CALMO, Andrea

(1510-1571)
Like Ruzzante,* Andrea Calmo was both actor and playwright. In many ways he may be considered as the heir of Ruzzante and the link to the commedia dell'arte. His first comedy, produced in 1540, was La Rodiana (The Woman from Rhodes). This was followed by Il Saltuzza, a comedy featuring two ser­vants, one male and one female, who try to outwit each other. These pieces are more to be regarded as farces than as regular comedies, with little or no char­acterization. Their humor depends more on the repetition of the same thoughts and gestures by the same stereotyped characters. Calmo is credited with the creation of the stock character Pantalone, the avaricious old man usually out­foxed by his servant, who would become a staple of the commedia dell'arte.
La pozione (The Potion) is an adaptation of Niccolo Machiavelli's* Mandra-gola, in the manner of a farce. The central character is a parasite who helps the student gain the merchant's wife. In the play Fiorina, in imitation of Ruzzante's homonymous play, the protagonist renounces her coquetry and settles for a com­fortable life with the old suitor, Coccolin. The farce entitled Spagnola (1549) has many elements that anticipate the commedia dell'arte.
Calmo made exuberant use of various languages and dialects—Venetian, Paduan, Bergamask, Dalmatian, Greco-Venetian, and even Turkish. This linguistic variety also characterizes his Egloghe pastorali, produced in 1553, which are more in the classic pastoral form. Perhaps Calmo's most interesting work is his collection of imaginary letters, bizarre conversations with historical personages that contain fables and fantastic stories, songs, and proverbs. The last book of the collection is addressed to courtesans. The letters are written in an archaic Venetian and are of interest for their chronicling of the customs of the day.
Bibliography
P. Vescovo, Da Ruzante a Calmo, 1996.
Charles Fantazzi

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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