Author ORCID Identifier


Dr. Andrew Walkling

Document Type



Theatre Arts

Publication Date



Commedia Dell'arte, Flaminio Scala, Pre-Modern European Theater, Italian Theater, Magic, Neoclassicism


The project is an initiating discussion about the dramatic function and social-ideological implication of magic and magical elements in the surviving corpus of the Italian improvisational theater commedia dell’arte scenarios from the early seventeenth century. The essay begins with a cursory exploration of the position of commedia dell'arte amongst other notable theatrical forms blossoming across the European continent in the late renaissance. The study then focuses on eight plays selected from the 1611 Scala Collection to further examine the use of magic by commedia performers, followed by individual analysis of plot construct and dramaturgical theories. Finally, observations and connections made from the performance “script” to magic’s presence in the larger context of life in the early seventeenth century bring the paper to its conclusion. Nonetheless, investigations will need to carry on to flesh out a more comprehensive picture of the significance of the miraculous intrigues in early commedia dell’arte.


Sincere appreciation to Dr. Andrew Walkling, whose guidance in sorting out the research direction, searching for primary and secondary resources, giving structure to the project, and clearing up the language for clarity are invaluable to the paper and the academic growth of the author.

Special thanks to Prof. Laura Hawkes, without whom there would not be colored digital illustrations that visually assist the story-telling.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.