Loading...

In the Footsteps of Harlequin and Pulcinella

Cultural Mobility and Localness of Theatre

by Ewa Bal (Author) Jan Burzyński (Editor and translator)
Monographs 394 Pages

Summary

The author takes readers on a journey in the footsteps of Harlequin and Pulcinella, two well-known commedia dell’arte masks, to show the historically fluctuating way in which they participated in building “Italianness” in the eyes of foreign theatre audiences (the history of the Harlequin mask in France, Italy and Poland in the XVII and XVIII century) and local ones (the history of the Pulcinella mask, or the Italian dialect theatre of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which historians, at a certain point, erased from the process of the creation and construction of the Italian national community). Using modern performance studies methodologies, this book effectively cuts the distance between past and present theatre practices, opening new prospects for an active and clearly situated epistemology for theatre studies, cultural studies, media studies, and performance studies.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • About the Author
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Localness of Theater and the Culture of Global Mobility
  • Part I. In the Footsteps of Harlequin
  • Chapter 1. The Case of the Harlequin
  • Chapter 2. Over the Alps
  • Chapter 3. Harlequin on Stage
  • Chapter 4. Harlequin in Books
  • Chapter 5. The “New Italian Theater” and Harlequin the Savage
  • Chapter 6. The Harlequin in Poland
  • Chapter 7. The Erasure of Harlequin
  • Part II. In the Footsteps of Pulcinella
  • Chapter 8. Localness and the National Community
  • Chapter 9. The Imagined Community in Drama
  • Chapter 10. The Case of Pulcinella
  • Chapter 11. The Provincial Theater
  • Chapter 12. Erasing Pulcinella
  • Chapter 13. Localness in the Era of Television and New Media
  • Chapter 14. Nostalgia for Backwardness
  • Chapter 15. Dialect Theater on Television
  • Part III: Determining the Place
  • Chapter 16. The Place of the Theater
  • Chapter 17. The Pragmatics of Theater
  • Chapter 18. Localness and the Performativity of Memory
  • Chapter 19. The Localness of Theater in the Era of Postnationalism
  • Instead of a Conclusion. Toward Utopia
  • Texts and Plays Quoted and Described
  • Literature
  • Index
  • Series index

List of Illustrations

Part I: In the Footsteps of Harlequin

Illustration 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d. Tristano Martinelli as Harlequin in Compositions de Rhetorique de M. Don Arlequin, Comicorum de ciuitatis Novalensis, Corrigidor de la bonna langua Francese & Latina, Condutier de Comédiens, Connestable de Messieurs les Badaux de Paris & Capital ennemi de tut les laquais inventeurs desrobber chapiaux (1601), pp. 1, 5, 6, 48. © Bibliothèque National de France

Illustration 2. The Francatrippa and Harlequin comedy duo, Recueil Fossard. © Photo: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Illustration 3. Harlequin with the Agnan Sarat troupe, Recueil Fossard. © Photo:Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Illustration 4. Harlequin, Recueil Fossard. © Photo: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Illustration 5. Domenico Locatelli as Trivellino, Grégoire Huret (1609–1670), reproduction, Paris, Bauce 1840. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 6. Brighella and Trivellino, Grégoire Huret (1606–1670), engraving. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 7. Domenico Biancolelli, Nicolas Habert (19th century). © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 8. Angelo Costantini as Mezzettino, Sebastien Coeuret (1778–?), reprint, Paris: Bauce 1840. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 9. Arlequin glouton, Claude Gillot (1673–1722). © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 10. Evariste Gherardi Performing Harlequin, Anonymous (18th century). © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 11. Lelio (Luigi Riccoboni) presents a new Harlequin to the audience (Tommaso Visentini) in L’Hereuse Surprise (1716). © Musée Carnevalet, Paris, gettyimages.

←13 | 14→

Illustration 12. Domenico Biancolelli. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustration 13. Portrait of Molière, Charles Antoine Coypel (1694–1752). © Bibliotheque de la Comédie-Française, Paris.

Illustration 14. Recueil des modes de la cour de France, Arlequin, Nicolas Bonnart (1637–1717). © Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Wikicommons.

