Performing Commedia dell’Arte, 1570-1630 explores the performance techniques employed in commedia dell’arte and the ways in which they served to rapidly spread the ideas that were to form the basis of modern theatre throughout Europe.
Chapters include one on why, what, and how actors improvised, one on acting styles, including dialects, voice and gesture; and one on masks and their uses and importance. These chapters on historical performance are followed by a coda on commedia dell’arte today. Together they offer readers a look at both past and present iterations of these performances.
Suitable for both scholars and performers, Performing Commedia dell’Arte, 1570-1630 bears on essential questions about the techniques of performance and their utility for this important theatrical form.
Winner of Ennio Flaiano Award in Italianistica, 2020.
Table of Contents
List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Improvisation: why, what, how 2. Acting styles: dialects, voice, gesture; 3. The uses of masks; 4. Coda: commedia dell’arte today; Index
Natalie Crohn Schmitt is Professor Emerita of Theatre and English at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA. Her wide-ranging scholarship includes Befriending the Commedia dell’Arte of Flaminio Scala: The Comic Scenarios (2014) and essays on commedia dell’arte in New Theatre Quarterly, Viator, Renaissance Drama, and Text and Performance Quarterly. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and of Humanities Center fellowships at Stanford University and at the University of Illinois.