référence : http://listes.cru.fr/arc/mascarene/1996-11/msg00026.html

Re: Origines de la Commedia Ronald W. Tobin

>Une question interessante, sur une liste anglophone, me parait etre restee
>sans reponse quant a son objet principal: la Commedia dell'arte
>remonte-t-elle, a traver le Moyen-Age, jusqu'a des sources etrusques ou
>autres? Le fait-elle par un filon unique ou herite-t-elle d'influences
>multiples? Comme j'enseigne actuellement l'esthetique theatrale et que ce
>secteur de l'histoire du theatre n'est pas celui qui m'est le plus
>familier, j'attendais une reponse ou des indices qui ne me semblent pas
>etre venus, sauf en ce qui concerne le lien vers les arlequinades des iles
>britanniques qui a ete expose clairement par Barry Russell. Pour
>celle et ceux d'entre vous qui lisez l'nglais, j'inclus la question
>originale, qui est fort bien formulee. Peut-etre que les specialistes de
>cette periode qui sont inscrits a Queatre pourront aider a elucider ce
>point sombre de notre discours historique.
>Amities, Andre G. Bourassa.
>On Sat, 26 Oct 1996, rodger smith wrote:
>> Patrick Finelli asked "does anyone have any authentication or do we just
>> assume that the commedia was a Renaissance invention?"  Well....?
>> Scholars such as Wickham, Tydeman, and more recently many of the REED
>> scholars (Records of Early English Drama) look to those theatrical
>> survivors of Rome as the inspiration for the scant information we have on
>> histriones and mimi.  The jump from Rome to commedia is a long one and one
>> without a net; nevertheless, one which has become somewhat easier to make
>> in the light of the medieval scholarship over the last twenty years.
>>         Part of the difficulty lies in a modern instinct to find a single
>> thread to connect Rome and commedia (then of course there is the urge to
>> connect commedia with English pantomime and from their to stretch the
>> thread to line up vaudville and Saturday Night Live).  While such a game
>> is interesting, even fun, it owes its parenting to evolutionary theories
>> of drama which have difficulty holding the variety and differences between
>> periods of time  and forms of improvisational drama.
>>         Recent scholarship suggests the problem is richer in variety and
>> complexity than a single theory can handle.  While I think there can be
>> little doubt as to the survival of the Attelan into the medieval period
>> and their preparing the way for commedia, the proof comes not so much from
>> found instances but from a willingness to suggest theories to account for
>> the historical debris.  For instance a recent article by Terry Gunnell in
>> _Comparative Drama_(Spring '96) notes the presence of foreign performers
>> (histriones and mimi referred to as leikarar) as early as early middle
>> ages.  Gunnell concludes such performers "indulged in slap-stick mimetic
>> comedy, told stories, sang songs, and presented elementary dramatic
>> scenes, mocking satires, and probably also 'shameless representations'
>> (imaginibus inhonestis') like the histriones described by Thomas de Cabham
>> in c.1213."(22)
>>      While the hard evidence remains difficult to use in the construction
>> of a bridge from Attelan to commedia, the circumstantial evidence grows
>> and our ability to conceive of multiple uses for theater and the
>> theatrical impulse increases our potential to construct responsible
>> theories.  It is safe to say commedia did not spring full grown from the
>> head of the Renaissance.  There was certainly similar theatrical activity
>> long before; additionally, there is good evidence to support a
>> performative influence which the medieval period consumed and spat back in
>> a number of forms to satisfy a number of non literary needs.  However, it
>> is questionable that commedia came to us non-stop from Rome.  Far more
>> exciting, at least for me, is the realizatin of the variety of theatrical
>> impulses which must have conspired to define that particular form.  All of
>> which is to say the impulses remain the same but the names are changed to
>> confuse scholars--or some such.
>> rodger w. smith
>> 606 Hardin
>> Columbia, MO 65203
>> (573) 875 1920
>> C596660@showme.missouri.edu
Il se peut que l'on trouve des renseignements utiles dans une veritable
somme de connaissances sur la commedia dell'arte qu'est Arlecchino a Parigi
de Delia Gambelli (Rome: Bulzoni, 1993).  Si Mme Gambelli etudie le sort
d'un personnage specifique de la commedia, Arlequin, elle ne manque pas
d'eclairer maintes dimensions des Italiens en France.

Ronald W. Tobin
Editor, French Review, and Professor of French
University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA