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Commedia Dell'Arte: Art Form Centered on People and Their World

  • Date Submitted: 03/25/2010 03:52 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.7 
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Commedia dell'arte is a truly popular form of theatre - of the people, by the people, for the people.
Commedia dell'arte is definitely an art form centered on people and their world. Although its origins are hazy due to the illiteracy of its first performers and audience, it is believed to have stemmed from the carnivals in Italy during the sixteenth century. It rose from the people from folk theatre, which used masks and music, and from the charlatans using pretense as a means of earning money.
The scenarios involved in Commedia arose from the thematic concerns the form had. It was mainly concerned with examining the human condition via satire. Therefore, the canovaccios were filled with driving themes such as food, drink, sex, love, money and vengeance. The artists created the scenarios to fit into the peoples living conditions as a safety valve. They could laugh at their situation on stage, making their conditions a little more bearable. In this way, Commedia was designed by troupes, simply the Italian public, for their audience and the people.
Stock characters came from the people in that they were often satirization of them. Ill Dottore, an expert on everything who could talk unendingly, was a satirization of the bolognese academics. Ill Capitano was a satirization of invaders of Italy, particularly the Spanish army. Pulchinella is believed to have been derived directly from an interjecting peasant whom the troupes found entertaining. Such characters as these were created because the audience could relate to them and laugh. As the people changed, so too did stock characters. More were added into the list of masks, and elements such as costume changed to suit the society the play was directed at.
Performance features of the performances were directed straight to the people. The amount of credit the audience gave the actors, determined the energy of the characters. For example, if a crowd cheered Arlecchinos antics on, he would play this up by continuing...

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