Published on November 1, 2007
Commedia D’ell Arte: Commedia D’ell Arte Examples of the Players: Examples of the Players Harlequin Masks: Harlequin Masks There are three types of Harlequin mask: the cat, the pig and the monkey (some say the bull too). The traditional Arlecchino mask is speckled with wart looking blemishes. The lozenge costume gave his name to a fashion motif, the mask to a shape for eyeglass frames: see Harlequin. Oddly enough, Arlecchino was originally created by the French, and later adapted by the Italians. Slide4: Arlecchino (Harlequin, Truffaldino), a servant, one of the zanni. He is a poor peasant who has left his native Bergamo to seek his fortune in the city of Venice. He is illiterate, a fact that often causes amusement when a message arrives and Arlecchino pretends to read it. He is an acrobat and a clown, and carries a baton which he sometimes uses to bash other characters for comedic relief, leading to the modern term slapstick. Slide5: Brighella (Figaro, Scapin, Mezzetino), a money-grabbing villain, one of the zanni characters, and often a partner of Arlecchino. He is a self-made man, who has become comfortably off despite humble beginnings. He is sometimes the proprietor of the local tavern. He is a ladies' man, and a typical Latin macho, with all the charm that involves, and all the drawbacks. He is associated with Bergamo. Slide6: Columbina (Columbine, Harlequine, Pierrette), is maidservant to the Innamorata and lover of Arlecchino. She is usually involved in intrigue and is rather intelligent. She is associated with Venice. Slide7: Il Capitano (the Captain) is a cheap he-man soldier, but a coward underneath. He is often one of the vecchio. Slide8: Il Dottore (the Doctor, usually called Dottore Balanzone or Dottore Graziano), is a local aristocrat, who went all the way to Bologna to read for his degree. He is extremely rich, with "old" money and is one of the vecchio. He adores food and good wines, thus he is a little round (fat). Slide9: Innamorata (the Lover) is the leading woman. She wore no mask (see innamorati). Slide10: Innamorato (the Lover) is the leading man. He wore no mask (see innamorati). Slide11: Pantalone (Pantaloon, Cassandro, Cassandrino, Facanappa) is a rich and miserly merchant who is frequently the father of one of the innamorati, and is one of the vecchio. He also employs Arlecchino and treats him cruelly. He is associated with Venice. Slide12: Pedrolino (or Pierino, most commonly nowadays known as Pierrot, also Burrattino, Bertoldo, is a mild-mannered zanni. He tends to be so kindly that other characters blame him for things he never did, and he agrees that it was all his fault. Slide13: Pulcinella is a hunchback who still chases women, and is one of the zanni. He was the model for Punch in the English puppet theatre Punch and Judy. He is associated with Naples. Slide14: La Ruffiana (Old Woman) is usually a mother or gossipy townswoman who intrudes into the lives of the Lovers. Slide15: Scaramuccia (see also Scaramouche) is a roguish adventurer and swordsman who replaced Il Capitano in later troupes. He is the servant to another character. He wears a black velvet mask and black trousers, shirt and hat. Slide16: Zanni is a threadbare old servant from Bergamo. He is associated with Venice.