Commedia Dell'arte

The commedia dell'arte troupes were itinerant Italian players who originally roamed the Italian countryside stopping in villages and towns to perform their shows. Their style descended from Roman Atellan farce and the troupes created their shows collectively by elaborating on familiar themes and improvising. The shows were highly physical in style and the company comprised stock characters such as Pantalone, il Dottore, two lovers, whose desire was thwarted by complication of plot, and the zanni or clowns who later became recognized as Harlequin, Columbine, Pierrot, Petrushka, and Punch. It was revived as a style of performance in the twentieth century by the Italian director, Giorgio Strehler.

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