Commedia Dell’Arte, was a form of comedy played by actors skilled in the art of improvisation, but not all was improvised. The characters were based on traditional figures. Actors would take on the characters, and identified with their roles. Their character’s name often superseded their real names.
Pierrot: The most beloved and tenderhearted, pale as the moon and mysterious as silence.
Columbine: Vain, beautiful and flirtatious. Beloved of Pierrot
Harlequins: An acrobat at heart, colorful, fast and flexible. Always having fun and leaving the work to someone else. Has a sardonic sense of humor.
Commedia Dell Arte last traces entered into pantomime as it was introduced in England (1702). From there it traveled to Copenhagen (1801), where at the Tivoli Gardens, it still survives. However carefully copied their masks may be from contemporary illustrations; However witty their improvisation, -revivals of the form can only approximate what Commedia Dell’Arte must have been.