Arlecchino Appleseed

Or how Carlo Mazzone-Clementi Brought Commedia to the New World

Authored by: Joan Schirle

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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We might wonder how Commedia dell’Arte came to the New World. Was it through the characters of Harlequin and Columbine in the nineteenth century pantos, or through Italian troupes that set off for gigs across the Atlantic, as so colorfully envisioned in Renoir’s The Golden Coach? Was it via the Golden Age of silent film comedies? Or did Commedia attach itself like a flea to the clothes of some Italian immigrant looking for a new life? Carlo Mazzone-Clementi was certainly an immigrant Paduan pilgrim in 1957. He was also a pioneer and a poet. With the spirit of a poet he spread seeds of Commedia dell’Arte in the New World. With the spirit of a pioneer he stayed on to tend those seeds. “No roots, no fruits.” (Mazzone-Clementi pers. comm. 1978) Author-teacher John Towsen wrote that Carlo “single-handedly brought commedia to the United States starting in 1958.” (Towsen 2011)

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