Slapstick and Comic Violence in Commedia dell’Arte

Authored by: Dr Louise Peacock

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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Slapstick and comic violence are so central to both Commedia scenarios and lazzi that they are impossible to ignore, contributing as they do so much to the audience’s enjoyment of the performance. It is, therefore, worth considering how comic violence is presented to the audience and the ways in which that presentation guides their response to it. Exploration of the purpose of comic violence is also relevant. Sometimes it serves as a structural device: as a way to punctuate the performance; at others it allows the performers to pass comment on the society and times in which they live and work. Beyond these considerations it is important to analyse how slapstick violence might have been performed on the traditional Commedia stage.

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