Illustration 15. Harlequin, Pierrot and Scapino, Antoine Watteau (1684–1721). © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Part II. In the Footsteps of Pulcinella

Illustration 16. Wedding of Pulcinella’s Son, Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674–1755), lithograph, 1780, Pietro Leone Bombelli. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 17. Pulcinella Loses His Home in a Fire, Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674–1755), lithograph, 1780, Pietro Leone Bombelli. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III di Napoli.

Illustration 18. Pulcinella’s Will, Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674–1755), lithograph, Pietro Leone Bombelli. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III di Napoli.

Illustration 19. Pulcinella the Aristocrat, Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674–1755), lithograph, 1780, Pietro Leone Bombelli. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 20a. Pulcinella Flies to the Moon, lithograph (19th century), in D. Scafoglio, L. M. Lombardi Satriani, Pulcinella. Il mito e la storia, Leonardo Editore, 1992. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 20b. Pulcinella’s Family, lithograph (19th century), in D. Scafoglio, L. M. Lombardi Satriani, Pulcinella. Il mito e la storia, Leonardo Editore, 1992. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 20c. Pulcinella, Anonymous, (19th century), in D. Scafoglio, L. M. Lombardi Satriani, Pulcinella. Il mito e la storia, Leonardo Editore, 1992. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 21. Adelaide Ristori as Lady Macbeth. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

←14 | 15→

Illustration 22. Adelaide Ristori as Francesca da Rimini, Silvio Pellico. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustrations 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. Photographs of Antonio Petito as Pulcinella. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustrations 29, 30 Portraits of Antonio Petito. © Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuele III, Napoli.

Illustration 31. Eduardo De Filippo as Pulcinella. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 32. Eduardo De Filippo and Titina De Filippo in Sik-sik l’artefice magico, © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustrations 33. Eduardo De Filippo in Sik-sik l’artefice magico. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Illustrations 34. Eduardo De Filippo in Sik-sik l’artefice magico. © Biblioteca e Museo Teatrale SIAE Burcardo, Roma.

Part III: Determining the Place

Illustration 35. Dario Fo on stage. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 36. Roberto Benigni. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 37. Beppe Grillo during V-Day. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 38. Marco Paolini, fot. Alessandro Valli. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 39. Ascanio Celestini, fot. Paola Magliani. © Wikicommons.

Illustration 40. The Macaluso Sisters, dir. Emma Dante, Festival in Avignon, 2014 © Wikicommons.

About the Author

Ewa Bal is Performance Studies professor at the Jagellonian University in Krakow (Poland) and visiting professor at Italian and Spanish Universities, giving lectures in English, Spanish, Italian and Polish. She has got a professor habilitation in 2018 and a PhD in 2006 at the Jagellonian University. In 2004–2008, she was a lecturer of Polish culture and language at the “L’Orientale” University of Naples (Italy). She graduated in Theatre Studies at the Jagellonian University in Krakow and in Italian Studies (Discipline dello Spettacolo) at the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). She is a member of EASTAP (European Association for Studies of Theatre and Performance) and IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research). Winner of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship, the Polish National Centre of Science Grants and national prizes. Author of two monographs: Corporeality in Drama: The Theatre of Pier Paolo Pasolini and its Legacy (Krakow, 2006), In the Footsteps of Harlequin and Pulcinella. Cultural Mobility and Localness of the Theatre (Polish edition, Krakow 2017) and over forty papers in scientific journals. She co-edited such works as Performance, Performativity, Performer: Definitions and Critical Analysis (Krakow, 2013), Performance Studies: Territories (Krakow, 2017) and recently Situated Knowing. Epistemic Perspectives on Performance (Routledge, 2020). She translated and edited several Italian and Polish plays by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Emma Dante, Davide Enia, Annibale Ruccello, Enzo Moscato, Fausto Paravidino, Jan Klata and Michał Walczak. Her major academic interests are the cultural mobility of performance and theater, minority language theater and performance, translation studies, gender and queer studies, and (de)postcolonial studies.

