Episode 20

Commedia Dell’arte: Players and Troupes

Published on: 22nd August, 2022

Episode 83:

The Commedia Dell’arte tropes that operated in Italy and France were like many actors before them - travelling players operating if not exactly outside of society, then in their own niche within it.  

The framework that Commedia Dell’arte troupes operated in and how little had changed for the travelling player since Roman and Medieval times.

The origins of the Gelosi Troupe via their first leader, Zan Ganassa and  their second, long term director and main actor Flamminio Scala.

The travels of the Gelosi through Italy and then to France for performances before King Henry 3rd, where they ran into some anti Italian feeling.

The Gelosi travel to Venice and England.

Francesco Andreini becomes leader of the Gelosi after a military career.

His marriage to Isabella Canali.

Their performance in Mantua and resulting problems.

An attempt to create a Commedia ‘super-troupe’.

The life of Isabella Andreini and her impact on Comedia Dell’arte playing madness and cross-gender roles.

The popularity of the Gelosi with the French court, the death of Isabella on tour and the memorials penned to her.

The disbandment of the Gelosi.

The life of Vittoria Piisimi and her time with the Gelosi.

The rivalry between Vittoria and Isabella.

The Accesi troupe under the lead of Tristano Martinelli.

The creation of Harlequin by Martinelli, maybe.

Martinelli’s increasing power under the duke of Mantua.

The popularity of the Commedia Dell’arte across Europe seen through the work of Martinelli and their time in Paris.

Martinelli’s final years.

The I Fedeli troupe formed by Giovanni Battista Andreini.      

The behaviour of the star performers.

Flamminio Scala and ‘The Confident One’s’ troupe.

The role of the more minor troupes.

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About the Podcast

The History Of European Theatre
A more or less chronological history of the development and practice of theatre
A podcast tracing the development of theatre from ancient Greece to the present day through the places and people who made theatre happen. More than just dates and lists of plays we'll learn about the social. political and historical context that fostered the creation of dramatic art.

About your host

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Philip Rowe

Ex-publishing and accounting professional. Rookie Podcaster, but learning fast. Loves all things Theatre and History.