Identify The Codes And Conventions Used By The Performers And The Audience In Commedia Dell"Arte

1697 words - 7 pages

Commedia dell'arte is a truly popular form of theatre - of the people, by the people, for the people.Commedia dell'arte is definitely an art form centred on people and their world. Commedia del'Arte emerged in Tuscany around 1550, Although its origins are hazy due to the illiteracy of its first performers and audience, it is believed to have stemmed from the carnivals in Italy . Here it rose from the people from folk theatre, which used masks and music, and from the charlatans using pretence as a means of earning money.The form combined mime, improvised and scripted dialogue (often coarse), with tumbling and acrobatics. Commedia del'Arte performances and techniques spread throughout Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, with offshoots in France, Spain and England. The scenarios involved in Commedia arose from the thematic concerns the form had. It was mainly concerned with examining the human condition via satire. Therefore, the canovaccios were filled with driving themes such as food, drink, sex, love, money and vengeance. The artists created the scenarios to fit into the peoples living conditions as a safety valve. They could laugh at their situation on stage, making their conditions a little more bearable. In this way, Commedia was designed by troupes, simply the Italian public, for their audience and the people. A del'Arte company consisted of 10 or 12 strolling players. Each was assigned a stock part and had his standard costume and established peculiarities. Stock characters came from the people in that they were often satirizations of them.Ill Dottore, an expert on everything who could talk unendingly, was a satirization of the bolognese academics. Ill Capitano was a satirization of invaders of Italy, particularly the Spanish army. Pulchinella is believed to have been derived directly from an interjecting peasant whom the troupes found entertaining. Such characters as these were created because the audience could relate to them and laugh. As the people changed, so too did stock characters. More were added into the list of masks, and elements such as costume changed to suit the society the play was directed at.Performance features of the performances were directed straight to the people. The amount of credit the audience gave the actors, determined the energy of the characters. For example, if a crowd cheered Arlecchinos antics on, he would play this up by continuing it for a longer period of time. Such was the improvising nature of commedia conventions.Some of the stock characters would directly address the audience, especially Arlecchinos or Harlequin which would allow further interest to evolve in the people watching. Isabella would flirt with the audience, Ill Dottore would address them with "expert" knowledge on anything, and fool them with tautologies, "he who is always wrong, is less right than anyone else".# Ill Capitano would address them directly in an attempt to gain praise from them. Other characters, such as Pedrolino,...

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