of the Commedia dell'Arte
Il Teatro delle favole rappresentative
Translated by Henry F. Salerno
Published by New York University Press
University of London Press Limited, 1967
Scala's book Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte is made
up of fifty Commedia dell'Arte scenarios believed performed by the famous
Gelosi Company from 1578 - 1604. The Gelosi Company home was in what
we now know as Northern Italy and the company performing throughout
Europe. They performed what we call the Northern Commedia dell'Arte,
different from the Southern Commedia dell'Arte. This translation does
have some problems and is more for scholars studying Commedia from an
academic point than performers, but it is the best collections of northern
scenarios that have survived from the time of the Commedia dell'Arte
that is translated into English. To teach or perform Commedia dell'Arte,
you need to know complete original scenarios, which this book provides.
When reading it, you will easily find many pieces of Shakespearean plays,
i.e. Romeo and Juliet, only it is a comedy with a happy ending. The
appendix covers the English (Shakespeare) and French playwrights showing
what these writers took from these scenarios for their plays. This book
is must for any theatre library or theatre professional. If you read
Italian and can obtain an Italian copy, do so.
By Pierre Louis Duchartre
Published by Dover Publications, Inc
Published in 1966 originally published by Geroge G. Harrap & Co.,
one of the best, most complete books on Commedia dell'Arte available
which you can pick up at a very low price. It will give you a complete
overview, including 259 illustrations, pieces of scenarios, complete
Commedia dell'Arte Character breakdowns, history, information about
companies, women and more. The Italian Comedy is still
in publication, has had many printings and it is one of the must have
books for any theatre library and is well priced. If your budget can
only afford three books, it would be this one and the one above Scenarios
of the Commedia dell'Arte and below The Commedia dell'Arte.
If your are teacher and need a little help with teaching this subject,
this is an excellent inexpensive option.
By Giacomo Oreglia
Translated by Lovett F. Edwards
Published by Dramabook
Hill and Wang NY
First Published by Sveriges Radio, Stockholm in 1961
First Dramabook edition March 1968
to the late Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, this is the best, most accurate
and concise book on the Commedia dell'Arte in English. Of course,
it is out of print. But your library should have it or you can ask your
library to get it though the Interlibrary
Loan System system in the United States or International
Federation of Library Associations and Institutions' International Lending
outside the United States. The Commedia dell'Arte includes 4 complete
scenarios, 58 illustrations, history, technique, the major characters,
including lovers, women masked and unmasked and the great companies.
A must have book if you can get a hold of it.
Commedia dell'Arte in Naples:
A Bilingual Edition of the 176 Casamarciano Scenarios
Translated and Edited by
Francesco Cotticelli, Anne Goodrich Heck and Thomas F. Heck
Published by: The Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2001
V I, 561 pages, V II, 568 pages
new publication and still in print! This is the best book on the Southern
Commedia dell'Arte that I've seen and the best new book published on
the Commedia dell'Arte as of September 2009. It is different from the
Northern tradition of the Commedia dell'Arte, which most people are
familiar, Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte. The authors/translators
have excellent reputations and the forward can be a book on its own
covering Commedia dell'Arte history, the translation and finding these
scenarios from the 1600's. What is also lovely about this book is that
you do not have a so-called "expert" telling you what
Commedia dell'Arte was and is. Rather here is a book where you can read
for yourself the scenarios they performed.
translation is excellent, as they have tried to be as exact as possible
preserving some of the fine detail of the structure of the scenarios
that make it great for performers, directors and teachers. The authors
also encourage institutions to try to perform these scenarios and do
not ask for a royalty fee if you're an educational institution. They
would like you to send them a video of your performance - actually you
can send one to me as well. The Commedia dell'Arte in Naples
will give you a real window into this Southern Commedia dell'Arte company
that performed these scenarios.
is one wonderfully frustrating things about these scenarios. Often in
the scenarios, it refers to a character doing his or her lazzi.
We have no idea what those lazzi's were, but they wrote it for
their use and not for ours. It is up to the performer today to come
up with these lazzi's now and I have found in our workshops students
are up for. Some characters can be unfamiliar, so you will also need
to buy an excellent English and Italian dictionary (a cheap paperback
Italian dictionary will not cut it). Looking up the names of the characters,
the translation will give you a window into many of these Southern Commedia
a pricey but excellent-valued two-volume set - you get two books, one
in English, one in the original Italian. They also include several pages
of the original handwritten scenarios. An excellent and important buy
for your Commedia dell'Arte Library and I would suggest purchasing it
before it goes out of publication.
By: Joseph Spencer Kennard
Kennikat Press, Inc.
