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Commedia Dell’ ARTE. Presented by: Harmoni Florence & Gerald Bentley. What is Commedia Dell’ Arte?. Commedia dell’arte translates as “comedy of skills”: an improvisational style of theater which began in sixteenth-century Italy and flourished in Europe for 200 years.

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Commedia Dell’ ARTE


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    1. Commedia Dell’ ARTE Presented by: Harmoni Florence & Gerald Bentley

    2. What is Commedia Dell’ Arte? • Commedia dell’arte translates as “comedy of skills”: an improvisational style of theater which began in sixteenth-century Italy and flourished in Europe for 200 years. • Commedia Dell’Arte could also be known as Italian comedy. Italian troupes traveled around and did humorous presentations during the 16th century.

    3. What else is there to know?? • The exact origins of commedia dell’arte are unclear. Most scholars believe it was influenced by ancient Roman and Greek comedy and by the medieval traditions of carnival acrobats and jugglers. • The first recorded performances took place in Padua, Italy in 1545. • A company consisted of anywhere from ten to fifteen performers. • The actors wore elaborate half-masks that exaggerated facial features to convey their character’s personality: a mask might have sunken cheeks and a long, pointy nose or chubby jowls with a pig-like snout.

    4. Characters of Commedia (top left) Pantalone- a merchant of Venice (of whom we'll have more to say later). He’s rich, he’s greedy, and he’s miserly (top right) Grantiano- a pendant, usually a lawyer. Because Pantalone and Grantiano are old male characters, they are reffered to as,”veechi”, which is Italian for old male characters (bottom left P. bottom right A.) Pedrolino and Arleechino- the servants of the two old men. Collectively they are known as zanni. The word zany comes from the actual two zannicharcters above..

    5. Where were the presentations performed? Most of the Commedia Dell’Arte presentations took place on the city streets, but some also took place on temporary stages.

    6. Plays • Lazzi • The Comic Mask in the Commedia Dell’Arte • Triumph of Pierrot

    7. Video • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRAwpxUe-sw • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZUnaNTfTzuM

    8. The Rise • By the end of the sixteenth century, popular commedia companies were traveling throughout Europe, performing in Spain, France, England, and Germany, as well as Eastern Europe. • The boisterous comedy influenced writers and performers all over the continent, including William Shakespeare, his fellow English playwright Ben Jonson, and French dramatist and actor Moliere. • Before the rise of commedia dell’arte, women were not generally permitted to perform in the theater.

    9. Quiz 1.Where did some of the presentations take place? a.City Streets b.Carnivals c.School d.Work centers 2.The translation for comedy of skills is Commedia dell’arte (T/F) 3.When did Commedia dell’arte begin? a.15th Century b.17th Century c.16th Century d.21st Century 4.Where was the first recorded performance? a. Canada b. England c. Italy d. China 5.How many performers did the company consist? a.20-25 b.15-20 c.10-15 d.5-10

    10. Quiz 6. What were one of the facial features on the half-masks that were made? a.Pointynose b.Bigeyes c.Littlelips d.Thickeyebrows 7. Commedia del arte was always performed on giant elaborate stages (T/F) 8. Pedrolino invented commedia del arte (T/F) 9.Arleechino was the servant (T/F) 10.The word zany comes from a.Thetwo friends b.Thetwo lovers c. The two zanni d. The two pants

    11. References http://books.google.com/books?id=Z7WYaq1jqsMC&dq=commedia+dell+arte&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s http://www.factionoffools.org/history http://www.humanracetheatre.org/commedia_dell'arte_AUG_7_SCREEN.pdf