Art comedy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_0TAXWt8hY

A. La Commedia dell'Arte is a genre of popular Italian theater, born in the 16th century, where masked actors improvise comedies marked by:

- _______________________________ (naively)

- _______________________________ (from list, from bedriegerij)

- _______________________________ (from vindingrijkheid)


This genre appeared with the first traveling comedy troupes that used masks from 1528. The genre literally means: "theater performed by people of the art", that is, professional actors.


B. Here are some typical masks. It's up to you to complete the frame correctly!

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C. Now let's look at the following excerpt which presents all the characters of the Commedia dell'Arte.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGh-eFc6NN0


Combine each character with their physical and psychic description.

Harlequin - Brighella - Scaramouche - the Doctor - Pants - the Captain - Polichinelle - Covielle - Colombine - Isabella - Lélio

1. This character wears a strawberry around his neck and sports a black nose. He believes he is cultivated but he lacks solid knowledge.


2. Its hooked nose supports an olive-green mask. He makes fun of old people, miserly and lovers.


3. She is at the same time the confidante of her mistress, a courtesan, and a key character in the intrigues of love.


4. He is ugly and obese, his character is detestable: liar, rude, lazy. It is also found in puppet pieces.


5. He can be recognized by his pointed beard and red and black coat. He is a retired trader, stingy and attracted to young girls.


6. She wears elegant and fashionable clothes. She wants to be tender at the beginning of a romance, but can be cruel.


7. This nice valet is a bon vivant who likes to play and play with others. He is smart and wears a suit with multicolored diamonds.


8. His name means "little fighter". This character brags and always ends up being routed.


9. He is a boastful and fearful soldier who believes himself to be irresistible to women who make fun of him.


10. Despite her general culture, good manners and natural elegance, she can appear very ridiculous.


11. He is a charlatan by profession. He is known for his puns, satirical jokes and antics.

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Description of the characters

1. This character shows little intelligence. He is stupid, hungry and gullible. He is the humble servant.
  

My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 

 

2. She is the mischievous and charming servant, she is a comic character who is not really an example of virtue like Harlequin, his eternal suitor. It attracts sympathies by a coquetry very specific to the fairer sex.


My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 


3. He is a Neapolitan character who has a beak-shaped nose. Like Arlecchino, he is an idiotic servant but who sometimes adopts contradictory attitudes: he can be as shrewd and courageous as he is a coward.


My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 


4. He is the character of a boastful and conceited soldier. He Spanishizes Italian words to describe his large military enterprises. It can also be called: Fracasse, Brise fer, etc. His role in the Commedia dell'Arte is that of the demanding lover. We often see him declaim long tirades about his warlike gestures to which no one pays attention.


My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 


5. He is the most famous Venetian figure. From his first appearance in the companies of the Commedia dell'Arte, "the old man" is also called "the Magnificent". He is an old merchant, often rich and esteemed by the nobility, but he can also embody an old ruined merchant: in any case he remains a very special old man because despite his age, he is able to make his loving "advances" that never end in a positive way.


My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 


6. He represents the comic character par excellence: sometimes a doctor, sometimes a lawyer or even a notary. This character comes from the student spirit and ancient traditions of the University of Bologna. He is a presumptuous, proud character who likes to flaunt his knowledge of Latin quotes. When he begins to speak, it is almost impossible to interrupt him.

 

My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

7. He is a clever, ingenious servant who knows how to help but also fool his master. He has no scruples and knows how to adapt to all trades: he can become an innkeeper, soldier, first servant or licensed thief; he is the cunning servant of the Commedia dell'Arte. He is an expert musician and singer who often accompanies himself on the guitar.

 

My name is .............................................. .................................................. .........................

 


D. Some excerpts from Goldoni's play "Arlequin, valet of two masters":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIgLy-XYoU4


E. An excerpt from an Italian company that combines Italian comedy theater with Neapolitan music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsUIZ1GdrC8


Definition of the Commedia dell'Arte and explanation of the "lazzi"

The Commedia dell'Arte is played not from a text written in advance, but from a simple "canvas" or scenario. From there, the actors improvise and build a dialogue. The piece is thus a kind of collective creation. In this system everything relies on the actor. Success therefore depends on the liveliness of the responses. That supposes in the troop, a great unity and a great solidarity.
     
The actors can make faces and antics, mimic a series of episodes, or have recourse to "lazzi". These are stereotypical gestures or jokes, such as slapping the foot or catching a fly in the air and chewing it with delight.

In this theater, speaking is not the essential resource. It is the makeup of his character: his look, his costume and his way of standing that decide success.

The comic side of this theater lies in the ridiculous or the monstrosities: the deformed faces, the cartoonish noses, the pointed foreheads, the twisted legs, ...

These defects can be reproduced by means of masks or by art. So everything is in the game. The basis of this theater is popular caricature.

The lazzi

A "lazzo" is a kind of buffoon stage game, an improvised mimicry which characterizes the character. We can compare the "lazzo" to when you stop, in life, to tie your shoe, for example. It's an inspired part of the action, but it does not move it forward. The goal is to make the audience laugh. Laughter therefore depends on stereotyping, derision and exaggeration of characters.

