Antonfrancesco Grazzini, known as Il Lasca (The Roach), was born and lived in Florence at the height of the Renaissance. He wrote prolifically in most genres, including novelle, burlesque poetry, and comedies. As a playwright he was, in his time, more popular than even Machiavelli. The Friar is a farce in three acts which satirizes, in the manner of Boccaccio, lustful men of the cloth and their willing female victims. The Bawd subverts stock classical comedy characters and situations while placing them in contemporary Florence. The result is the usual mayhem involving gullible fools, lustful young people, corrupt scheming servants, and a bit of black magic. The rise and subsequent popularity of the commedia dell’arte owes much to the likes of Il Lasca.
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