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Thread started 10/03/17 4:14am

CherryMoon57

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Prince, the 'comedian del arte'


The Prince of the Purple Rain era, with his ruffled shirts, brocade costumes and a heavily powdered face is somewhat reminiscent of the traditional characters of the Venice carnival and the subsequent Commedia Del Arte era.

This 16th-18th century period of early Italian theatre, essentially based on the use of masks and an intuitive acting style, blossomed during the Mannerist period and Prince's own improvised thespian performances onstage or in his videos and films are legendary.

Were Prince's multiple onstage personas a mere revisiting of some of the comedia del arte characters such as the sad Pierrot or the audacious Harlequin? I am inviting those interested in the topic to join me in exploring the various moments in Prince's career that may correlate with this theatrical era (such as the use of masks or specific costumes), as well as to discuss the possible origins/inspirators behind the theatrical aspect of his work in general.



478px-Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_060.jpgmasks-sm.png?w=300&h=250
00524ebf3401ebae65a921e79a692756--funny-faces-my-prince.jpg60445282-7461-4655-b6fc-a89c076cdc92.png



[Edited 10/4/17 16:10pm]

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Reply #1 posted 10/03/17 5:26am

CherryMoon57

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Pierrot puppet in Purple Rain


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Reply #2 posted 10/03/17 6:10am

CherryMoon57

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Reply #3 posted 10/03/17 7:40am

khill95

It's the literal depiction of Prince being a "renaissance man", I think.

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Reply #4 posted 10/03/17 8:25am

purplethunder3
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I think that title is more relevant to David Bowie:

1980_cross_leg_clown_600h.jpg

03_Bowie_Pierrot_S.jpg fc1f39fc03b0cd7e593ceb3cb8363dee--ashes-to-ashes-david-bowie.jpg

Ashes.jpg

[Edited 10/3/17 8:34am]

You can walk a mile in my shoes. But you can't dance a step in my feet.
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Reply #5 posted 10/03/17 8:38am

Astasheiks

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CherryMoon57 said:

Funky... Seems like more Wild Days are coming...

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Reply #6 posted 10/03/17 8:48am

CatB


Adam Ant modeled his Prince Charming persona after the commedia dell'arte. Prince borrowed Adam's stripe over the nose in "Elephants and Flowers" and his oufit in the video also has the checkerboard pattern you find in the commedia dell'arte. He didn't only have the harlequins, dolls and masks in the movie but also in his private life, partially influenced by Mardi Gras elements.



"Time is space spent with U"
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Reply #7 posted 10/03/17 8:59am

purplethunder3
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CatB said:


Adam Ant modeled his Prince Charming persona after the commedia dell'arte. Prince borrowed Adam's stripe over the nose in "Elephants and Flowers" and his oufit in the video also has the checkerboard pattern you find in the commedia dell'arte. He didn't only have the harlequins, dolls and masks in the movie but also in his private life, partially influenced by Mardi Gras elements.



Interesting to hear about the Adam Ant connection; I just saw him perform on Friday...

You can walk a mile in my shoes. But you can't dance a step in my feet.
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Reply #8 posted 10/03/17 9:16am

CatB

purplethunder3121 said:

CatB said:


Adam Ant modeled his Prince Charming persona after the commedia dell'arte. Prince borrowed Adam's stripe over the nose in "Elephants and Flowers" and his oufit in the video also has the checkerboard pattern you find in the commedia dell'arte. He didn't only have the harlequins, dolls and masks in the movie but also in his private life, partially influenced by Mardi Gras elements.



Interesting to hear about the Adam Ant connection; I just saw him perform on Friday...



Yes, he's currently touring the States again. Prince and Adam had a little rivalry going on since Vanity started dating Adam in the early 80s and brought him to places where she knew Prince would be. Adam wrote a song titled "Vanity" and Andre Cymone produced his "Manners & Physique" album back in 1990.







"Time is space spent with U"
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Reply #9 posted 10/03/17 11:59am

CherryMoon57

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I had no idea about all these connections with Adam Ant, it is all very interesting thank you CatB smile
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Reply #10 posted 10/03/17 3:01pm

CherryMoon57

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Arlecchino (of the Zanni category of the comedia del arte characters)

- is a character type of Commedia dell'arte best known as an astute servant and trickster.
- was known for his irregular colored patches that eventually became the essence of the entire outfit

- was more representative of a jester than an ordinary servant and was frequently depicted as very acrobatic
- He must be acrobatic, able to walk on his hands and on stilts, dance, skip and somersault. In this respect, the Zanni is one of the most physically demanding of all the Masks.
- The English word zany derives from this persona.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanni

c70d21d9c907b21a0af5621968e6fa5a--prince-purple-rain-purple-reign.jpg

[Edited 10/4/17 6:28am]

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Reply #11 posted 10/03/17 3:20pm

CherryMoon57

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purplethunder3121 said:

I think that title is more relevant to David Bowie:

1980_cross_leg_clown_600h.jpg

03_Bowie_Pierrot_S.jpg fc1f39fc03b0cd7e593ceb3cb8363dee--ashes-to-ashes-david-bowie.jpg

Ashes.jpg

[Edited 10/3/17 8:34am]


Yes, David Bowie was definetely a Pierrot, very lunar...

