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The Italian Renaissance An Overview Of Theatre: The History Of Italian Theatre

966 words - 4 pages

The Italian Renaissance occurred from 1550 - 1700. The rapid economic growth in Italy during this time made it possible for the more wealthy citizens to endulge in alternate forms of entertainment. Wealthy families such as the Medicis began a system of patronage, in which they would finance artists to produce art in many forms. Italian theatre used the plays of ancient Greek and Roman theatre (dramas) as well as mediaeval theatre (religious plays) as a foundation.Commedia dell'ArteThe main style used by theatre groups in Italy during this period was called commedia or Commedia dell'Arte. Commedia dell'Arte or "the comedy of professional artists" was a mainstay in Italian theatre during its renaissance. This included bits of comedy performed by different actors called lazzi. The type of comedy used in the Italian Renaissance was what is now known as slapstick or farce. This was a comedy style, which highlighted pain or misfortune occurring to the actors in a humorous context.For the most part the actors in these comedies used no scripts. The actors were given a plot or scenario and acted out these plots in a humorous way. These performances were often vulgar and obscene. Standardize characters developed and appeared in familiar costumes and wearing masks.The character standards for Commedia included these general outlines:- Pantalone: A greedy old man, merchant or fool, often lustful, conniving, andmeddling.- Dottore: A drunk, often proffesor or doctor dressed in a cap and gown.- Capitano: A soldier who was braggadocios and cowardly.- Inamorati: Young lovers who appeared quite normal compared to the rest ofthe characters.- "zanni": Foolish servants. Usually two servants, one being drunk andmore foolish than his cohort.NeoclassicismNeoclassicists were rigid critics of Italian drama. They developed rules for theatre performances that survived for nearly 200 years in Europe. These mandates were claimed to have been derived from Greek and Roman models. Five central concepts of neoclassicism are as follows; verisimilitude, decorum, purity of genres, the three unities, and two fold purpose.Verisimilitude - The seeking of truth. An attempt to portray the performance as a reasonable interpretation of what is real or reasonably expected in real life.Decorum - The way in which characters of certain classes behaved according to that class. Age, sex, rank, and profession would be acted out as if the characters held those standings. A strong sense of moral right and wrong was upheld, reflected by the punishment of evil, and the rewarding of good.Purity of Genres - Comedy and tragedy were never mixed. The elements of one genre were never to be interspersed with the performance of another. The use of the chorus, the deus ex machina, and the soliloquy, was prohibited.The Three Unities - The concept of the unity of time, place, and action. Unity of time required a reasonable time for the action of the play to take place; usually no more than 24 hours. Unity of...

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