Commedia Dell’arte. The Masks. Arlecchino Brighella Pantalone Smerdaldina Truffaldino. Origins.
The Masks Arlecchino Brighella Pantalone Smerdaldina Truffaldino
Origins • form of theatre that began in Italy in the 14th century but peaked in the 16th and 17th century characterized by masked "types", the advent of the actress and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios.
performers played on outside, temporary stages, and relied on various props (robbe) in place of extensive scenery. The better troupes were patronized by nobility, and during carnival period might be funded by the various towns or cities, in which they played
Key to the success of the commedia was the ability of the performers to travel to achieve fame and financial success. The most successful troupes performed before kings and nobility allowing individual actors, such as Isabella Andreini and Dionisio Martinelli, to become well-known.
characters of the commedia usually represent foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado.
The first date certainly associated with an Italian commedia dell’arte troupe is 1545. The most famous early company was the Gelosi, headed by Francesco Andreini and his wife, Isabella; the Gelosi performed from 1568 to 1604. Of the same period were the Desiosi, formed in 1595, to which Tristano Martinelli (c. 1557–1630), the famous Arlecchino, belonged; the Comici Confidènti, active from 1574 to 1621; and the Uniti, under Drusiano Martinelli and his wife, Angelica, a company first mentioned in 1574.
Purpose of the form • As a form of theatrical presentation (comedy) • For the form of entertainment (slapstick humor) • Make a living by entertaining people from town to town • To bring glory and pay respect to Kings