Authored by: Mel Gordon

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415745062
eBook ISBN: 9781315750842
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613374


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The Commedia dell’Arte (1550–1750) is often cited as the progenitor of modern acting in Europe. From its beginnings, the itinerant Italian troupes presented themselves as professional ensembles with long-established reputations. They usually consisted of two or three extended families and almost always included both female and child performers. Since their productions rarely highlighted sophisticated plotting, extensive dialog, or complex visual effects, the Commedia spectators focused their attentions on individual actors and their comic interplay.

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