original image taken with a pentax k-30
edited in PS elements 7
print tea-stained, scanned back into the computer
model Jessica Hooper
Commedia dell’Arte, also known as “Italian comedy,” was a humorous theatrical presentation performed by professional players who traveled in troupes throughout Italy in the 16th century. Performances took place on temporary stages, mostly on city streets, but occasionally even in court venues. The better troupes—notably Gelosi, Confidenti, and Fedeli—performed in palaces and became internationally famous once they traveled abroad. Music, dance, witty dialogue, and all kinds of chicanery contributed to the comic effects. Subsequently the art form spread throughout Europe, with many of its elements persisting into present-day theater.
Zanni is both singular and plural, the Venetian diminutive of Giovanni. It can be both a generic name, referring to all zanni or the name of an actual Mask when the character is not defined further as being Arlechinno, Brighella, Pedrolino, etc. In the sixteenth century it was also shortened to Zan as a prefix to further identification: Zan Paolo, Zan Ganasso, etc. In Italian, it is simply the name given to any unnamed character, a person whose actual identity you cannot be bothered to dsicover. I was once acquainted with a man who had the patronizing habit of calling all non-Caucasians ‘George’. My own name suffers the same utility, so I am familiar with such familiarity: “All right, John!” However, by way of compensation, zanni also gives us ‘zany’ in English.
*note; this is not actually a zanni mask, this is more of a Pulcinella mask or Capitano. It was used however for the zanni character simply to reference the style of theater relevant to the piece.