Commedia Essay

1873 words - 7 pages

media The Commedia dell' Arte means comedy of the profession of skill. It was a form of comedy with its roots in the Italian Coimedic Theatre. It is a form of theatre based on improvisation, stock characters, and physical acting with masked actors.The characters, technique, and scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte are the roots of much of modern comedy-from silent slapstick, to cloqwns and mimes, to improvisational comedy-a form of performing that has gained popularity in recent years, and has spawned many "physical actors" as well as stand-up comedians. The Commedia dell'Arte, which was given the name in Italy in the 15th century, was based on the characters of the Roman Atellanae (which were comedies, popular farces, parodies, and political satires.) The Commedia dell'Arte, as it grew, proceeded to develop new character types of its own. The dell'Arte provided a fresh point of departure for Italian comedy because of its elements of interest in contemporary events . For the first time, subject matter was no longer limited to imitatioins of Plautus, terrence, and Boccaccio, and begun to include more and more aspects of everyday life. it was during this time that the celebrated characters came into being, crteated by a mixture of humanism and direct observation. New characters, though they traced their descent from classic prototypes, possessed striking traits which stamped them with distinct personalities of their own. The stock characters of the Commedia dell'Arte each had their own manner of speaking and gesturing, their own pecular dress and masks, individual even to their warts and moles. They represented people not of the dead and forgotten past, but of living and growing cities like Venice and Bergamo. With this the Commedia dell'Arte entered a period of increased activity. It was destined from the beginning to flourish in Italy where "The theatre is so popular that most of the working men deprive themselves of food in order to have the wherewithal to go to the play. " Commedia dell'Arte was a genre of theatre quite distinct from any other. The term itself signifies, according to Dr. Michelle Scherillo, a form of comedy which "in distinction to the written comedies, was not, and could not be, performed except by professional actors." From the middle of the 16th century on their was a constant proliferation of characters made popular by famous troupes such as the Gelosi, the Confidenti, and the Uniti. Though the personalities and characteristics of the characters remained the same, many cities created their own individual representative type of each character, with their own name, and traits specific to the lifestyles of the cities themselves. Thus the roles became stylized. There is no end to the list of names given to the characters of the commedia dell"Arte in documents dating from the Renaissance to the time of Moliere. yet after they have all been sorted over, we find a limited number of fundamental...

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