A study of the Italian professional theater of the late Renaissance period, with attention to historical, literary, and performative dimensions. Using mainly primary documents available both in translation and in the Italian original, we will study the "business of playing" for the commedia dell'arte actor and examine the various uses of literature in the commedia's improvisational theater. We will concentrate on the "golden age" (1545-1630), but in the final weeks of the course attend to the afterlife of the commedia dell'arte in France, Russia, Latin America, and in Dario Fo. Drama students will have particular occasions and responsibilities for enacting scenes and sketches from the repertoire, and for experimenting with various improvisational techniques. Two papers, and either a final research project (for the Comparative Literature and Italian students) or a final performance piece (for the Drama students).
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM