José Antonio Cabrera Sánchez Theatre HL December, 2011 IB THEATRE RESEARCH: COMEDIADELL’ARTE’S ISABELLA (INNAMORATI )Name of Character:Isabella (used in Dutch, English, Italian and Spanish speaking countries). There was a sixteenth-century inamorata VittoriadegliAmoevoli who took the name Isabella, but the name hasbecome permanently associated with Isabella Andreini (1562-1604), who joined the troupe ofthe Gelosi and married Francesco Andreini (CapitanoSpavento). Well versed in Latin, a prolificwriter of poems and songs and a member of the Paduan Academy of Letters, she was fêted,honored and admired throughout France and Italy by all classes, including royalty. Accepted incourts on her own right, she was also a poet, writing a pastorale as well as many sonnets andsongs. When she died in childbirth in Lyon, the city went into official mourning.Status:High, but through low by the hopelessness of their infatuation.Prima donna inamorata,therefore usually the daughter of Pantalone.Physicality: Stance: She lacks firm contact with the earth. Feet invariably in ballet positions, creating an inverted cone. Chest and heart heavy. She is full of breath, but then take little pants on top. Sometimes when situations become too much for her, she deflate totally. Animal characteristics:Pink Flamingo, Love Bird Walk:Swishy,as in a teeter. Gestures:Often manipulating hankie, flower…frequently looks in hand mirror. Any imperfection can spell disaster. (Other) Speech:Refined, lacking pretentiousness never lost for the correct phrase.Voice (vocal characteristics):Poetic, musical, use of metaphor and extravagant language, flamboyant and over-the-top.Costume:The latest fashion, usually showed off wardrobe, wigs. Wore stunning silk dresses, often inantique Renaissance style with necklaces of gold and pearls.Gentry-class dress, nice looking,modest, cute.Usually with a heart motif.Mask:None .No physical mask, but heavy makeup and character is played as though there were amask. Occasionally wore a mask that just covered eyes or a loop mask.Props:Handkerchief, fan and/or book.
José Antonio Cabrera Sánchez Theatre HL December, 2011Relationships (to the characters and audience): - To the characters: The lovers are in love with themselves being in love. They love each other, but are more preoccupied with being seen as lovers. They often feign mild hatred. Usually the daughter of Pantalone. - To the audience: Extremely aware of being watched. Play with the audience for sympathy in their plight. Occasionally flirts with spectators.Plot/stage function:Unlike most inamoratas, she initiates solutions on her own account.Characteristics/persona/other: - Flirtatious, headstrong, dramatic intensity, feigned madness due to passionate love common. Can be prudish. - Hot and cold, prone to mood swings: a tease. - Cultivated, spoke Latin, was a poet and often educated at a University. - Beautiful and chaste young woman with an independent will. Highly cultivated. Three, like primary colors: fidelity, jealously and fickleness. They are vain, petulant, spoilt, full of doubt and have very little patience. They have a masochistic enjoyment of enforced separation because it enables them to dramatize their situation, lament, moan, send messages, etc. When the Lovers do meet they are almost always tongue- tied and need interpreters (i.e. a zanni and/or a servetta) who proceed to misinterpret their statements, either through stupidity (Zanni), malicious desire for revenge (Brighella) or calculated self-interest (Columbina). Their attention span is short like young children’s. The fear that they might be nobodies keeps them hyper- animated. Their element is water: they are very wet creatures indeed. The females are more passion-wrought and energetic than their male counterparts. - The lovers exist very much in their own world- and in their own world within that world. Self-obsessed and very selfish, they are more interested in what they are saying themselves and how it sounds than in what the beloved is saying. They are primarily in love with themselves, secondarily in love with love, and only consequentially in love with the beloved. What they learn, if anything, from the tribulations of the scenario is the need to reverse these priorities. - They do, however, come off better than most other Commedia characters: there is no viciousness in them, and less to be reproached for – except vanity and vapidness, which, given their parents, they can hardly be blamed for. Theyrepresentthe human portentialforhappiness.
José Antonio Cabrera Sánchez Theatre HL December, 2011Think of (anything that will help the actor to access the character):Try to research a bit more about your character. Read some articles about Commedia or checkpictures online about Isabella. You can also do exercises practicing the different points ofphysicality that form Isabella.Sources:“ TheComediaDell’Arte Homepage”http://www.shane-arts.com/Commedia-Isobella.htm - Critique: The extension of the different points is too short, in other words, the information is not very accurate.“Isabella: name”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella -http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Isabella.html - Critique: It is necessary to use both web pages to get a conclusion and enough information, as nor the first nor the second provide enough data.“Commedia dell’Arte: an actor’s handbook. John Rudlin. - Critique: The best source I have used for this research. The information was very specified and clear. Very easy to understand and full of content.