In This Chapter

Parallel Processing

Two playwrights: Scala and Shakespeare

Authored by: Tim Fitzpatrick

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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Comparisons are odious, particularly when William Shakespeare is one of the terms of comparison. Flaminio Scala is not Shakespeare’s equal, though the reasons why I would posit the bard’s pre-eminence are very different from those proffered by the academic industry that has dedicated itself to bardolatry: I have argued in considerable detail that, however excellent the poetry spoken by Shakespeare’s characters is, his play-texts are also documents that spectacularly demonstrate the playwright’s overarching concern for how his words work in performance (Fitzpatrick 2011). By bringing Shakespeare and Scala together I will suggest that teasing out some of the similarities between these two playwrights can be instructive in regard to similarities between the very different theatre industries of which they were a part; instructive of the role and function of the playwright in those industries; and instructive for an understanding of theatre traditions that, while they grew up as local practices marked by significant geographical and processual differences, were possibly processing in parallel – and might even have cross-pollinated.

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