The Application of the Acting Vocal Code-System of the Drammatica in the Eighteenth-Century Commedia dell'Arte

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Abstract

Since the early nineteenth century some treatises by actors and teachers ofdeclamation have included tables of the symbols and the applications of eachdeclamation symbol. We individualise overlying and underlying symbols,compound and chained symbols. Nevertheless, historiographers and scholarshave never compared the tables of the symbols with the markings still readable inactors’ prompt-books. They have been mainly preoccupied with textual historyand stage history, neglecting any relevant investigation on the declamatorytradition in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century acting. In Italy the declamationmethod was completely deconstructed by the Italian academies of theatrical artsin the early decades of the twentieth century. Since that time no one has exploredits rules and principles which had been established in Luigi Riccoboni’s Dell’arterappresentativa in 1728. I explain how and why the Italian leading actors markedtheir own play-scripts and the prompt-books for the actors of their repertorycompany: examining the application of the symbols, we may affirm now that thevocal code-system served the art of the major Italian actors and actresses. Thoseones, like Ristori, Duse, Salvini, Grasso, who much inspired the development of anew process of preparing roles, and profoundly influenced the early twentiethcenturyacting on Russian as well as on North-American stages. In particular, twofacts are outlined: firstly, it is how the nineteenth-century Italian acting vocalcode-system was used to direct actors. Secondly, how I have individualised tracesof the direction of the actors in the late eighteenth-century Italian Comedians’plays.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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