Commedia dell'Arte Criticism: Performance - Essay

Robert L. Erenstein (essay date 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Erenstein, Robert L. “Satire and the Commedia dell'Arte.” In Western Popular Theatre, edited by David Mayer and Kenneth Richards, pp. 29-47. London: Methuen, 1977.

[In the following essay, Erenstein looks at the commedia dell'arte as a pan-European phenomenon and suggests that as farcical humor shifted gradually to satire the commedia lost much of its original character.]

No one can study the commedia dell'arte for long without encountering the word satire. Many scholars apparently find the two notions related. Constant Mic, equating caricature with satire, says that Italian commedia dell'arte actors would habitually...

(The entire section is 8141 words.)

Robert Henke (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Henke, Robert. “Toward Reconstructing the Audiences of the Commedia dell'Arte.Essays in Theatre 15, no. 2 (1997): 207-22.

[In the following essay, Henke describes the relationship between actors of the commedia dell'arte and the audiences for which they performed.]

During its “golden age” of 1565-1620, the professional Italian theater that has come to be known as the commedia dell'arte performed before a much wider range of audiences than attended the nonprofessional, scripted theater of the contemporary commedia erudita. The latter theater, performed in the courts and the academies, could largely count on its audience as a...

(The entire section is 6917 words.)