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Reply #12 posted 10/03/17 3:35pm

CherryMoon57

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Pierrot (French pronunciation: ​[pjɛʁo]) is a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell'Arte whose origins are in the late seventeenth-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne; the name is a diminutive of Pierre (Peter), via the suffix -ot. His character in contemporary popular culture—in poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, as well as works for the stage, screen, and concert hall—is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierrot

Pierrot, the sad clown, with white face and loose white blouse, expressing slowly and subtly and in the absence of and beyond words, emerged in the nineteenth century from his roots in stock comedies and pantomimes to become the embodiment of a certain artistic type, a specific strain of artistic emotion: sensitive, melancholy and solitary, and at once playful and daring in subverting language and suggesting the fraught but still facile and fluctuating nature of gender. http://culturedarm.com/pierrot/


Jean-Louis Barrault as Pierrot in Les Enfants du Paradis [Translated: Paradise' Children]

5ei56RnB-3SmuT3GBqFY9yoW7Nj00-hjvoFYVY1j3RBujuQt-d0T7_QA0dNsNQ5QzJlXtNVzuslvoQmyA9MalE0NX48l0Q0CQMVVV6at7CnY9ldrYLJSIcuzx5mskOlu3XCtC5k




"Les enfants qui mentent ne vont pas au paradis"

[Translated: Children who lie don't go to paradise] Prince (Do U Lie)

ParadeLP.jpg




[Edited 10/3/17 15:59pm]

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Reply #13 posted 10/04/17 12:09pm

poppys

Thanks for the interesting thread, Cherry Moon. I live in New Orleans and definitely see the Pierrot/Harlequin connection in Prince's artistry. His concerts had the pagentry, parade and second line (audience participating in the event) elements without a doubt. We combine the happy and the sad, like the theater faces - Gemini masks.

Miles Davis nailed it when he said Prince's concept on stage was like Charlie Chaplin.

Prince-Rogers-Nelson-3-prince-35611286-370-500.jpg


[Edited 10/4/17 12:36pm]

Kick the old-school joints. For the true funk soldiers.
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Reply #14 posted 10/04/17 12:12pm

poppys

purplethunder3121 said:

I think that title is more relevant to David Bowie:

Gorgeous photos!

Kick the old-school joints. For the true funk soldiers.
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Reply #15 posted 10/04/17 2:27pm

CherryMoon57

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poppys said:

Thanks for the interesting thread, Cherry Moon. I live in New Orleans and definitely see the Pierrot/Harlequin connection in Prince's artistry. His concerts had the pagentry, parade and second line (audience participating in the event) elements without a doubt. We combine the happy and the sad, like the theater faces - Gemini masks.

Miles Davis nailed it when he said Prince's concept on stage was like Charlie Chaplin.

Prince-Rogers-Nelson-3-prince-35611286-370-500.jpg


[Edited 10/4/17 12:36pm]


Glad you're enjoying this thread smile Charlie Chaplin apparently learned his comedy style and technique from the British Harlequinade (a modern version of the Comedia Del Arte) and later weaved the Harlequin 'Lazzi' comedic routines into the Pierrot character to create his very own tragicomedy style...

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Reply #16 posted 10/04/17 2:41pm

purplethunder3
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CherryMoon57 said:

poppys said:

Thanks for the interesting thread, Cherry Moon. I live in New Orleans and definitely see the Pierrot/Harlequin connection in Prince's artistry. His concerts had the pagentry, parade and second line (audience participating in the event) elements without a doubt. We combine the happy and the sad, like the theater faces - Gemini masks.

Miles Davis nailed it when he said Prince's concept on stage was like Charlie Chaplin.

Prince-Rogers-Nelson-3-prince-35611286-370-500.jpg


[Edited 10/4/17 12:36pm]


Glad you're enjoying this thread smile Charlie Chaplin apparently learned his comedy style and technique from the British Harlequinade (a modern version of the Comedia Del Arte) and later weaved the Harlequin 'Lazzi' comedic routines into the Pierrot character to create his very own tragicomedy style...

I had read somewhere about Prince being influenced by Charlie Chaplin (lots of performers were) so this makes sense. A really interesting and different topic. I wonder if Prince had any influence from David Bowie (who studied mime, etc.). I think there might have been threads on that in the past. Thanks to CatB for pointing out the Adam Ant connections...

