Commedia masks are character and statement creators. They communicate to the audience the nature of the actor. They express the performer’s character, social class and attitude. Although the masks represent different characters, each type is expressed in a similar manner. The mask expressions are standardized to enable the audience to quickly identify an actor’s specific character even in a different show. Thus, the masks represent the performer and their character.
The Zanni mask is a type of a Commedia mask representing a stock servant in Venetian society. Zanni is a dullard with clown-like behavior. One significant feature of the Zanni mask is the long nose. It represents stupidity. The character was built from the lower-class people of the Venetian society. Each mask in the Zanni category represents different Zanni traits.
Each Zanni mask also has specific features identifying a specific trait it represents. For instance, the variation in the nose sizes as seen in the Constipato Zanni, Zanni Matterofactio, Dogettio Zanni, Ridiculosis the Zanni and Torpedio the Zanni is indicative of the degree of stupidity in each Zanni character.
Nevertheless, all masks (in this category of Commedia masks) have specific Zanni characteristics. The Constipato Zanni, for instance, has a flatulence-related problem, therefore, the mask design represents a simpleton suffering from constipation. The nose of the Constipato Zanni is long, wide and flat. Zanni Matterofactio, on the other hand, is a boring observant with the energies of a dead fish and master at catfishing. The nose of the Zanni Matterofactio is shorter compared to those of the other Zanni characters.
Ridiculosis the Zanni has the longest nose in the Zanni type of masks. The mask is associated with ludicrousness and senselessness. The mask of Dogettio Zanni is shaped like a dog representing the character of an individual at everyone’s beck and call. Like a dog, the character constantly fetches things for people. The mask design for Torpedio the Zanni is a representation of a destructive character. The mask of this character is distinctive with the nose curved upwards.
Additional Zanni character masks can be created and features customized on order since the category is broad.
The masks are a good representation of the Zanni archetype. The audience quickly identifies and expects certain behaviors with each type of mask belonging in the Zanni archetype. The masks represent class (peasants) and the specific character associated with that class.
A Commedia mask collection will have the main characters of Commedia dell’Arte. The collection can also be purchased as a collection at a subsidized price. One can order custom-made masks for every character in relation to the buyer’s preferences as well. If a client is looking for a specific Zanni character, the masks specifications can be created.
Commedia masks are a creative way of performing comedy. The masks function as reinforcers of the nature of the characters. They are a rich part of history and bring out the stories of the great depression period and its effect on Venetian society. The masks also enable the modern world to interpret that era and be entertained at the same time.