Approaching Aesthetic Positions for Neo‐Commedia (1946‐2016): A Dramaturgical Investigation, Mindful of the Potential for Local, Social and Political Relevance.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis articulates a range of dramaturgic and aesthetic positions within the contemporary theatrical form termed Neo-Commedia, being the twentieth and twenty-first century reinvention and re-imagining of the Renaissance and Baroque European theatre form Commedia dell’Arte. Mixed-method research involving existing sources, when combined with structured interviews with current practitioners, yielded information which is presented in three ways: the identification and critical comparison of existing academic sources concerning the genre’s founders; qualitative conclusions on current practice drawn from the interviews; and critical dramaturgic hypotheses which emerged from interrogating the previous two strands. It produces an evaluative study of praxis between 1946 and 2016, making the case that there is no single canonical definition of the genre, but rather a series of inter-connected artist led practices. Sections 2 and 3 contain case studies of the genre’s originators, and their immediate disciples. I identify Giorgio Strehler, Jacques Lecoq, Giovanni Poli and Carlo Mazzone-Clementi as the originators, and Dario Fo, Carlo Boso, Antonio Fava, Joan Schirle and Ronlin Foreman as significant second-generation practitioners. Sections 4,5 and 6 explore a range of dramaturgic positions within Neo-Commedia, and then deal with dramaturgic conclusions involving both mask-use within the genre and the evolution of new generic critical positions. As the form is complex and still evolving there will be anomalies present as well as correlations, and I aim to make these transparent to the reader.
Date of Award19 Mar 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorHELEN NEWALL (Director of Studies)

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