Acknowledgments

Work on this book stretched over many years; I owe its completion and publication to the support of numerous institutions, colleagues, and loved ones. This is why I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sapienza University in Rome and its professors, Franca Angelini, Ferruccio Marotti, Roberto Ciancarelli, Clelia Falletti, Delia Gambelli, for stirring my interest in Italian theater. To “L’Orientale” University of Naples, where, in 2004–2008, I ran courses in Polish language and culture, my warmest gratitude for their hospitality and marvelous work conditions, and the opportunity to research the phenomena and history of Neapolitan theater up close. This book received equally vital institutional support from the Polish National Science Center in the form of research grant number NN103407440, awarded to me for the 2011 to 2013 period. I would like to express my gratitude to my close co-workers and superiors, members of the Chair of Performance Studies at the Polish Faculty at the Jagiellonian University, and especially Małgorzata Sugiera and Dariusz Kosiński, who helped me to develop my research technique and mature to become an independent scholar.

I must also thank particular institutions which had an impact on the final shape and content of my monograph. This is why I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the people at the Burcardo Library and Theater Archive in Rome and the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library in Naples, which supplied my book with a wealth of iconographic material. Similarly, I would like to thank my translator Soren Gauger for his marvelous work and to the Publisher Perter Lang for its professionalism and conscientiousness in editing the text and illustrations. This work would never have seen light of day without the financial support of the Polish Faculty at the Jagiellonian University, for which I am wholeheartedly grateful.

I would also like to thank those dearest to me for supporting me and cheering me on to continue, through moments in life that were difficult, creating the conditions I needed to finish the book. I would particularly like to thank my mother and sister, along with my entire family, friends (especially my mother and my sister, but also Anita Michalik, Anka Wierzchowska-Woźniak, and Łukasz Czuj), and Ms. Bożena Nidecka, for being there in moments of doubt and crisis. I thank my sons, Paweł and Alexander, for their presence, which gave my research and study meaning, and also their father, Michaël, for encouraging me to learn a new foreign language, French, without which half of this book would have never been written. To conclude, I would like to thank fate, which fortunately took me to Italy over twenty years ago and taught me to look at reality through the lens of another culture, as well as my own.

Introduction: The Localness of Theater and the Culture of Global Mobility

To illustrate the issue, I will be exploring in this book, let me begin with an anecdote from my own life. During my last extended stay in Italy, while working at “L’Orientale” University of Naples from 2004–2008, where I taught Italian students Polish language and culture, I met the father of my two sons. He was not an Italian, but a Frenchman, and like myself, he had been living abroad for years. We had both become accustomed to the fact that, in traveling, we brought along some of our cultural habits, but we were also happy to adopt and assimilate the new ones we found. That was why, when we were later living in Krakow, Poland, and were invited to a family Christmas Eve dinner, we decided to make our own contribution to the ceremony. In Southern France they eat oysters for Christmas. The supermarkets sell them in stands in front of the main entrance, just as they sell carp in Poland. In France, a holiday without oysters is like a Christmas Eve without carp in Poland. That was why we wanted the Christmas Eve table to have French oysters as well, which would help my partner to feel “more at home,” and our bilingual children to see that we consciously brought customs from our childhood or acquired through travel into our daily lives.

This single gesture, however, revealed the whole representational and wishful potential of our endeavor. As we might have guessed, the plate of open, raw oysters on the Polish Christmas-Eve table set in motion a whole series of performative processes in the diners, dredging up cultural images or even stereotypes of the French and the Poles. Some immediately rejected the notion of eating oysters, claiming that both the appearance and smell were unthinkable. At the same time, they backed up their decision by reinforcing other Polish notions of the French as favoring dishes that are generally considered inedible, such as frogs’ legs and snails, and now these slimy oysters. Others saw the gesture of bringing oysters to the Polish table as a kind of nouveau riche snobbery, perhaps even a deprecation and under-appreciation of the efforts of the host, for whom the Frenchness of the oysters worked like a forced bit of modernity (we had only just entered the European Union!), for which the diners were not yet ready. Others, having tried the oysters, claimed that they tasted like pickles, comparing the unfamiliar to flavors more rooted in local Polish cuisine, while concluding that of the two, good old pickles were preferable. Yet there were also those who, encouraged by the authority of this guest and new family member, ate the oysters, and were surprised at how good they tasted. Those who had eaten ←21 | 22→oysters before happily gulped down the others’ helpings, inwardly pleased that the “locals” did not know what was good. In other words, a cultural attribute tied to the habit of one diner in this different context revealed a new and unexpected performativity.

