La commedia dell'arte è nata in Italia nel XVI secolo e rimasta popolare sino al XVIII secolo. Non si trattava di un genere di rappresentazione teatrale, bensì di una diversa modalità di produzione degli spettacoli. Le rappresentazioni non erano basate su testi scritti ma dei canovacci detti anche scenari, i primi tempi erano tenute all'aperto con una scenografia fatta di pochi oggetti. Le compagnie erano composte da dieci persone: otto uomini e due donne. All'estero era conosciuta come "Commedia italiana."
Pretty impressive, eh? Like I know me some Italian! Okay, so what if I just copied that from the commedia entry on the Italian Wikipedia to impress those folks who only read the first paragraph? You know, superficial people, not like you second-paragraph types. The truth is that one of the regrets of my life is never having found the time to learn Italian. Some of my blog readers, however, did find the time to learn Italian, especially the ones who grew up in Italy, and since commedia dell'arte also grew up in Italy, there are, not surprisingly, Italian commedia books that I figure are worth including here. Of course I haven't read them, so you couldn't prove it by me, but here are four that may be of interest; if not, remember they were free!
Carlo Gozzi e la Commedia Dell Arte by Ernesto Masi (1890)
You'll find more about Gozzi in my two previous posts. This one is all of 25 pages long, whereas the one that follows on Goldoni, apparently in the same series (see below), is 151 pages.
Carlo Gozzi e La Commedia Dell Arte
Il Goldoni e la Commedia dell'Arte by Alfonso Aloi (1883)
Il Goldoni e La Commedia Dell Arte
Le Maschere Italiane Nella Commedia dell'Arte e Nel Teatro di Goldoni by Elvira Ferretti (1904)
This appears to be more about the masked characters than about the actual physical masks.
Le Maschere Italiane Nella Commedia Dell
Scenari Inediti della Commedia Dell'Arte
As most of you know, commedia performers improvised around specific scenarios, and the most famous of these is the 1611 collection attributed to Flaminio Scala. The following work, which translates as Unpublished Scenarios of the Commedia Dell'Arte, is not contemporaneous, but rather from 1880, and was collected by one Adolfo Bartoli, who
I am assuming to be the very same scholar of Italian literature that you can read about here.
Scenari Inediti Della Commedia Dell Arte
You can purchase the English translation of the Flaminio Scala scenario collection here.
You can read some scenarios used by the modern-day commedia troupe, I Sebastiani, by clicking here.
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