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Harlequin is the name of one of the best known of the servant characters (zanni) from the Italian commedia dell'arte[1].

Originally Arlecchino in Italian, becoming Arlequin in French, Harlequin in English, Harlekijn or Arlekyn in Dutch and Harlekyn in Afrikaans.

Based on Harlekijn in Dutch it is the source of the noun harlekyn, usually meaning "clown"[2], in Afrikaans. (Alternative Afrikaans words for "clown" are hanswors, nar and paljas).

See also Clown

Harlequin the character

Arlecchino is the best-known of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte[3], characterized by his chequered costume, and is generally believed to have been created by Zan Ganassa in the 16th century, and popularized by Tristano Martinelli in Paris in 1584–1585, becoming a stock character in commedia and French comedy.[4].

Harlequinades, pantomimes and other items containing the name performed in South Africa

The Harlequin appears as a character in numerous plays, and the name also occurs as, and in, the title of plays and performances, often referred to as "harlequinades"[5] or "pantomimes".

Click on the appropriate title below to go to the particular entry:

Arlequin Afficheur

Arlequin Savoyard

Arlequin, of De Gelukkige Visscher

Arlequin Protégé par Belphégor

Arlekyn Savoyard

Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves, or The Fairy Brilliantina and Harlequin and the Magic Donkey

Brief van die Harlekyn

Harlequin Pantomime

Harlequin Alfred the Great!, or The Magic Banjo and the Mystic Raven!

Harlequin and Mother Goose, or The Golden Egg

Harlequin and the Magic Donkey

Harlequin Skeleton

Harlequin - the pantomime

Harlequin Transformed into a Skeleton

Harlequinesque Pantomime

Little Bo-Peep, or Harlequin and the Little Girl who Lost her Sheep

Little Jack Horner, or Harlequin ABC

Oud tot Jong Gemaald, of De Krommesprongen van Harlequin

Par a Par, a Gar a Nous, or Harlequin Protected by the Magician

Robinson Crusoe, or Harlequin Friday

Three Witches, or Harlequin Reanimated






F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [6]: pp. 434.

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