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Commedia dell'Arte: The Masks of Antonio Fava

The Masks of Fava

When today's actors become aware of and are subsequently drawn to Commedia dell'Arte, they seek an immediate confirmation of certain impressions (often based on cliches); they always want to know whether a certain thing is the "symbol of Commedia dell'Arte." That certain thing is almost always Arlecchino, the Arlecchino. We will never tire of repeating that Arlecchino is a Second Zanni, that Commedia is a system of relations and situations between characters who are all of equal importance and have no absolute protagonists. At least in principle, no one symbol represents it, because a symbol can always exclude everything else. If instead of symbols we speak of reference points, then we can allow this formula: the most important reference point in Commedia dell'Arte is the mask. The mask as a meaning-bearing object and the mask as a principle that permeates the entire expressive system.

Francatrippa Pulcinella Pantalone Bravazza Dottore

Source: Fava, Antonio. The Comic Mask in the Commedia dell'Arte.
Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007
http://nucat.library.northwestern.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=4772196