Servant of Two Masters • believed that commedia dell’arte needs to be reformed
– dialogue – improvisation – masks

Carlo Gozzi
• Biographic facts • Turandot, The Love for Three Oranges, and King Stag. • emphasized on improvisation in his scripts

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