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COMMEDIA CHARACTERS

& COMMEDIA MASKS

Along the times of the Commedia dell'Arte evolution, the main characters would define themselves and also adapt to changes in the public tastes. Nothing new, it sells.

We could try to define what was the typical Commedia dell'Arte setup as follows:

  • Male. Old rich mean guy that usually is fooled by the poor guy's wit.
  • Female. Cute young servant who is going to marry the rich (and a little simpleton) young kid of the block.
  • Male. Poor and again poor and utterly desperate but brilliant individual that will make it good in the end.
  • Male. Arrogant powerful guy who tries to abuse of his power and strenght and whatever other he has but in the end is defeated and humiliated.
  • Female. Rich and revered dame which will try to get the best man available, but usually another poorer lady gets the best in this competition.
  • Male. Arrogant and dishonest representative of the "power" pretending to be intelligent, brilliant and cultivated.
  • Male, more or less. Sweet, dreaming amorous guy who tries to be happy and sometimes succeeds.
  • Male. Arrogant, violent but stupid and coward "representative of the State Power".
  • Male. Sleeky dishonest guy trying to take advantage of every possible situation.
  • Male + Female. Madly in love but there are several difficulties, traisons, misunderstandigs. But it usually ends well, novela-style.


Various mask names would, from time to time, from audience to audience, take the lead in these roles, growing in fame or losing impact on the public.

Commedia dell'Arte = Comedy of Life?


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