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Commedia dell'Arte Texts

Commedia dell'arte is a form of theater characterized by masked "types" which began in Italy in the 16th century and was responsible for the advent of the actress and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios. Commedia was a response to the political and economic crisis of the 16th century and became the first entirely professional form of theater.

The characters of the commedia usually represent fixed social types, stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado. Characters such as Pantalone, the miserly Venetian merchant; Dottore Gratiano, the pedant from Bologna; or Arlecchino, the mischievous servant from Bergamo, began as satires on Italian "types" and became the archetypes of many of the favorite characters of 17th- and 18th-century European theatre.

Commedia Oz - Playing Commedia in Contemporary Australia

Commedia Oz - Playing Commedia in Contemporary Australia

by Steve Gration

Designed to assist the interpretation and playing of Commedia in an Australian context Commedia Oz is a training manual for teachers, students, actors and directors. Chapters cover the history and influence of Commedia; suggestions for modern interpretations; activities and exercises; the role of the director and the actors journal; training actors; an interview with Jacques Lecoq (the French Commedia actor/trainer); a professional script; and ideas for units of work and assessment.


Commedia Plays - Scenarious - Scripts - Lazzi

Commedia Plays - Scenarious - Scripts - Lazzi

by Barry Grantham

A collection of eight short plays illustrating the different periods and styles of this famous dramatic genre. Each of the eight plays carries its own detailed introduction and each play is presented both in outline form and in full text, allowing performers to improvise around the theme or to mount a fully-fledged staging. The second half of the book consists of a unique compilation of the Lazzi that form the basis of Commedia - we might call them bits of comic business - ranging from the Aside and the Chase to whole scenes such as 'The Proposal' and 'Caught in the Act'. As well as being suitable for performance on stage, the plays can be used as the basis for classroom and workshop study. And the bits of comic business from the Lazzi can be inserted into the written text or explored and improvised in the drama studio.


Playing Commedia

Playing Commedia

by Barry Grantham

Graded exercises introduce the reader to the history and techniques of commedia, originating in mid-16th century Italy. Topics covered include: the commedia masks; mime and movement games; using face masks; and creating the roles. Illustrations demonstrate posture, gesture, costume and masks.


Teaching Commedia dell'Arte

Teaching Commedia dell'Arte

by Tony Kishawi

This book is about commedia dell'arte. Not so much its history, although that is touched upon, but the primary focus is how to teach it. Commedia has so much to offer students of acting, but it has to be unlocked, and its not always easy to do that. Modern performance, historical accounts, books about the subject, show us the end results but tend to lack a process to actually get you there. Over many years of travelling, performing and teaching Commedia to people of all ages and backgrounds, Tony has developed an extensive array of exercises to help students discover and create great Commedia'.


The Comic Mask in the Commedia Dell’Arte

The Comic Mask in the Commedia Dell’Arte
(Actor Training, Improvisation, and the Poetics of Survival)

by Antonio Fava

A densely layered text combining historical fact, personal experience, philosophical speculation, and passionate opinion, and including copious illustrations - period drawings, prints, and color photographs of leather Commedia masks made by Fava himself - The Comic Mask in the Commedia dell'Arte is a rich work of singular insight into one of the world's most venerable forms of theater.


Commedia Dell’Arte - A Handbook for Troupes

Commedia Dell’Arte - A Handbook for Troupes

by John Rudlin and Olly Crick

A companion to John Rudlin's best-selling "Commedia dell'Arte: A Handbook for Actors", this book covers both the history and professional practice of commedia dell'arte companies from 1568 to the early 21st century. Suitable for both the beginner and the professional, it contains historical and contemporary company case histories, details on company organization, and tips on practical stagecraft.


Commedia Dell'arte- An Actor's Handbook

Commedia Dell'arte- An Actor's Handbook

by John Rudlin

John Rublin first examines the orgins of this vital theatrical form and charts its recent revival through the work of companies like Tag, Theatre de Complicite and the influential methods of Jacques Lecoq. The second part of the book provides a unique practical guide demonstrating how to approach the roles of Zanni, Arlecchion, Brighella, Pantalone, Dottore, and the Lovers in terms of movement, mask-work and voice; as well as offering a range of lazzi or comic business, improvisation exercises, sample monologues,and dialogues.


Italian Comedy

Italian Comedy

by Pierre L. Duchartre

Illustrated history of the beginnings, growth and influence of the commedia dell' arte. Describes improvisations, staging, marks, scenarios, acting troupes, and origins.


Lazzi - Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte

Lazzi - Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte

by Mel Gordon

This best-selling PAJ volume presents over 250 comedy routines used by commedia performers in Europe from 1550 to 1750. Includes an introduction, two complete commedia scenarios, and a glossary of commedia characters.


New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing (The Classic Illustrated Treatise on Commedia Dell'arte Performance )

New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing (The Classic Illustrated Treatise on Commedia Dell'arte Performance )

by Gregorio Lambranzi

Harlequin, Scaramouch, Pantalone, and other beloved figures from the Commedia dell'Arte grace the pages of this delightful work. These magnificent 103 black-and-white engravings were originally published in 1716 in Nuremberg. Little is known of the author, save that he was a Venetian ballet master -- his work bespeaks his prodigious gifts of imagination and creativity.


Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

by Robert Henke

This 2002 book explores the commedia dell'arte: the Italian professional theatre in Shakespeare's time. The actors of this theatre usually did not perform from scripted drama but improvised their performances from a shared plot and thorough knowledge of individual character roles.