Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

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Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby SirLensCap » 05 Nov 2013, 17:16

I am looking for a genuine Italian made Pulcinella puppet : white costume, leather mask and large slappy hands too! (They are usually smaller than our Mr Punch or our English made Pulcinellas - which are often more like Mr P in build / size but more ornate). please email : mrpunchandcompany@gmail.com
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby Chris » 06 Nov 2013, 18:30

This might not be easy. Remember in Italy Pulcinella isn't thought of particularly as a puppet but as a Commedia character. True he came to us as a puppet, and has been re-invented in Italy as a puppet, based to a large extent on Punch. Therefore there are possibly Pulcinella puppets in the Naples tourist shops, but maybe not generally. But I had a look on Italian Ebay and did a search for Pulcinella. Oodles of sculpture,masks, literature, music, porcelain but not a single puppet. I did a specific search for him as a puppet:
0 risultati per marionetta pulcinella

Maybe you'll have to have one made, especially as you have your own particular idea of what you think he should look like.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby SirLensCap » 06 Nov 2013, 18:57

thanks chris. i greatly appreciate your interest and time and note your comments.

i saw an amazing (puppet) pulcinella show in naples which partly reignited my interest in our mr punch after too many years.

i am a fan of commedia del arte in all its variations and 'the beggar's opera' is one of my favourite plays / comic operas too.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby Chris » 06 Nov 2013, 21:55

I don't really get the connection of the Commedia with the Beggar's Opera? Surely the latter is English sophisticated satire while the former is peasant farce? And although the subject is Italian, Opera was the target not the Commedia.
Or perhaps you were not meaning to indicate any similarity and I have misunderstood.

Maybe you'll have to return to Naples to find your puppet? By the way what was the format of the Naples show. Was it a story with many characters and much dialogue, or was it more like an Italianised Punch show?
There are some Pulcinella shows that owe far more to the influence of Punch than to their Italian ancestry. There is of course nothing wrong with this except that it confuses the historians and the theorists.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby lesclarke » 07 Nov 2013, 21:30

You raise an interesting point Chris, regarding the British Punch influences on modern Italian Pulcinella shows.
Also the possibility of confusing future historians and theorists.

My own experience of Pulcinella is very limited, a video of Salvator Gatto's, Pulcinella et il Cane', and his and other performers on youtube. And very recently watching Irene Vecchia at the recent Skipton Puppet Festival.
Oh, and two years back at Skipton a French guy who had been taught by an Italian!

I have a vague idea that after the British upsurge of Punch & Judy in the 1970s, some Italian performers adopted some of what they had seen at Covent Garden, and since at International festivals, to reviving their Pulcinella.

A summing up of what happened, and an explanation of unreconstructed 'Traditional Italian' and 'British Punch Influenced' Italian shows would make interesting reading. Who would be best placed to tell the tale?
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby Chris » 07 Nov 2013, 23:07

Well to my mind Gatto is the least traditional of any Pulcinella show I have seen. To me it is just a self-indulgence of someone playing interminable variations on the crocodile theme. I believe that Gatto is a musician which perhaps explains his obsession with rhythm and repetition. Perhaps this goes down well with a jazz club audience or a convention of percusionista. That is not to deny that the performance is very, very clever. Tedious though.

I seem to recall that I have seen a video of a lecture Gatto gave which appeared to be totally based upon George Speaight. Nothing wrong with that of course, except disappointing when one hoped to learn a new slant from the Italian history and tradition, not a familiar theory regurgitated.

I believe , the burattini shows which sprang from the live Commedia, were farces, comedies of dialogue laced with slapstick, and with a multitude of characters, comic archetypes, and many with a local following. Pulcinella was of course the darling clown of Naples where he would become the central character in plays performed in that region. One can get an idea of the sort of plays from Michael Byrom's "Punch in the Italian Puppet Theatre". Or you may be able to track down a series of videos stocked, years ago, by Ray Da Silva, which were Italian puppet videos of different puppet companies performing the Commedia repertoire. But certainly nowhere does it suggest that traditional Pulcinella was akin to a virtuoso castanet solo. Mind you, to "discover" a presentation, previously unknown, ritualistic obviously skilful, and non verbal to boot, is obviously a clever ploy if one hopes to be performing on the international puppet festival circuit.

Its something of an irony but also flattering that both the Italian Pulcinella and Russian Petruska appear to be rediscovering themselves in obviously Punch inspired performances.

I feel sure that in the future someone will write a paper showing how the Punch Show crocodile has it's origins in the traditional ritual snap-dance of the Commedia-Carne.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby lesclarke » 08 Nov 2013, 00:47

Some more interesting points Chris, wonder how the Italians would sum it all up?

And, whatever happened to Giovanni Ermellino, is he still around?
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby SirLensCap » 21 Dec 2013, 16:59

back to the original post: i have been offered new italian puppets for e1,000 each. eeeeeeeek!

or a well-known and popular and celebrated poster on this board has offered to make replica-copies for about one quarter. but (obviously) not authentic italian. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby Chris » 21 Dec 2013, 20:31

Miraiker will make a lovely job for you.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby lesclarke » 22 Dec 2013, 12:33

Didn't know Mr Eek was Italian, or indeed that he made puppets.

Been meaning to ask this for a while, anyone know difference between Italian Pulcinella swazzle and British Punch swazzle the Italian version sounds a different tone more 'nasal', more 'chicken-clucky' sort of sound.
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Re: Wanted : Italian Pulcinella puppet

Postby Chris » 22 Dec 2013, 15:10

Actually Les, I'm not sure how much the pivetta (swazzle) is used in traditional Pulcinella shows, apart from those reinvented in the image of Punch. Remember that, unlike Punch, Pulcinella was more often seen as a live actor than as a puppet, and that the farces Pulcinella appeared in were dialogue rich. I understand that the live Pulcinella adopted a silly voice, but not using any instrument. The pivetta was used in the Burattini shows, but not all the time. It is quite obvious from some of the scripts that a pivetta could not have been used.
But then much the same has been said about the Payne Collier script and the swazzle.
To get an idea of some modern Pulcinella shows have a trawl through:
https://www.google.it/#q=pulcinella+burattini+video
I have not viewed them all, but a represenative number appear not to use the pivetta.

Descriptions of the pivetta sound much the same as the swazzle, although sometimes made of wood or bone rather than metal plates. I suppose the material used will affect the sound. But I think the main thing is the size of the plates, and the shape of the puppeteer's mouth.

However if, as I suspect, the Italian usage is for rhythmic accompaniment of slapstick sequences rather than for dialogue (a la Gatto), then it may well be made and tuned to deliberately give a shrill whistle rather than the more raspy sound that we prefer.

Actually, come to think of it, there is quite a wide variety of swazzle sounds despite the fact that most of the swazzles are made by one man. This suggests that it is more the shape of the mouth than the construction of the swazzle, which is the major factor.
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