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Commedia dell'Arte in the 20th Century

This account of Commedia's origins as a popular theatrical form includes a practical, step-by-step guide to using Commedia techniques in performance. The work explores Commedia's recent revival through companies like Tag and Theatre de Complicite and the influential methods of Jacques Lecoq. The second part of the book provides a guide for would-be practitioners, demonstrating how to approach the roles of Zanni, Arlecchion, Brighella, Pantalone, Dottore, and the Lovers. It explains each stock character's "type" in turn: name, status, origin; costume, mask, props; stance, walks, movements; gestures, speech, characteristics; and relationships, plot functions and improvizations. The text also covers a range of "lazzi" or comic business, improvization exercises, sample monologues and dialogues. The author charts the experiments of 20th-century directors and artistes in "reconstructing and revitalizing a form which dominated European culture for three centuries".
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Table of Contents

Illustrations, Introduction, Part I: The commedia dell'arte: Origins, The mask; Playing Commedia, Part II: The stock characters: The Zanni, The old men, The Lovers, Il Capitano, Colombina, Other Masks: Pedrolino, Pulcinella, Scapino, ScaramucciN, Tartaglia, Minor Masks; Part III: The twentieth century: Craig at the Arena Goldoni; Meyerhold Dappertutto; Copeau's new improvised comedy; Charles Dullin: letters from the front; The Servant of Two Masters; The Lecoq school; Le Theatre du Soleil; The San Francisco Mime Troupe, TNT (The New Theatre); Dario Fo, Carlo Boso and Antonio Fava; Restoration or renovation?; Appendix: Making a leather mask, Notes, A selection of works on commedia dell'arte in English, Index.

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