The Masks of Venice - Commedia Dell’arte
by Tonya Macalino, author of FACES IN THE WATER
Hidden identities, secret intrigues, shadowy assignations.
Venice, once the golden seat for the conspiracies of an Adriatic empire, slowly declined into the European center of debauchery for generations of disillusioned wastrels flaunting the strictures of the world beyond its waters. By the time Alyse Kate Bryant steps into the island’s ruins in FACES IN THE WATER, Venice has little more left than the legends of what she once was. But those legends grow restless and unwitting accomplices breathe life into those ruthless, hungry elemental powers ready to live again.
Hidden identities, secret intrigues, shadowy assignations.
The masks of Venice have become a symbol of the city, a metaphor for her once darkly glittering splendor. Although associated with Carnival, Venetians clung to their masks, not just for that wild celebration, but to cast a veil of mystery over any number of machinations from gambling to dabbling with nuns to courting across class boundaries.
Commedia Dell’arte contributed heavily to the look of Carnival contributing the masks of its stock characters to the cast of revelers. What follows are among the most popular.
Arlecchino (The Harlequin)
This character’s mask come in a variety of shapes, but tend to be characterized the diamond-pattern decoration.
Patalone (The Miserly Merchant)
Named after St. Pantaleone a favored saint of the city, the merchants were those who “planted lions,” aka trade and commerce in newly conquered countries. The mask is generally a ¾ mask of an old man with a beakish nose.
Colombina (The Maidservant)
A highly decorated half mask held either on a baton or tied on by ribbons. (Many who choose the Colombina character wear no mask at all.)
Il Dottore/Balanzone (The Scholar)
A rotund, pompous character loaded with misinformation, Balanzone sports an upper brow mask with a rounded nose. The rest of the costume traditionally consists of a black academic cloak with a wide ruffled collar and cuffs.
The Capitano (The Captain)
A flesh-colored, or ruddy half mask with a prominent nose and often a moustache, the character portrayed a swaggering bravado, but was pure coward at heart.
The Paglianccio (The Joker-Clown)
Also known by some as the Jolly Venetian mask, this mask is often characterized by the curling tapers, often bearing bells at their tips.
Pulcinella (The Crooked-Nosed Hunchback)
A brown or black wrinkled half mask with a hooked nose, this character takes after its name “little chicken” with puckish manner and shrill dialog.
Zanni (The Threadbare Old Servant)
One of the iconic masks of Venice, the Zanni is a half mask with a very long, pointed nose. The character is subservient and put upon, hard of hearing, clumsy, and possessed of poor eyesight…often leading to comedic outcomes.
Masks from Venetian Tradition
The traditional Venetian masks enter the official history books in the 13th century as a cover for young men tossing perfume or rose water-filled eggs at ladies—something that had to be prohibited by law. Look for a guest post from earlier in my blog tour to cover these masks. (Refer to my website at www.tonyamacalino.com/page3.php for the post from May 10th for the link.)
Thanks so much for the opportunity to drop by! If after reading all that, you feel the need for a Venetian fix, drop by Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a copy of FACES IN THE WATER and follow Alyse as she enters the magic and the mystery of the City of Masks.
Faces in the Water
By Tonya Macalino
Who created that slide of silk across your skin as you reached for your cinematic lover? Who recorded the crushing weight of the grizzly as you fought for your life in the fictional wilderness? It is Lone Pine Pictures’ Alyse Kate Bryant who wraps your body in the story only your mind was privy to before.
A brilliant sensory immersion artist and a wild daredevil, Alyse will do almost anything for the perfect sensory file, but the violent death of her father has her teetering on the very edge of reckless sanity.
For just one night, Alyse seeks refuge in the arms of a beautiful stranger.
And her recklessness finally has consequences.
Now Alyse finds herself trapped in the flooded ruins of Venice, a quarantine camp for the carriers of Sleepers’ Syndrome. But it can never be that simple. Because the Sleepers’ Syndrome carriers who populate the camp are no longer as human as they seem.
The city of legend is bringing its legends back to life.
They come now, Alyse.
But this time the gate had a guardian.
I felt her before I saw her, that same surge of power I’d felt from Jürgen, but more elemental, more penetrating. Both Matteo and I stopped abruptly. His grip on me tightened.
She took form from the shadows that clung to the structure where the light couldn’t penetrate the fog. The delicate lines of her face took shape first, upward sloping eyes, cheeks, and jaw. Her skin had the same pale hue as the clouds around her and her eyes were a ghostly blue, narrowed coyly. She stepped forward and Matteo went completely still beneath my hands. Her long, long silvery hair danced around her face and her glittering gown flowed in the same mysterious storm. My whole body screamed a warning at a mind that had long since gone numb.
Then she laughed, a light airy sound, completely at odds with the seductive threat I felt coming off her.
“Ah, Matteo, are you going to hide her from Hadria? Keep her for yourself?”
Matteo jerked into motion.
“Get lost, Cirena.”
Again the tinkling laugh. She tossed her head back, her hands clasped in merriment. Matteo’s arm turned to steel as he held me against him and pushed his way around her. She floated easily aside, her glee never faltering as she watched us.
“Oh, little Matteo, but what if I want her for myself?”
Tour Wide Contest:
2 Prize Packs
One Night in Venice gift pack
- 1 pot of Crimson Lip Dew with Lip Wand
- 1 bar of Sparkle of First Light Shimmer Bar
- 1 bag of Chocolate Sin Bath Salts with Wooden Scoop
- 1 bag of Rose Milk Bath Salts with Wooden Scoop
- 1 Paper Mache Venetian mask - Colors May Vary