The Coming Together

Authored by: Olly Crick

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

10.4324/9781315750842.ch23

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Abstract

Commedia dell’Arte developed from a wide variety of sources: the artistic impulses of the Renaissance, carnival and folk theatre, emergent amateur humanist theatre, a burgeoning class of professional entertainers, and the cultural peculiarities of Venice, the city of its origins. Each element brought something unique of itself which, when combined by the forces of history and change, created a theatre form far greater than the sum of its parts. What is extraordinary is that this form burst fully formed on the scene between 1568 and 1601 (a very short period of time). Before those dates there existed theatre with some of the attributes of Commedia but certainly not all. During and after these dates, over seven famous companies came into existence, as if from nowhere, as well as many less renowned ones. A European professional theatre, based on fixed types and improvised dialogue, had appeared.

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