You can walk a mile in my shoes. But you can't dance a step in my feet.
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Reply #17 posted 10/04/17 4:03pm

CherryMoon57

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Harlequinade is a British comic theatrical genre, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "that part of a pantomime in which the harlequin and clown play the principal parts". It developed in England between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. It was originally a slapstick adaptation or variant of the Commedia dell'arte, which originated in Italy and reached its apogee there in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The story of the Harlequinade revolves around a comic incident in the lives of its five main characters: Harlequin, who loves Columbine; Columbine's greedy and foolish (rich) father Pantaloon, who tries to separate the lovers in league with the mischievous Clown; and the servant, Pierrot, usually involving chaotic chase scenes with a bumbling policeman. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequinade)

It sounds familiar doesn't it?

In Under The Cherry Moon, Prince plays both the Harlequin and the Pierrot (for the more dramatic/romantic scenes). Tricky is the clown and Miss Mary, Columbine.

Related image


Related imageImage result for under the cherry moon cast

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Reply #18 posted 10/04/17 4:41pm

purplefam99

CherryMoon57 said:


Harlequinade is a British comic theatrical genre, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "that part of a pantomime in which the harlequin and clown play the principal parts". It developed in England between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. It was originally a slapstick adaptation or variant of the Commedia dell'arte, which originated in Italy and reached its apogee there in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The story of the Harlequinade revolves around a comic incident in the lives of its five main characters: Harlequin, who loves Columbine; Columbine's greedy and foolish (rich) father Pantaloon, who tries to separate the lovers in league with the mischievous Clown; and the servant, Pierrot, usually involving chaotic chase scenes with a bumbling policeman. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequinade)

It sounds familiar doesn't it?

In Under The Cherry Moon, Prince plays both the Harlequin and the Pierrot (for the more dramatic/romantic scenes). Tricky is the clown and Miss Mary, Columbine.

Related image


Related imageImage result for under the cherry moon cast

well done cherrymoon57!!!

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Reply #19 posted 10/04/17 5:01pm

scorp84

Now this is a thread with some substance! I'm actually learning some new stuff here, and it's adding more to the listening experience! Thanks to all who are contributing!

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Reply #20 posted 10/04/17 5:02pm

poppys






Kick the old-school joints. For the true funk soldiers.
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Reply #21 posted 10/04/17 5:02pm

purplethunder3
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scorp84 said:

Now this is a thread with some substance! I'm actually learning some new stuff here, and it's adding more to the listening experience! Thanks to all who are contributing!

wink

You can walk a mile in my shoes. But you can't dance a step in my feet.
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Reply #22 posted 10/04/17 5:28pm

CatB

CherryMoon57 said:

I had no idea about all these connections with Adam Ant, it is all very interesting thank you CatB smile

purplethunder3121 said:

Thanks to CatB for pointing out the Adam Ant connections...



Aww, you're welcome.



"Time is space spent with U"
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Reply #23 posted 10/04/17 5:40pm

poppys

Image result for prince on tour xxxx

He could invoke so much with his face and gestures. Such an art.

Kick the old-school joints. For the true funk soldiers.
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Reply #24 posted 10/05/17 1:39am

CherryMoon57

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scorp84 said:

Now this is a thread with some substance! I'm actually learning some new stuff here, and it's adding more to the listening experience! Thanks to all who are contributing!

Thank you! And if you find anything else of interest, please feel free to post it smile

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Reply #25 posted 10/05/17 1:48am

CherryMoon57

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poppys said:

He could invoke so much with his face and gestures. Such an art.

Such an artist indeed!

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Reply #26 posted 10/05/17 2:25am

CherryMoon57

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Reply #27 posted 10/05/17 2:26am

CherryMoon57

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In some versions of the original Commedia dell'arte, Harlequin is able to perform magic feats.

John Rich brought the British pantomime and harlequinade to great popularity in the early 18th century and became the most famous early Harlequin in England.[6] He developed the character of Harlequin into a mischievous magician who was easily able to evade Pantaloon and his servants to woo Columbine. Harlequin used his magic batte or "slapstick" to transform the scene from the pantomime into the harlequinade and to magically change the settings to various locations during the chase scene.[3][6]

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequinade)

Image result for purple rain gif apollonia


Image result for prince roger nelson top hat

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Reply #28 posted 10/05/17 2:45am

CherryMoon57

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In 1800, at Drury Lane, in Harlequin Amulet; or, The Magick of Mona, Harlequin was modified to become "romantic and mercurial, instead of mischievous".[10] During the 19th century, Harlequin became an increasingly stylised character that performed certain dance poses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequinade

Related image

The Payne Brothers – Harry (left) as Clown and Fred as Harlequin, c. 1875

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Reply #29 posted 10/05/17 7:03am

jaawwnn

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There was a lot of good theatrical clothing in 80's pop wasn't there? Prince really blended a lot of stuff to make it his own. I often wonder if he was just winging it or if he had a grand plan for each look.

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