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Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte - Robert Henke

Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

Paperback Published: 16th December 2010
ISBN: 9780521172387
Number Of Pages: 263

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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.

Industry Reviews

Review of the hardback: '... 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
"Henke's study is a valuable addition to the scholarship on the Commedia dell'Arte." - Renaissance Quarterly
"For theater artists and educators interested in producing commedia dell'arte today, Henke's text provides a tremendous resource for re-creating authentic performances... This text should become one of the fundamental reference sources for this subject, standing alongside the works of Nicoll, Smith, Ducharte, Oreglia, Lea, and Fo." - Sixteenth Century Journal, Andrew Vorder Bruegge, St. Cloud State University

List of figuresp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Plan of studyp. 2
Definitions and scopep. 5
The business of playingp. 6
Improvisation and charactersp. 12
Improvisationp. 12
Character system: structure and fluidityp. 15
Individual rolesp. 19
Dual exchangep. 24
Residual orality in early modern Italy and the commedia dell'artep. 31
Medium and modep. 31
Capturing oralityp. 37
Rhetoric and the commedia dell'artep. 41
Topical organization and genericip. 43
The uses of literaturep. 45
Venetian buffonip. 50
Buffoni performance style and relevance to the commedia dell'artep. 50
Social rangep. 55
Four scenes of the Venetian buffonip. 56
Print and oral traditionp. 63
Orality and dramaturgyp. 67
Early male actorsp. 69
The company of Ser Maphio, 1545-1553p. 69
The 1550sp. 74
Male actors in the piazza and the banquet hallp. 79
Early actressesp. 85
Mantua, 1566-1568p. 85
Valerini's orationp. 94
Scala's innamorata and the "Pazzia" of Isabellap. 100
Zanni texts, 1576-1588p. 106
The Lacrimoso lamentop. 106
Zanni texts: description and context of publicationp. 114
The relationship of zanni texts to performancep. 117
The genres of the zannip. 120
Genealogies and testamentip. 121
Utopian fantasies and the vantop. 126
The sognop. 127
"Doctrinal" poemsp. 129
Contrasti and dialoghip. 130
Conclusions and caprices: early texts of the Dottore and Pantalonep. 137
De'Bianchi's conclusionip. 137
Epistolary riddlesp. 141
The Dottore and Pantalonep. 146
The Capricci: a repertoire for Pantalonep. 147
Tristano Martinelli: A company buffonep. 153
Harlequin in Paris, 1584-1585p. 153
Lord of the charlatansp. 158
The 1600-1601 French tournée and the Compositions de rhetoriquep. 160
The letter as performancep. 168
Conclusionp. 172
Theatrical and literary "composition" in Francesco Andreini and Flaminio Scalap. 175
Andreini's Bravurep. 175
Flaminio Scala: a long careerp. 181
The perfumer and the underworldp. 183
Assessing the Teatro delle favole rappresentativep. 185
What the scenarios revealp. 188
The Prologues to Il finto maritop. 192
The generation of Cecchini: Technical, moral, and dramaturgical publicationsp. 197
Cecchini: life and business practicesp. 198
Cecchini's worksp. 201
Nicolò Barbierip. 207
Domenico Brunip. 208
Giovan Battista Andreinip. 210
Twilight and renewalp. 215
Notesp. 217
Bibliographyp. 248
Indexp. 260
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521172387
ISBN-10: 0521172381
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 263
Published: 16th December 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.41