Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

The CARATTERISTA

... providing an extra entertaining mood

The Caratterista role came out in the Commedia dell'Arte at the beginning of the XVIII century, so quite late, and had no connection with the play:

  • he/she would tell a story, capture the audience attention for a certain time, break the present atmosphere to prepare the public for the next acting step
  • he/she would usually speak a dialect, or a more or less correct language: in those times the Commedia was performing more abroad than in Italy or Venice
  • he/she would take the public's attention for a few minutes to give time to his/her fellow actors to change costumes, discuss proceedings, and maybe to somebody from the troupe to pass around in the public to ask for a financial contribution
  • he/she would make direct contact with the audience to test how the audience is feeling, to help future company's acting choices

I would like to see the Caratterista as sort of a drums or bass solo in Jazz, which gives the time to the other musicians to take a break and go drink something or put a new reed on their saxophone.

Anonymous Artist: "The Caratterista"
sort of a "Stenterello" character
in a 17th century engraving

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