Nonfiction 3

Theatre of the English and Italian Renaissance by J.R. Mulryne, Margaret Shrewring

By J.R. Mulryne, Margaret Shrewring

Theatre of the English and Italian Renaissance stories interrelationships among English and Italian Theatre of the Renaissance interval, together with texts, functionality and function areas, and cultural parallels and contrasts. Connections are traced among Italian writers together with Aretino, Castiglione and Zorenzo Valla and such English playwrights as Shakespeare, Lyly and Ben Jonson. The influence of Italian well known culture on Shakespeare's comedies is analysed, including Jonson's theatrical activity of Venice, and Italian resources for the courtroom masques of Jonson, Daniel and Campion.

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In dealing with the concept of generici, Tessari in effect concentrates on set speeches prepared one at a time to suit recurrent situations, and he argues that the generico of the actor corresponded closely to the rhetorical topos of the poet. In our analysis too, an actor would accumulate a stock of verbal tools which could be used repeatedly with minor variations. Tessari, however, seems to perceive this process as applying only to a set monologue, or to a single speech by one of the partners in a dialogue.

The braggart captain in particular has a scene or two all to hirnself, in wh ich he has nothing to do except to be funny in a suitable and characteristic manner; and I have reproduced part of such a scene in translation (full text in Appendix 0). Tinca is accompanied, like so many comics, by a feed man: his parasite Branca, whose function is to flatter hirn, encourage hirn to greater heights of idiocy, and to wink at the audience at the same time. Some of their exchanges, when one examines them, are clearly elastic gags, where the actors just find as many different ways as they can of saying the same thing.

FESSENIO: Why not? SAMlA: The hole's stuffed up. FESSENIO: Blow into it, then. SAMlA: I'm doing better than that. FESSENIO: What? SAMlA: I'm wiggling it about as hard as I can. FESSENIO: What's the delay? SAMlA: Ooooh! Oooh! Oooooh! Praise be to the broom handle, Fessenio, I've done a11 the necessary. And the lock is lubricated now, so it will open more easily. FESSENIO: Open up, then. SAMlA: That' s better. Can' t you hear me pulling the key out? ) Come in now, if you want. ) 1537. There is a diplomatie edition of the first printing edited by Nerida Newbegin (Bologna, 1984).

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