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Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

  • $135.95 GST included
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Title: Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte
Author: Henke, Robert
Price: $135.95

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.

Robert Henke closely considers commedia dell'arte texts to demonstrate how the spoken word and written literature were fruitfully combined in performance. Henke examines a number of primary sources including performance accounts, actors' contracts, letters, popular poems, memorials of deceased actors, scenarios, and printed plays, among other documents. Henke analyzes the character system in the commedia dell'arte, individual roles, Venetian buffoni, and provides detailed case studies of early actors and actresses.

While previous studies have concentrated on either the oral or the literary aspects of commedia dell'arte, this was the first book to consider how these two elements might have worked together to create this rich and fascinating theatre.

'... teacher friendly ... inspired insights ... this engaging and worthwhile perspective on the commedia dell'arte offers plenty of food for thought.' Journal of Theatre Research International

List of figures;
1. Introduction;
2. Improvisation and characters;
3. Residual orality in early modern Italy and the commedia dell'arte;
4. Venetian buffoni;
5. Early male actors;
6. Early actresses;
7. Zanni texts, 1576-88;
8. Conclusions and caprices: early texts of the Dottore and Pantalone;
9. Tristano Martinelli: a company buffone;
10. Theatrical and literary 'composition' in Francesco Andreini and Flaminio Scala;
11. The generation of Cecchini: technical, moral and dramaturgical publications;

Robert Henke is an Associate Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at Washington University, St Louis. The recipient of fellowships from Fulbright and Villa I Tatti, he has published articles on Shakespeare and Italian Renaissance drama in Comparative Drama, Genre, and Theatre Survey, among other journals. He is also the author of the book Pastoral Transformations: Italian Tragicomedy and Shakespeare's Late Plays.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/12/2002
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780521643245
Publishing status: To Order
Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte