Italian Renaissance Theatre

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Italian Renaissance Theatre

Italian Renaissance Theatre"To teach and to please."By Rebecca Araujo-Aikman, Kat Sherokee, Emily Stinson, and Triston Taylor

The Italian Renaissance, or rebirth, was an era of innovation, new technology, science breakthroughs, and the wealthy Medici Family, who were great sponsors of the arts. The Renaissance meant reintroduction of Classic ideals that were in direct conflict with many of the Church's teachings. As we know, theatre reflects the world at the time, so it's no wonder that Italian Renaissance theatre is so fascinating.


Some of the famous plays and playwrights in this era are The Mandrake by Niccolo Machiavelli, The Cassaria by Ludovico Ariosto, The Courtesan by Pietro Aretino, The Pastor Fido by Giovanni Battista Guarini, Aminta by Torquato Tasso, and Didone by Lodovico Dolce. Their pictures are on the left, in order from left to right.

As stated before, the Italian Renaissance was a time for new ideas and inventions, and this was reflected in the theatre as well. One of the greatest innovations was invented by a man named Giacomo Torelli. He invented the Chariot-and-Pole System. The Chariot-and-Pole system was a way of shifting scenery. There were slits cut into the stage floor which supported uprights which had flats on them. These pieces created a pole which was mounted onto a chariot which would roll onto the stage at a cue and would change the scenery. Another new use of the stage was illusionistic theatre. Illusionistic theatre used Italianate scenery with arches and raked stages to create the illusion of depth to the audience. A big contribution from the Italian Renaissance was Commedia dell Arte. It was introduced after 1550. There were stock characters, who used improv to act out scenes. It was a form of slapstick humor. It never became too popular, however, and was no longer performed by the 1800's.

Bibliography-chariot-and-pole method,, Encyclopedia Britannica, December 11th, 2013-The Renaissance/Neoclassisism in Italy,, NOVA Introduction to Theatre, December 11th, 2013-The Renaissance,, The Renaissance, December 11th, 2013-Drama of the Italian Renaissance,, Prezi, December 11th, 2013-Ludovico Ariosto,, Babylon, December 11th, 2013

The political climate during the Italian Renaissance was full of different types of governments and were as varied as the number of states. This resulted in a vast range of religions and cultural beliefs, which, in turn, gave playwrights a lot of options for plots. The social climate of the Italian Renaissance had different levels: workers, the middle class, merchants and finally, the nobles. This also contributed to theatre as comedy would deal with the two lower classes while tradgedy would deal with the two higher classes. Theatre was liked by the vast majority of the public, and was a form of entertainment for those who could afford it. Some times the playwrights would add in subtle or subliminal messaging to influence the audience. So, theatre back then (and even today) could be viewed as entertainment or a tool.

The Three Unities were the very guidelines of Neoclassicism theatre. They are the Unity of Time, the Unity of Place, and the Unity of Action.Unity of Time: story line span took place over a maximum of 24 hoursUnity of Place: one main location for the playUnity of Action: one central storyline for the play; no subplots.

Pieta by Michelangelo


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