The Theatre Couple in Early Modern Italy: Self-Fashioning and Mutual Marketing

Cover: The Theatre Couple in Early Modern Italy: Self-Fashioning and Mutual Marketing
2024 Ennio Flaiano International Luca Attanasio International Flaiano Award for Italian Studies
Serena Laiena

December 2023 • ISBN 9781644533161 • $163.00

December 2023 • ISBN 9781644533154 • $52.95

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Performing Celebrity

Who were the first celebrity couples? How was their success forged? Which forces influenced their self-fashioning and marketing strategies?

These questions are at the core of this study, which looks at the birth of a phenomenon, that of the couple in the show business, with a focus on the promotional strategies devised by two professional performers: Giovan Battista Andreini (1576-1654) and Virginia Ramponi (1583-ca.1631). This book examines their artistic path – a deliberately crafted and mutually beneficial joint career – and links it to the historical, social, and cultural context of post-Tridentine Italy.

Rooted in a broad research field, encompassing theatre history, Italian studies, celebrity studies, gender studies, and performance studies, The Theatre Couple in Early Modern Italy revises the conventional view of the Italian diva, investigates the deployment of Catholic devotion as a marketing tool, and argues for the importance of the couple system in the history of Commedia dell’Arte, a system that continues to shape celebrity today.

About the Author

Serena Laiena is an Assistant Professor in Italian and Ad Astra Fellow at University College Dublin. She has published articles and essays on commedia dell’arte and early modern actresses. Her research interests include early modern Italian literature and culture, the social history of theatre in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, women’s agency in early modern Europe, and the social function of theatre today.