ABOUT COMMEDIA DELL'ARTE
Commedia Dell' Arte is the lively form of
mask theatre that flourished in 16th and 17th Century Europe. Commedia
is an actor's theatre. It is an exciting, challenging, physical,
part of our western heritage.
Traditionally, these crowd-pleasing troupes played to
thousands, relying on their exceptional physical skills, quick comic
timing, and sharp satiric wit to bring familiar, broad characters to
ebullient life. BellaLuna welcomes you to join with us in honouring
Commedia Troupes were the comic stars of the time - they
were social satirists, improvisers, with great acrobatic abilities. Who
does that now? Can Mary Walsh or Rick Mercer do a backflip or juggle
fire while they're making funny? Not a chance. BellaLuna strives to
mingle the Excitement of 'Cirque Du Soleil', the Satire of 'This Hour
Has 22 Minutes' and the Spice in a great plate of Spaghetti Puttanesca.
But enough about us, here's more about our predecessors...
Click on a subject or scroll down
CHARACTERS - Description
of principal Commedia Personalities
RESOURCES - A Brief List
- Classic Scene and Character Images
Pantalone is the greedy old miser who comes from Venice. He usually is
the master of Arlecchino and usually carries a bag of money. His mask
has a hooked nose and usually some grey or white facial hair. An animal
association is the turkey or hawk.
- Il Dottore
Il Dottore is a professor or a doctor who comes from Bologna. He likes
to talk a lot and listen to himself talk! What he says is usually
nonsense. His mask emphasizes his forehead and nose. There are no
cheeks on this mask. An animal association is the boar or owl.
Arlecchino is a mischievous male servant who comes from the city of
Bergamo. He has a bump on his head and he usually carries a baton or
slapstick. His mask has a bump on the forehead. Some of the older masks
were all black. An animal association is the monkey or cat.
Pulcinella is a malicious servant (male or female) or innkeeper who
comes from Naples. He enjoys seeing other people in pain. His mask has
a very distinct hooked nose. Pulcinella literally means ³little
chick² in Italian.
Smeraldina (also known as Ricciolina, Columbina, Franchescina) is the
maid servant. She is quite a smart woman and usually works for either
Dottore or Pantalone. She wears no mask. She is in love with
- Il Capitano
Il Capitano is a foreign soldier usually from Spain or France. He likes
to boast a lot but, inside he is a coward. His mask has a very long
nose. An animal association is the rooster.
THE YOUNG LOVERS:
The two lovers (female: Isabella, Rosaura, Flaminia, Vittoria and male:
Silvio, Lelio, Orazio, Flaminio, Vittorio) are usually the children of
Dottore and Pantalone. They are often secretly in love against their
fathers wishes. They wear no masks. An animal association is the
peacock. They come for the region of Tuscany.
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Commedia Dell'Arte Ducharte, Pierre L., Dover Books,
The Commedia Dell'Arte Orgeglia, G., Metheun
Scenarios of the Commedia Dell'Arte Scala, Flaminio
Lazzi Gordon, Mel
Commedia Scene Study Rolfe, Bari
Commedia Dell'Arte:An Actor's Handbook Rudlin, John
Masks made by Amleto Sartori or Donato Sartori (Padua,
Masks made by Antonio Fava
Drawings of the Commedia by Jaques Callot
Drawings of the Commedia by Maurice Sand (Beautiful series from
around the 1800's)
by Carlo Gozzi
by Dario Fo - Tricks of the Trade
by Carlo Goldoni - Servant of Two Masters and any of
his early plays
by Shakespeare - Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice (Shylock), Midsummer
Night's Dream (The rude mechanicals), the jesters and fools,
Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, John Ritter, Kramer
TV sitcoms of today: have a look at the characters
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Commedia Dell' Arte Images by Maurice Sand
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Famous Commedia Proverb:
"A Company That Eats Together, Stays Together"