Week 28 – Isabella Andreini

Isabella Andreini is one of the most famous actresses from the Italian Renaissance. She entered the troupe “I Gelosi”, performed in front of the nobility of Italy and France, and eventually led the company. The stock character “Isabella” of the commedia dell’arte was named in her honor after her death.

Why Isabella?

When we came up with the list of human beings for #SiPgoes53, Isabella was one of the last to make the list. As the list was almost complete, we were still missing a few names. We wanted, in particular, to add diversity to the list. One art form that was missing in our list was the more traditional acting. We had plenty of cinema actors, but no actor from before the age of the cinema.

The first two obvious choices would have been Shakespeare and Molière. Having always preferred comedy over tragedy, my personal preference leaned towards Molière. But then, I thought about the commedia dell’arte which was a major source of influence of Molière. Moreover, Isabella was among the first female comedians, something rare at that time as it was considered disgraceful for a woman to act and female roles were usually portrayed by men.

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