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The Origins of Theatre Ancient Greeks PowerPoint Presentation
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The Origins of Theatre Ancient Greeks

The Origins of Theatre Ancient Greeks

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The Origins of Theatre Ancient Greeks

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  1. TheOrigins of Theatre Ancient Greeks Commedia Dell’Arte

  2. Italian Renaissance • Late 1300s to about the 1600s • Period of great cultural change and achievement • Transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe • Rekindled interest in Greek and Roman • Thought • Literature • Art

  3. Two form of comedy in Italy: • Commedia erudite – Academic or Learned comedy • Private performances • Commedia dell’ Arte - Popular comedy • Professional and open to the public

  4. Origins of Commedia dell’ Arte • Before 16th century not much is known • Fragments from letters and diaries indicate its existence before the 16th century • First mentioned in history in the 1560s • Two playwrights of Roman comedies are credited for influencing Commedia dell’ Arte: • Titus Maccius Plautus: 254 BC – 184BC • Publius Terentius Afer (Terence): --159 BC

  5. Commedia dell‘ Arte • “Comedy of professional artists" acted by professional companies using vernacular dialects and plenty of comic action • Improvised Comedy • The first known commedia dell'arte troupe was formed in 1545. • 1550 – 1700 (most popular between 1575 and 1650)

  6. Contents of Commedia dell’ Arte • Improvisation • Masked fools • Acrobatic tricks • Intrigue plots • Satire • Music

  7. Place & Performance • Drum announces the actors’ arrival to a city • Performances held almost anywhere: • In town squares or at courts • Indoors or outdoors • On improvised stages or in permanent theatres Traveling troupe’s makeshift stage

  8. Themes • Adultery • Jealousy • Old age • Love

  9. Scripts • Rough storyline: summarisation of the situations, complications and the outcome • Also called scenario • Actors perform spontaneously by improvising their dialogues • Thus, details differed at every performance

  10. Actors • Usually 10-12 actors per troupe • 7-8 male; 3-4 female • One actor rarely played more than one character in the lifetime. (except where the Young Lover grew older and developed a beer belly!) They perfected the role • Performances were spontaneous; thus each actor must be quick and witty to respond appropriately

  11. Stock Characters • The same characters appeared in every play • The most essential part of Commedia • Identified by costumes, masks or props • Divided into 3 categories: • Lovers (Innamorati) • Masters • Servants (Zanni)

  12. Lovers (Innamorati) • Most realistic roles • Young and handsome (Did not wear masks and dressed in latest fashions • Were children of the masters • Come in obvious pairs - Masculine and feminine versions (Flavio and Flavia or Ottavio and Ottavia) • Dressed in similar colours • Often required to sing, play an instrument or recite poetry • Lust, romance, vanity, and little sense were usually their characteristics

  13. Masters • Pantalone • Elderly Venetian merchant and the father of one of the lovers • Obsessed with money • Mean and miserable • Costume: tight-fitting red vest, red breeches and stockings, soft slippers, a black ankle-length coat, a soft, brimless cap, a brown mask with a large hooked nose, and a scraggly grey beard

  14. Masters • Il Dottore • Pantalone’s friend or rival • Possessed a high profession such as lawyer or doctor • Loved to show off his “supposed wisdom” through his speeches in Latin • In reality, was gullible and easily tricked • Dressed in academic cap and gown of the time

  15. Masters • Il Capitano • Originally was a lover, but over • time transformed into braggart and coward • Boasted of his prowess in love and war • Costume: a cape, sword, and feathered headdress • Typically an unwelcome suitor to one of the young women

  16. Servants (Zanni) • 2-4 per troupe—at least one clever and one stupid • Most prominent are: • Fantesca or Columbine (female maid) • La Ruffiana • Cantarina and Ballerina • Arlecchino (Harlequin) • Male servant, usually went by the name Brighella, Scapino, Mezzetino, or Flautino • Pulcinello

  17. Servants • Fantesca (female maid) • Normally young, witty, and ready for intrigue • Had her own affair while assisting the mistress with hers • La Ruffiana • An old woman, either the mother or a village gossiper • Whore • Shady • Cantarina and Ballerina often took part in the comedy, but for the most part their job was to sing, dance, or play music.

  18. Servants • Arlecchino (Harlequin) • Also known as: Truffaldino and Trivellino • Originally of minor importance, he soon became the most popular • Was both cunning and stupid, a stunning acrobat and dancer • Could usually be found in the middle of any intrigue • Illiterate, but pretends to read • Costume: evolved from a suit with irregularly placed multicolored patches into one with a diamond-shaped red, green, and blue pattern, a rakish hat above a black mask, and a slapstick

  19. Servants • Another male servant, usually went by the name Brighella, Scapino, Mezzetino, or Flautino • Harlequin’s partner • Thrives on double dealings, intrigue, and foul play • Cynical liar and a thief—would do anything for money • Sleazy, seductive, and often cruel • Witty, libidinous, and often cruel • Costume: mask with a hooked nose and moustache, a jacket and trousers ornamented with a green braid

  20. Servants • Pulcinello • A Neopolitan • Had various functions • Servant • Host of an inn • Merchant • Had a huge hooked nose, a humped back, and wore a pointed cap • Cruel bachelor who chased pretty girls • Ancestor of the English puppet Punch

  21. Lazzi • Stage business • Humorous interjections which had nothing to do with the play itself such as: • Humorous remarks • Acrobatics • Juggling • Wrestling

  22. Lazzi • Each actor has a notebook filled with well-rehearsed comic action such as: • Sententious remarks • Figures of speech • Love discourses • Rebukes

  23. Lazzi Used to: • Fill up time • Occasionally amuse the audience • Create a change of pace Different forms of Lazzi: • Weeping and laughing • Fear • Knocking at the door • Fight

  24. Influence of Commedia dell’ Arte • The art form flourished throughout Europe. Outside Italy it had its greatest success in France as the Comédie-Italienne • In England, it was adapted in the harlequinade and the Punch-and-Judy show • Moliere—French playwright during 17th century • Shakespeare’s plays such as “The Tempest” • The silent treatment of mime • Beaumarchais’ Le Barbier de Seville