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Look Inside Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte

  • Date Published: December 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521172387

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About the Authors
  • The actors of the commedia dell'arte (the sixteenth-century Italian professional theater) usually did not perform from scripted drama. They improvised their performances from a shared plot and thorough knowledge of individual character roles. Robert Henke analyzes commedia dell'arte texts to demonstrate how the spoken word and written literature were combined in performance. Henke examines primary sources including performance accounts, actors' contracts, letters and other documents.

    • Other studies have concentrated on either the oral or literature aspects of the commedia dell'arte, but have not considered how they might have worked together
    • Provides close readings of many commedia dell'arte texts: performance accounts, actors' contracts, letters, popular poems, memorials of deceased actors, scenarios, etc., many never before analysed
    • Supplies detailed historical and cultural contexts for the commedia dell'arte
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "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

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521172387
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    Acknowledgements
    1. Introduction
    2. Improvisation and characters
    3. Residual orality in early modern Italy and the commedia dell'arte
    4. Venetian buffoni
    5. Early male actors
    6. Early actresses
    7. Zanni texts, 1576–88
    8. Conclusions and caprices: early texts of the Dottore and Pantalone
    9. Tristano Martinelli: a company buffone
    10. Theatrical and literary 'composition' in Francesco Andreini and Flaminio Scala
    11. The generation of Cecchini: technical, moral and dramaturgical publications
    Notes
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    Robert Henke, Washington University, St Louis

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