Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy


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He later develops into a prototype of the romantic hero. Harlequin inherits his physical agility and his trickster qualities, as well as his name, from a mischievous " devil " character in medieval passion plays. The Harlequin character first appeared in England early in the 17th century and took centre stage in the derived genre of the Harlequinade , developed in the early 18th century by John Rich.

As developed by Joseph Grimaldi around , Clown became the mischievous and brutish foil for the more sophisticated Harlequin, who became more of a romantic character. The most influential such in Victorian England were William Payne and his sons the Payne Brothers , the latter active during the s and s. Although the origins of the Harlequin are obscure, there are several theories for how the character came to be.

One theory posits that the name is derived from a bird with polychromatic feathers called a Harle [5] Another theory suggest that the name Harlequin is taken from that of a mischievous "devil" or "demon" character in popular French passion plays. It originates with an Old French term herlequin , hellequin , first attested in the 11th century, by the chronicler Orderic Vitalis , who recounts a story of a monk who was pursued by a troop of demons when wandering on the coast of Normandy France at night.

The physical appearance of Hellequin offers an explanation for the traditional colours of Harlequin's red-and-black mask. The re-interpretation of the "devil" stock character as a zanni character of the commedia dell'arte took place in the 16th century in France. Among the earliest depictions of the character are a Flemish painting c. Tristano Martinelli is the first actor definitely known to have used the name 'Harlequin' or 'Arlequin' for the secondo zanni role, and he probably first performed the part in France in or just before and only later brought the character to Italy, where he became known as Arlecchino.

Martinelli's Harlequin also had a black leather half-mask , a moustache and a pointed beard.

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He was very successful, even playing at court and becoming a favourite of Henry IV of France , to whom he addressed insolent monologues Compositions de Rhetorique de Mr. Don Arlequin , The primary aspect of Arlecchino was his physical agility. The character would never perform a simple action when the addition of a cartwheel , somersault, or flip would spice up the movement. By contrast with the 'first zanni' Harlequin takes little or no part in the development of the plot.

He is therefore always on the go, very agile and more acrobatic than any of the other Masks. Early characteristics of Arlecchino paint the character as a second zanni servant from northern Italy with the paradoxical attributes of a dimwitted fool and an intelligent trickster.


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One of the major distinctions of commedia dell'arte is the use of regional dialects. Originally speaking in a Bergamo dialect, the character adopted a mixture of French and Italian dialects when the character became more of a fixture in France so as to help the performers connect to the common masses.

Various troupes and actors would alter his behaviour to suit style, personal preferences, or even the particular scenario being performed. He is typically cast as the servant of an innamorato or vecchio much to the detriment of the plans of his master. Arlecchino often had a love interest in the person of Columbina , or in older plays any of the Soubrette roles, and his lust for her was only superseded by his desire for food and fear of his master.

Occasionally, Arlecchino would pursue the innamorata, though rarely with success, as in the Recueil Fossard of the 16th century where he is shown trying to woo Donna Lucia for himself by masquerading as a foreign nobleman. He also is known to try to win any given lady for himself if he chances upon anyone else trying to woo her, by interrupting or ridiculing the new competitor. His sexual appetite is essentially immediate, and can be applied to any passing woman.

Between the 16th and 17th centuries Arlecchino gained some function as a politically aware character.

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Trivelino or Trivelin. Name is said to mean "Tatterdemalion. Costume almost identical to Harlequin's, but had a variation of the 17th century where the triangular patches were replaced with moons, stars, circles and triangles.

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In 18th century France , Trivelino was a distinct character from Harlequin. Truffa, Truffaldin or Truffaldino. Popular characters with Gozzi and Goldoni, but said to be best when used for improvisations. By the 18th century was a Bergamask caricature.


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  • In the seventeenth century, a variety of anonymous engravings show Guazzetto rollicking, similar to Arlechino. He wears a fox's brush, a large three-tiered collarette, wide breeches, and a loose jacket tied tightly by a belt.

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    He also dons a neckerchief dropped over the shoulders like a small cape. Guazzetto's mask is characterized with a hooked nose and a mustache. His bat is shaped like a scimitar-esque sword. Pedrolino or Pierotto. A servant or valet clad in mostly white, created by Giovanni Pellesini. The Harlequin character came to England early in the 17th century and took center stage in the derived genre of the Harlequinade , developed in the early 18th century by the Lincoln's Fields Theatre's actor-manager John Rich , who played the role under the name of Lun.

    Two developments in , both involving Joseph Grimaldi , greatly changed the pantomime characters. Clown's costume was "garishly colourful Costumed actors and musicians mingle with well-dressed guests, including some evidently plucked from paintings by Rubens, van Dyck and Veronese. In a large painting by Pater, a popular fair at Bezons, France, is an early Woodstock — earthy and messy, but still glamorous.

    Meanwhile, works by Lancret record concerts at the home of Pierre Crozat, a wealthy banker and arts patron. At these private affairs bourgeois Parisians fancied themselves aristocrats at the court of Versailles. So might visitors to this show, which cultivates an atmosphere of civilized hedonism. And on Nov. Tell us what you think.

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      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy
      Mischief in Italy: A romantic comedy

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