Commedia Women on Stage—and in the Wings

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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Like my great inspiration, Isabella Andreini, I have played both women and men. I was never a zanni, though I am a good comedienne. I can play the clever servant, but am usually cast as a prima innamorata—my height, my looks, my carriage lent itself to that—but I am arguably not a diva by nature or all the time. I created four masked male characters—based on local types—and ten masked women for my solo show, Second Skin. I have played Ridolfo, the owner of Goldoni’s La Bottega del Caffè, and many other males from mad scientists to punks, sometimes with tongue in cheek, but mostly based on careful observation—I like the audience to be unsure of what they are seeing.

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