An example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3c-0ZBloHA

1. The acrobatic lazzi

-the pursuit of Harlequin by someone else
-Arlequin holds a glass of wine in his hand and gives a start without wasting a drop of wine
-a "zanni" holds food dishes in both hands and hits someone in the face with one of their feet

2. The violent lazzi

-Arlequin and Pierrot are face to face and look each other in the eyes, they are ready to attack; the captain must intervene to separate the two but it is he who receives the most slaps
-Colombine feels upset and asks others to duel to protect his honor
- Harlequin is about to be attacked but he is hiding behind someone else and using them as a shield
-a "zanni" pretends to be dead to make fun of others; when he gets up, others think he's a vampire or a zombie
-Arlequin or Pierrot remove the chair when the captain wants to sit down

3. The language lazzi

-the doctor uses English words believing that they are Latin expressions
-a "zanni" has met a stranger, he uses the words spoken by the stranger and gives ridiculous and impossible translations for these words
-Colombine is studying another language, for example English; she offends others by pronouncing each word incorrectly (eg "foot" becomes "fuck")
-a "zanni" reads a shopping list with a german accent (eg), he pronounces everything in a funny way

4. Culinary lazzi

-Colombine faints and asks for a glass of water; Coviello saw the scene and pretends to pass out too, but asks for some wine.
-Harlequin disguised himself as a hairdresser and he is shaving the doctor, he rinses the badger in the doctor's glass of water
-a "zanni" is cooking for the others, he doesn't stop tasting to add herbs and spices; in the end, there is hardly anything left to eat for others
-a character is telling a story that does not interest Arlequin; this one pretends to take cherries out of his hat and eat them, every time he finishes a cherry he throws the pit in the direction of the character
-Arlequin enters shouting that the kitchen is on fire, all the characters leave the room to go see the fire, meanwhile Arlequin is eating their meal; as the others return to say there is no fire, Arlequin retorts that he spoke of a kitchen on fire but it was not theirs
-Brighella and Arlequin are eating together, Brighella throws food on the ground and imitates a dog's bark, Harlequin goes to look for the food that has fallen on the ground and eats it, just like dogs do

5. The lazzi of love

-Pants or the captain sing a serenade below the balcony of Isabella, the maid, she throws a bucket of water out the window
- Harlequin and Colombine are kissing, suddenly someone knocks on the door; Colombine says that it will surely be Pants and that Harlequin must hide; Harlequin pretends to be a chair (Columbine threw a tablecloth over him); Pants come in and sit on Arlequin
-Pantalon wants to kiss a girl, he closes his eyes and shows his lips to the girl; the girl pretends to kiss him but she holds something else against Pants lips

6. Lazzi of rebellion

-Pedrolino is dreaming, everyone tries to wake him up, but he remains silent and absent; when the captain pinches him to see if he's sleeping, Pedrolino screams; everyone is scared and runs away
-Pulcinella does not cease interrupting the speech of his master, this one always says "shut up"; at some point, Pulcinella shouts three times "shut up" after her master
-Pulcinella is watching her master's house, when the latter comes back and asks if there is anyone at home, Pulcinella replies that there is not a fly. But when the master does enter his home, he sees that there are many guests. He is outraged, but Pulcinella replies that he said there were no flies, only people.

7. The stupid lazzi

-Pantalon and Zanni are in pursuit of the man who hit them, they train among themselves to be able to attack the aggressor when they face him; when they meet the captain they try to duel each other with the captain
-The doctor can't pronounce Pant's name correctly, it becomes an embarrassing and stupid situation
- Harlequin has been rejected by his beloved, he wants to commit suicide and begins to compare his situation to that of celebrities. Pex. "Didn't Cleopatra commit suicide for the honor? Or was it for Julius Caesar or for Mark Antony?" etc

8. The transformation lazzi

-a "zanni" wants to lead someone else by boat; when the latter asks him something, he answers in an affirmative way ("yes"), a little later he changes his mind and answers in a negative way ("no") to the same question; it's the "yes / no" lazzo, always very funny
-a "zanni" does not stop lying, at some point he starts to get tangled up in his own lies / get tangled up in his brushes
- Harlequin giggles, little by little his laughter turns to tears and he starts to cry hysterically

9. Lazzi of deception

-Lindor (the lover) disguised himself as a music teacher and gives a music lesson to Rosine (the lover), the doctor supervises the singing lesson but begins to doze off, Lindor and Rosine stop the lesson and kiss each other; suddenly the doctor wakes up and the two lovers quickly resume their singing lessons; this scene is played repeatedly
- a "zanni" tells another "zanni" that his master mistreated him, that he then insulted him and that his master no longer reprimanded him; the second valet tells the first that he will try to do the same with the master, but after insulting him he gets slaps and starts whining / lamenting
- Harlequin disguised himself as a doctor and pretended to be able to treat his patients; Now, he prescribes fake drugs and offers ridiculous remedies
-Pants boasts of having lived incredible stories with figures from Greco-Roman and medieval history

10. The lazzi that advance the plot

- one or more characters hide in a bag or in a suitcase to be transported to a house or other specific location
-Pedrolino was paid to assassinate the captain; when he shoots his pistol, nothing happens and the captain goes quietly; Pedrolino then remembers that he forgot to put bullets in the gun
-it is dark and different characters are sleeping on the floor; they don't see and recognize each other and are constantly mistaken (scenes where they run into each other)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pierrot lunaire and the mime / pantomime

 

Pierrot (Pedrolino) is a character from the old Italian comedy, one of the "zanni" or buffoon valets. Pierrot is candid, playful, and has a certain amount of common sense. His clothing is white. He is not wearing a mask and has makeup on his face. Often in the Commedia dell'Arte, he is Harlequin’s rival because he is in love with Columbine.

 

 


“Pierrot”, Antoine Watteau

            

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvqv5Y5hyNI (presentation of Pierrot)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-1raOEfP4o (Marcel Marceau)


It is still found today in:

1. on __________________________________________________

2. the __________________________________________________

3. the __________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pierrot and Pierrette /
Pierrot and Colombine

 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T2UeKKac-s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz_f9B4pPtg

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