1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell'Arte

Edited By Judith Chaffee, Oliver Crick Copyright 2015
    540 Pages
    by Routledge

    540 Pages
    by Routledge

    From Commedia dell’Arte came archetypal characters that are still with us today, such as Harlequin and Pantalone, and the rediscovered craft of writing comic dramas and masked theatre. From it came the forces that helped create and influence Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lopes de Vega, Goldoni, Meyerhold, and even the glove puppet, Mr Punch.

    The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte is a wide-ranging volume written by over 50 experts that traces the history, characteristics, and development of this fascinating yet elusive theatre form. In synthesising the elements of Commedia, this book introduces the history of the Sartori mask studio; presents a comparison between Gozzi and Goldoni’s complicated and adversarial approaches to theatre; invites discussions on Commedia’s relevance to Shakespeare, and illuminates re-interpretations of Commedia in modern times.

    The authors are drawn from actors, mask-makers, pedagogues, directors, trainers, and academics, all of whom add unique insights into this fundamental pillar of western theatre. Notable contributions include:


    • Donato Sartori on the twentieth century Sartori mask

    • Rob Henke on the Form and Freedom in Commedia Improvisation

    • Anna Cottis on Carlo Boso

    • Didi Hopkins on One Man, Two Guv’nors

    • Kenneth Richards on acting companies

    • Antonio Fava on Commedia dell’Arte

    • Joan Schirle on Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and women in Commedia

    • M. A. Katritzky on Commedia Iconography.


    Table of Contents

    Notes on Contributors




    PART I: The Defining Features

    1. The Pre-eminence of the Actor in Renaissance Context:

    Subverting the Social Order Scott McGehee (US, IT)

    The Scenarios

    2. Form and Freedom: Between Scenario and Stage Robert Henke (US)

    3. Parallel Processing: Two Playwrights, Scala and Shakespeare Tim Fitzpatrick (AUS)

    The Troupes

    4. The Commedia dell’arte Acting Companies Kenneth Richards (US)

    The Stock Characters

    5. You Must have Heard of Harlequin… Michele Bottini (IT)

    6. Pantalone and The Doctor: The Old Men of Commedia Peter Jordan (HK)

    7. The Young Lovers Richard Stockton Rand (US)

    8. Interpreting the Capitano’s Multiple Mask-Shapes Mace Perlman (US)

    9. Le Servette in Commedia dell’Arte Julie Goell (US)

    10. Carnival, Comedy and the Commedia: A Case Study

    of the Mask of Scaramouche Stephen J.Knapper UK)

    11. Official Recognition of Pulcinella Antonio Fava (IT)

    12. The Many Faces of Brighella: The Knave We Love to Hate Artemis Preeshi (US)

    The Masks

    13. A Mask-maker’s Journey Stefano Perocco di Meduna (IT)

    14. Mask Performance for a Contemporary Commedia dell’Arte Carlos Garcia Estévez


    15. New Roles for The Mask in Twentieth Century Theatre Donato Sartori (IT)


    16. Grommelot John Rudlin (UK/FR)


    17. Lazzi Mel Gordon (US)

    18. Principles of Comedy for Commedia dell’Arte Brian Foley (US)

    19. Slapstick and Comic Violence in Commedia dell’Arte Louise Peacock (UK)

    PART 2: Historical Contexts: What we Know from Whom, About What, and Why it Matters

    20. Aristocratic Archaeology: Greco-Roman Roots Paul Monaghan (CA)

    21. The Rise of Commedia dell’Arte in Italy: a Historical Perspective Kate Meehan (US)

    22. The Coming Together Olly Crick (UK)

    23. The Great Ruzante. Linda J. Carroll (US)

    24. Staging and Staging Practices in Early Commedia dell’Arte Franklin Hildy and

    Matthew Wilson (US)

    25. Commedia dell’Arte and the Spanish Golden Age Theatre Nancy D’Antuono (US)

    26. Celestial Sirens of the Commedia dell’Arte Stage Anne MacNeil (US)

    27. Incidental music in Commedia dell’Arte Performances Thomas Heck (US)

    28. Meetings on Naxos: Opera and Commedia dell’Arte Roger Savage (UK)

    29. Classical Ballet and Commedia dell’Arte: Influences. Barry Grantham (UK)

    30. Images of the Commedia dell’Arte M .A.Katritzky (UK)

    31. The Old Man’s Spectacles: Shakespeare and Commedia Andy Grewar (SA)

    32. Shakespeare’s Clown/Zanni Connection: Hybridizing Commedia’s Zanni

    Sara Romersberger (US)

    33. Writing for the Elite: Moliere, Marivaux, and Beaumarchais Elizabeth Goldsmith


    34. Goldoni and Gozzi: Reformers with Separate Agendas Michael Griffin (CA)

    35. Commedia dell’Arte as Grotesque Dance Domenico Pietropaolo (CA)

    36. The Myth of Pierrot Mark Evans (UK)

    37. Speechless Spectacles: Commedia Pantomime in France

    England, and the Americas during the 18th & 19th Centuries Matthew Wilson (US)

    38. From Meyerhold to Eisenstein: Commedia dell’Arte in Russia J. Douglas Clayton


    39. Georgia Strehler’s Arte: A Commedia Master Directs Shakespeare Mace Perlman


    40. Giovanni Poli: The Missing Link Guilia Filacanapa (IT/FR)

    41. Arlecchino Appleseeed: Or How Carlo Mazzone-Clementi Brought Commedia to

    the New World Joan Schirle (US)

    PART 3: Alive and Well and Living In…..

    42. Despite Everything, Commedia dell’Arte is Alive in

    Italy. Long Live Commedia! Fabio Mangolini (IT)

    43. Dario Fo and the Commedia Dell’Arte Antonio Scuderi (US)

    44. Carlo Boso: Fear and Laughter in Popular Theatre Anna Cottis (UK/FR)

    45. Antonio Fava John Rudlin (UK)

    46. Happy Bedfellows: Commedia dell’Arte, Politics, and the

    San Francisco Mime Troupe Claudia Orenstein (US)

    47. Commedia in Gloucestershire: Rural Contexts Olly Crick (UK)

    48. I Sebastiani : Commedia Geeks Judith Chaffee (US)

    49. Women on Stage and in the Wings Joan Schirle (US)

    50. Commedia Counterparts: Middle Eastern and Asian Connections Kathy Foley (US)

    51. Commedia for Contempoary Theatre Makers Davis Robinson (US)

    52. Roots and Routes: One Man, Two Guv’nors Didi Hopkins (UK)

    53. Commedia in a New World Context: The Comedy and Poetry of Survival

    Katrien van Beurden (NL)

    PART 4: Commedia dell’Arte Bibliography

    54. Commedia dell’Arte Essential Bibliography


    Judith Chaffee is Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston University, and head of movement training for actors. She trained in Commedia with Antonio Fava, Julie Goell, Stanley Allen Sherman, and Carlos García Estévez.
    Olly Crick is a performer, trainer and director, having trained in Commedia under Barry Grantham and Carlo Boso. He is founder of The Fabulous Old Spot Theatre Company.