AT: The Comedy of Calandro A: Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena Pf: 1513, Urbino Pb: 1523 Tr: 1964 G: Commedia erudita in 5 acts; Italian (Tuscan and Roman dialect) prose S: A square in Rome, early 16th c. C: 6m, 5f, extrasA young man, Lidio, has come to Rome in search of his long-lost identical twin sister, Santilla. Here he has fallen in love with Fulvia, the wife of the elderly Calandro. So that Lidio can meet Fulvia, he puts on women's clothes and calls himself Santilla. Calandro promptly falls in love with his wife's new young friend. His servant, Fessenio, persuades Calandro to be concealed in a trunk in order to gain access to Santilla. His adventure is ended by Fulvia, who having gone to find Lidio, discovers Calandro at Santilla's house. Meanwhile Santilla, who has been living disguised as a boy called Lidio, is to marry the daughter of her protector. Because it is at first believed that a magician has turned Lidio into a woman, brother and sister have difficulty recognizing each other. However, a reconciliation is at last effected, Santilla saves her brother from being caught with Fulvia, and Lidio agrees to take Santilla's place in the arranged marriage, while Santilla is to marry Fulvia's son.
AT: The Comedy of Calandro A: Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena Pf: 1513, Urbino Pb: 1523 Tr: 1964 G: Commedia erudita in 5 acts; Italian (Tuscan and Roman dialect) prose S: A square in Rome, early 16th c. C: 6m, 5f, extras
Based on Plautus' Casina, the humiliation of a ridiculous old lecher is given full comic scope in Bibbiena's play, a more sophisticated version of the coming commedia dell'arte scenarios, in which Pantalone's similar behaviour appears equally grotesque. The theme of the identical twins, derived from Plautus' The Brothers Menaechmus, is given a new twist here by the use of cross-dressing, an idea exploited in The Deceived and by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. To his classical models, Bibbiena added his own acute observation of contemporary Italian life. Indeed, when the play was staged before the stage-struck Pope Leo X in 1514, the setting was provided by elaborate perspective scenery depicting contemporary Rome, one of the first examples of the use of perspective scenery in the history of theatre.