One of the elders of Commedia dell’Arte. A Venetian merchant, rich but miserly. Part of the upper echelons of society. His two loves are money and power but that doesn’t stop him from fawning over the female characters.
Pantalone is lustful and covetous, but his days of winning the affections of the fairer sex are long gone.
The other elder in the Commedia family. Traditionally a scholar from Bologna (home of the world’s oldest university). He can be a scholar of medicine or just about anything else and has a huge range of knowledge without knowing anything at all. He is an out and out blowhard that is full of his own self-importance and a lot of hot air!
A Capitano archetype. Traditionally, a Spaniard and therefore an outsider. Commonly used to add an extra problem or layer to the story, but rarely the main focus of the action.
Usually a defector from the army and defective in life. A braggard and a fool who deep down is more of a Zanni than the noble he portrays himself as.
Captain Richard Head
Another Capitano archetype. More devious and nasty than Major Pratt, a lot of humour arises form his inevitable comeuppance! Also heavier and more brash than Major Pratt.
Another Capitano, he is a more surly and proper Capitano. He has a very long nose to compensate for what he lacks in the trouser department.
One of the Zanni or servants. Usually seen as a young boy but can be played by actors of any age. This role can also be easily adopted by women.
A completely amoral character, he doesn’t understand right from wrong and acts purely on logic, however ridiculous that logic might be!
Traditionally this role was played by acrobats who could perform flips and tricks at the drop of a hat. He is the most complex and physically specific of all of the Commedia characters and one of the most famous, Arlecchino being the origin of the word Harlequin.
A servant and usually the lowest of the low in social pecking order although he can outrank Arlecchino due to age.
He is the physically strongest of all of the Commedia characters but what he has in brawn, he lacks in brains. Much of the humour with this character comes from a lack of comprehension, leading to major mistakes and problems for his master.
Finnochio is a Zanni designed by Antonio Fava. He is more intelligent than the traditional Zanni and has a nastier, darker side to his personality.