Despite Everything, Commedia dell’Arte is Alive in Italy

Long live Commedia!

Authored by: Fabio Mangolini

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415745062
eBook ISBN: 9781315750842
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613374


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Anyone living outside Italy would think the Commedia dell’Arte would have maintained its persistence and constancy in the Italian theatre, even while it was being exported and assimilated into other countries. One could imagine a National Commedia dell’Arte Theatre with a seat in Rome, Milan, or in Venice, perhaps modelled on the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo, with an attached academy, supporting the highly venerated masters as living national treasures. Anyone who lives outside Italy would imagine that the Commedia dell’Arte is taught in every theatre school, in every academy, from generation to generation in this manner as surely as it happened in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In summary, anyone who lives outside Italy would imagine that the Commedia dell’Arte in Italy is considered on a par with Opera, in theatres that produce and disseminate it, conservatories that teach it, and not least, in the enormous public subsidies that guarantee its vitality. It would create profound disillusionment to anyone living outside Italy to discover that no National Theatre of the Commedia dell’Arte exists; no widespread theatrical seasons; no persistence and constancy in its original forms in the Italian theatre; and, last, none of the powerful vitality of its early forms.

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