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I Sebastiani

Commedia geeks

Authored by: Judith Chaffee

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.ch48

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Abstract

Antonio Fava claims that “Commedia dell’Arte is the genre of theatre that expresses the present as it moves… the impossibility of re-covering texts of a particular genre is immaterial to the goal of knowing that genre and making something of it in performance” (Fava 2007: xiii). We know it can work now, for one has only to look at the myriad of creative and successful Commedia troupes in Europe, North and South America, Australia, Asia, and even Africa, connecting to a wide variety of cultures and societies. But what if a group of actors were truly curious about recreating “traditional” Commedia dell’Arte, improvised and spontaneous, dealing with purely Renaissance issues? Would it, could it work? Venues for enjoying Commedia-like performances are often Renaissance Fairs, or historical theatre performances, such as productions of A Servant of Two Masters or The Green Bird, or a local theatre group using archetypes to poke fun at contemporary politics or social dynamics. But these are usually rehearsed productions with some improvisations. Could totally improvised performances survive the demands of a paying audience?

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