Published 1935, reissued in 1967
can find this book, grab it. The Commedia dell'Arte character descriptions
are some of the best that I've ever read. Brighella's description is
exact and Kennard covers Brighella's many relatives. The women of the
Commedia dell'Arte are well covered. You will even find an amazing short,
strong monologue, what I assume was a verbal lazzi, by
Isabella Andreini going into the relationships of women with young lovers
and old men marrying young women. Isabella Andreini does not hold anything
back in this verbal lazzi.
covers possible connections that lead up to the Commedia dell'Arte and
the relationship with the scenario and elements of Greek plays. He does
not shy away from the scatological elements of the Commedia dell'Arte;
even covering wild very early Commedia dell'Arte performance before
Royalty where the performers were not wearing much.
the way in which he presents the facts of the Commedia, with the very
accurate character descriptions, scenario, companies, individuals and
history, that makes this book a must have. The last chapter covers Marionettes,
which is where you will find the closest thing to Commedia dell'Arte
today in Italy. This is an excellent book for theater teachers, directors
and Commedia dell'Arte actors. Kennard also has several other
excellent books on theater.
The Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte
By Mel Gordon
Published by PAJ Playscripts General, 1983
is about lazzi and gives lists of lazzi's performed along with
the dates, broken into different categories. It is an interesting book
and the only one I know of like it covering lazzi as its main
topic. It has simple one-line glossary of characters. This book will
help support books above and gives another window in Commedia dell'Arte.
It is also not a pricey book, so it is easy to add Lazzi to
New and Curious School of
The classic Illustrated Treatise on Commedia dell'Arte Performance,
love this book. It includes illustrations with the music and words of
Commedia dell'Arte dances performed in Germany in the early 1700's.
You can also find various famous lazzi's. The illustrations depicting
the actions of the lazzi's that took place on stage with the
words and music below the illustrations. This makes up most of the book.
It is a unique book and important for any theatre library and can be
important not only for actors, directors and teachers but also dancers
popular comedy: A study in the Commedia dell' Arte, 1560-1620
by Kathleen Marguerite Lea
Oxford, The Clarendon press, 1934
This book is out of print and almost impossible to find. You will find
it in many libraries. To really know this subject this is a very important
book for you. If you can acquire this book do, as it has some character
descriptions and other gems of information I have not seen anywhere
else. A warning this is very much a scholarly book - knowing French,
Italian and Latin will really help in reading this book as many very
short sections are in those languages and others. This book covers the
history very completely and you can get an excellent picture of the
inner workings of a few of the companies from 1560 - 1620. An important
book for any Commedia dell'Arte Library if you stumble across it buy
it. I would like to thank Brian
Foley NY based performer and clown for lending me his copy to read.
If you find as extra copy please feel free to send it to me.
The Moving Body
By: Jacques Lecoq with Jean-Gabrel Carasso and Jean-Claude Lallias
Translated by David Bradby, forward by Simon McBurney
Published by: A Theatre Book Routledge NY
First Published in 1997
Jacques Lecoq is my teacher and this book is important for everything
it includes especially the mask section. It is not about Commedia dell'Arte,
but does have a small section on Commedia dell'Arte. It is an important
book for any theatre library just because it is one of the few works
that the master teacher Jacque Lecoq wrote. It is nothing like going
to the school in Paris (which I still recommend as the top physical
theatre school although there are some others in Europe that look interesting)
or studying with excellent teachers trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq.
But it is the next best thing. The Moving Body is a very
important book if you teach theatre. For a complete list of this writings
and videos go to Ecole
Jacques Lecoq website.
By Hovey Burgess
Published by: Brian Dube, 1976
7th printing (This unique book is now out of print - so if you see a
copy grab it.)
162 pages, 300 photos
the bible of circus technique. I work with Hovey and he is one of the
world experts in circus. He has taught circus technique at NYU for over
40 years. Circus Techniques has more than 150 circus stunt
techniques, such as acrobatics, balancing, toss juggling (balls, rings,
clubs), devil sticks, diabolo, rope spinning, spinning plates, hoop
rolling, trapeze, slack rope, tightrope and much more. This book is
another must for any well-rounded theatre library. If you have trouble
finding it, email me and I will help you get a copy from Hovey or put
you in touch with him.
dell'Arte of Flamino Scala
A Translation and Analysis of Scenarios
Edited and Translated by Richard Andrews
Published by: Scarecrow Press. Inc. 2008
on Commedia dell'Arte translates 30 of the 50 Flamino Scala Scenarios.
It is different than the Henry F. Salerno translation and Andrews does
make some improvements trying to make his book very user friendly. The
one advantage of the Henry F. Salerno book of translations is he includes
all 50 of the Scala Scenarios. I do have disagreements with Richard
Andrews introduction, conclusions he comes to as well some of his "Commentary"
on each scenario that he translates or adapts. He goes away from the
original scenarios words once in a while and adds his own personal spin
that often does not capture the flavor of the original in my opinion.
Which is why one can look at it as more of an adaptation. I like that
he translates "in quello" as "at that point" in
his introduction, but the translation he uses in his text of the scenarios
is "next". If you use this book be aware that "next"
should be "at that point" or as we like to say "at that
moment" which for performing is very important.
this book there was only one choice if you wanted a translation of these
very important Scala scenarios and this book is important because it
is another choice. If you are choosing between Richard Andrews book
and the Henry F. Salerno - Richard Andrews is less expensive, but personally
I would buy the Salerno, not because it is a better translation; both
books have some problems, but the Salerno has all 50 of the Scala Scenarios,
which you do want. The best option is if you read Italian - get the
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