i Sebastiani - Lazzi

Lazzi is a broad topic that can be subdivided many ways.
We will break it down first into Rudlin's categories of non-improvised elements.

We can describe most of these as the sorts of things kept in a gag-book or Zibaldone. Your Dote [or dowry] is your collection of soliloquies, narratives, dissertations, and studied passages of rhetoric which are not left to improvisation. These include the Generici or common-place-things such as sententious maxims, descriptions, outpourings of emotion, humorous and fanciful diatribes, declaration of passion, love-laments, ravings, reproaches, declamatory outbursts...


Lazzi - Sight Gags

Rudlin quotes Luigi Riccoboni [1728] as saying these are bits inspired by the action, but not furthering it. It may be demonstrations of astonishment or fright, or humorous extravagances alien to the matter at hand.

Arlecchino's Food Fantasy Lazzi - Many experienced Arlecchino players have this bit they do in which Arlecchino is distracted by his hunger, or dreams that he makes a huge meal and eats it. During the lazzo, he mixes something in a bowl the size of a small swimming pool, and then guzzles it all down. There is another similar lazzo in which he eats himself. This adventure is not part of the plot, but is certainly part of the show.

Burle - By-play between Characters

Oxford English dictionary describes by-play as "Action carried on aside, and often in dumbshow, during the main action." This was frequently either very sexual or very mocking. I presume, but do not know, that the Italian word 'burle' is the root for the English word 'burlesque'. In any case, this is multi-player practiced bits that are physical, and not verbal.

Simboff - this is a term we use [origin unknown] for anytime people on stage simulate having sex. We tend to make it look fairly realistic. By comparison, most other troupes we have seen are more inclined to do this almost as a dance or acrobatic tumbling.
Stage Combat - I am assuming that this would fit this category. If you don't choreograph this stuff, you're asking for an unexpectedly short run of your show.

Battute - [literally 'fencing exercises'] Stock Repartees

These are practiced witty dialogs.

In our Dec 7 2002 show, Jimmy Rising and Abigail Weiner did one of these concerning using games of chance as an allegory for romantic and physical love.

Concetti - Stock Rhetorical Passages

These are standard bits that a single player will memorize. Lovers and the Dottore need these especially.

Memorization Lazzi require having clever speeches or interesting lists memorized for appropriate occasions. Here are some lists to work on:

Games played by Gargantua in Paris


Grummelot - Babel with the Rhythm and Sound of Foreign Speech

Turkish Slavegirls - There are a number of places where grummelot comes in handy. For us, the translation gags with the slavegirl and her would-be lover are pretty good. Sometimes the Capitano can be mostly grummelot. Once our Dottore played the whole play speaking Italian or Latin, which for our audience might as well have been grummelot.
Kompani Komedi - did a whole show as grummelot a few years back on an international tour. I've seen a tape. It's very physical. The grummelot doesn't get in the way, but seldom is the humor itself.
American - At the Austin Festival, an Italian Commedian showed us 'American' grummelot. It sounded like 'Astro' from 'the Jetsons' : "Rar roo rokay Rorge?, rar rar rar rar!"

Meccanismi - Structures in Dialog

Rudlin mentions this in his book, but doesn't give any details. I expect that he must be referring to the sorts of things that happen in verbal improv exercises.


Stock Plot Bits - Actually part of the story line


General links to Lazzi descriptions and commentary

Julia Matthews from Kenesaw State University's Illustrated Lazzi site.
Don Juan site on Lazzi with descriptions and illustrations