Commedia Delle'Arte

2 3/4" x 1 1/2"
48 pages, 9 illustrations from Maurice Sand's Masques et Buffons

COMMEDIA DELLE'ARTE is a theatrical genre that formed in 16th century Italy when street performers joined traveling acting troupes. They devised an improvisatory and very theatrical form of comedy that spread from Italy to the rest of Europe, and greatly influenced the arts of each country where it found a home.

Commedia is distinctive among theatrical forms for several things: the characters, very simple stock types that are defined by the leather half-masks they wear, and the codification of a large vocabulary of bits, shtick, accents, bits of business, funny walks, gags, comic voices, and pratfalls common to all the performers. The Lecherous Old Man, the Country Bumpkin, the Amorous Youth, the Braggart Soldier, the Sweet Young Thing and her Clever Lady's Maid; add to these a good helping of mistaken identity, wet laundry, acrobatics, lost love-tokens, and slapstick, and a commedia delle'arte company could fit them into any of a dozen scenarios. If you've ever seen the Three Stooges, you've seen the survival of Commedia delle'Arte into the modern world.

The book contains short essays on the history, scenarios, characters and masks of Commedia, descriptions of the main stock characters, and illustrations by Maurice Sand. The book is bound in unbleached muslin, which supports a basswood model of a theater flat on the front and back. The volume has a paper title pasted to the front and spine.

This product was added to our catalog  October 24, 2009