The Young Lovers

Authored by: Richard Stockton Rand

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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First love, be it romantic projection, physical infatuation, or sacred communion is one of the most meaningful and defining experiences in life and a central plot element in innumerable poems, novels, plays, operas, films and television shows. From Pyramus and Thisbe to The Bachelorette, romantic encounters have been chronicled in primitive cave drawings, Harlequin novels and supermarket magazines. At this moment, stories of young lovers play out in real time on city streets; in parks, restaurants, cafes and bars; and in virtual time on social media, email and Skype. Whether we are watching a movie, soap opera, or Broadway play, we can find young lovers embroiled in melodramas, romantic comedies, farces, tragedies, chick flicks or animated adventures. Interestingly, young lovers in plays from 200 bc share many of the same traits as young lovers in modern day sitcoms. As Kenneth and Laura Richards point out, they also perform a similar function: “Lovers… served to bridge the imagined world of the play and the actual world of the spectators” (Richards and Richards 1990: 121). The connective thread between the lovers and their audience is, of course, the experience of falling in love, a topic that continues to fascinate and entertain audiences.

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