Commedia dell’Arte on Seabourn Odyssey

Guests arriving to embark of Seabourn Odyssey’s maiden voyage are likely to be met in the terminal by colorfully costumed characters from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, an improvisational performance style of indeterminate age that was formalized in the 16th century. Troupes of about ten characters created improvised performances around loosely sketched plots involving love (requited and unrequited), infidelity, greed, gluttony and other excesses, and often lampooning current scandals or political squabbles familiar to the audience. A set of archetypal characters emerged that included some that morphed into figures we still recognize today. Arlecchino, the harlequin, is probably the most recognized, with his diamond-patterned clothing and his mischievous, acrobatic antics. Pedrolino, or Pierrot, is the clown with the ruffled collar, so prevalent in modern circus clowns. The misshapen Pulcinello evolved into the English Punch of Punch and Judy shows. Other parts of the Commedia dell’Arte also survive in various parts of our theatrical vocabulary. The term slapstick originally referred to a stick that was liberally applied to hapless fools, much to the delight of the audience. Even the Italian word for jokes, burle, became the term for broadly acted, low-comedic performances: burlesque.


Oops! Luca di Matteo, the Maitre d'Hotel on Seabourn Pride, emailed me to say that the correct name of the "Punch" character is Pulcinella, not Pulcinello. Luca is Neapolitan, and says that Pulcinella is the mascot of his city, and considered very good luck for all!

Pretty exciting! I remember our first Seabourn cruise... on the old Goddess II from Rome to Nice. Our next two were on the Spirit - a considerable step up in terms of ship's amenities. The Odyssey is quite a step forward and we're anxious to sail her. As owner of Gateway Express Travel in Minneapolis, specializing in "Traveling in Style", we are excited about this new piece of steel! Our first concern is whether Seabourn can maintain its extraordinary level of personal service on a ship of this size. Our bet is that, this being Seabourn, they will... but it will be a challenge.

This sounds fantastic. Not since I was a kid waiting for Santa have I looked on anything with such anticipation as The Maiden Voyage. Viva Seabourn.

will you have live web cams on deck


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