This set table and those gathered around it give, I believe, a prime example of a cultural performance, whose participants take part in constructing or renaming the significance of its attributes, ascribing and giving one another functions as representatives of larger collectives, and forming tacit alliances against what might seem familiar or foreign. In cultural performances, as Milton Singer stated back in the 1950s, there is something we are accustomed to broadly calling “culture.”1 And more precisely, through their causative nature, cultural performances produce an image of culture both for the members of the local societies and the new arrivals. Milton Singer, who, as a semiotician and budding anthropologist traveling through Southern India, tried to define and distinguish the subject of his research, claimed that it was difficult to study a culture “as a whole,” that it could only be grasped piecemeal; these fragments could then be depicted in relation to the surrounding context. In these performances, foreigners seem to easily perceive the relevant time frame, structure, program of activities and group of performers, the viewers and the causes for performing,2 for when their gaze takes in a fragmentary reality, they treat it as an example of the whole. Culture scholars often behave like this foreigner, arbitrarily assigning the performance relevant significance and functions. Yet the foreigner’s presence and the very act of his watching or interfering in the performance (bringing oysters to the table) makes the local community conscious of their localness and the significance of their daily practices for helping their culture to endure.

Thus, the most interesting part of cultural performances seems to me their elements that “work” in their context following the intentions of their “owners,” as well as how they change their meaning and function in altered contexts and times under the formative gaze of the new receiver. Transferring this situation from “real life” to theater studies, I would say that The scholarly approach I took in this book has two main aims. On the one hand, it attempts to find a key to an academic interpretation of cultural performances, defined in various discourses ←22 | 23→as local and familiar. In this context, theater must be regarded as a local performance, as it most often operates as a tool for producing an image of a certain culture, tied to the discourse of belonging to a place, country, and community. On the other hand, I track and describe cultural conditions that allow me to demonstrate the shifting, mobile status of elements of culture and their changing functions in new contexts and times. It is no exaggeration to state that the theater is also subject to mechanisms of transfer, changing contexts, and the passing of time. As Stephen Greenblatt showed in his “Manifesto of Cultural Mobility,” culture – even on a habitual or ritual level, connected to a particular territory – is never created in isolation, it is a result of intercultural exchange, which does not necessarily conform to the widely known grand narratives of domination and conquest, but most often comes as a result of single nomads.3

As such, we can look at theater as a cultural performance and study it from two interwoven perspectives: local and global. Marvin Carlson addressed the former in his at least two books.4 In his view, theater is a local art par excellence, as it draws from the distinct language and dialect of a particular community, and thus differs from dance, for instance. Moreover, it builds and develops a relationship with the viewers by referencing their memories, associations, histories, sensitivities, consciousness, and world views, and all the cultural baggage of a particular society’s experiences, tied to a certain place and territory. From this perspective, theater has often been seen – since the mid eighteenth century, and particularly in the twentieth century – as a tool for a nation’s cultural and linguistic unification and self-reflection, on a par with the press or literature. Depicting the history, myths, and languages of a nation, theater’s dramaturgical repertoire participated in creating a linguistically and culturally homogeneous community, portraying and thematizing its internal distinctions, tensions, and conflicts. Perhaps the aftermath of this nineteenth-century view of theater as a tool for creating a national community was the academics’ construction of a history of theater as various national traditions, whose common denominators were language, memory, and history. Theater scholars have often specialized in ←23 | 24→the narrow confines of national traditions, one being familiar with Italian theater, another with German, another still with French or Polish. In our day, this narrow approach to the localness of theater requires thorough revision.

Biographical notes

Ewa Bal (Author) Jan Burzyński (Editor and translator)

Ewa Bal is a professor at Jagellonian University in Krakow (Poland) and visiting professor at Italian and Spanish universities. Her major academic interests are the theory of performance studies, the cultural mobility of performance and theatre, minority language theatre and performance in the Polish, Italian and Spanish language area. She is also active as a translator.

Previous

Title: In the Footsteps of Harlequin and Pulcinella