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Dissimulation in the Commedia dell’Arte Scenarios of Flaminio Scala, 1611

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2015


Commedia dell’arte was the most influential and widespread theatre movement in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe. A considerable part of its popularity can be accounted for by its comic representations of stressful occurrences within everyday life in early modern Europe, including its representations of the period’s widespread dissimulation. Among other things, the theatricality of commedia dell’arte provided a way for the audience briefly to dissociate itself from and to fantasize about ways of coping with dissimulation. A number of characteristics of commedia dell’arte, including disguise, lying,tricks, spying and gossip, and portrayals of honour, previously seen as separate, cohere in the concept of dissimulation. Natalie Crohn Schmitt is Professor of Theatre and of English, Emerita, University of Illinois at Chicago. She recently published Befriending the Commedia dell’Arte of Flaminio Scala: the Comic Scenarios (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014). In New Theatre Quarterly she has published ‘Stanislavski, Creativity, and the Unconscious’ (Vol. II, No. 8); ‘Theorizing about Performance: Why Now’ (Vol. VI, No. 23);‘ “So Many Things Can Go Together”: the Theatricality of John Cage’ (Vol. XI, No. 41); and ‘The Style of Commedia dell’Arte Acting’ (Vol. XXVIII, No. 4).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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