Here is a prolog by a Servetta from Domenico Brunis, from 1621, in my translation from Swedish. This might be one of the most used prologs today. It is one of the few saved prologs that are dramatic and can be used as a theatrical exercise.
“Oh yes! I will get angry. It is true that I am a servant,but that doesn’t make me a slave. Isn’t it enough that I serve your meals, cut your wood, get your water from the well, go to market, iron your shirts, starch your collars, sew you clothes…. What more do you want me to do? Read the prolog? Ha, not over my seventh husbands dead body!
Oh, my ladies and gentlemen, my misfortune made me servants to these comedians, who made me believe their lives were garnished with pleasures, spiced with flavors, glanced with indulgence. They said that I’ll soon be rich. But all their glorious promises turned out to be baloney.
But let us speak – let us speak about the happy comedian’s joyous life. Rain, ice, snow stubborn horses, broken wagons, impudent porters, presumptuous coachmen and other similar delights that incessantly are following the happy comedian.
Enough dear gentlemen! It makes me puke! Oh, God! Just listen: in the morning Signora shouts at me ‘Hey Ricciolina, give me what I need to study Fiametta, the role of the lover’. Pantalone insists that I fetch Calmo’s letters. Capitano wants the Bravure by Capitano Spavento. Zanni ask for the witty verses of Bertaldo, Fugalozio and the hour of rest. Gratiano needs Sentense dell’ Erborente and Novissima Poliantea, while Francescina wants La Celestina to be vulgar. Innamorato asks after the works of Plato, at the same time they ask for this and they ask for that and they be damned all of them! And now they want me to do the prolog!
Great! I don’t wanna to do it and I not gonna do it! Dear ladies and gentlemen I am going back in. If they scream, if they beat me, I beg you to take them away from me.
And if he who helps me ever would need a maid I would always serve him faithfully. Farewell dear gentlemen.”
Performance structure in Commedia dell’Arte
Laughter, Humor and Comedy
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