puppet scripts

storia dei paladini script photo

As noted above, puppeteers based their chivalric material on Giusto Lo Dico’s Storia dei paladini di Francia. They did not stage Lo Dico’s narrative directly, however, but created canovacci, or outlines, divided into acts and scenes, with stage instructions and some set speeches.

Although most of these scripts have either been lost or are privately owned by puppeteer families, the descendants of Agrippino Manteo, the Catanese-born puppeteer who ran a puppet theater in Little Italy between 1919 and 1939, donated a full set of canovacci comprising 394 plays to the Italian American Museum of New York. I have scanned these notebooks at Columbia University’s Digital Humanities Center, and will be making the scripts available on this site once the Italian American Museum has first publically presented them and uploaded them to their site (as per an agreement with the museum’s president). In the meantime, I’ve been able to scan and upload a small selection of notebooks still in the possession of the family courtesy of Agrippino Manteo’s granddaughter Susie Bruno. To download these notebooks, please visit the Manteo puppet theater page.

If you own or know of any scripts that you would like to make available through this site, please contact me at jac3@columbia.edu.

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Literary Encyclopedia article on Giusto lo Dico (Jo Ann Cavallo)

Literary Encyclopedia article on Agrippino Manteo (Jo Ann Cavallo)