Il fidanzamento di Pulcinella - Nunzio Zampella

Printed summary

7 pages


Il fidanzamento di Pulcinella

Nunzio Zampella | Mid 20th century | Naples, Italy
Pulcinella, Custode, Teresina, Nicola
Number of acts

Il fidanzamento di Pulcinella (Pulcinella's Engagement) is a classic guarattelle piece mentioned in the earliest writings on Neapolitan glove puppets in the 19th century. It had most likely been part of Zampella's repertoire since the beginning of his career in 1946. Today, it is very rarely performed. Like the other plays in the so-called “traditional” repertoire, it can be followed by one or several scenes (Death, Arrest, Trial, Confession and Hanging). Roberto De Simone was told about this version in 1975, before Zampella had ceased his activity as a guarattellaro. It is very close to another version performed by Zampella in the 1980s when, having sold his puppet booth and puppets, the old guarattello had resumed work with the stage materials of his pupil, Bruno Leone.

Plot summary

The protagonist gets rid of his fiancée’s brother who is against his marriage

After singing and dancing, Pulcinella goes under Teresina’s balcony and calls to her. The building’s watchman arrives and asks Pulcinella what he is doing. The watchman, who is Teresina’s father, demands that Pulcinella speak with her. Teresina arrives and Pulcinella tells her that he wants to marry her. She agrees, on condition that he gets permission from her brother Nicola, who is very suspicious and jealous. Nicola rejects Pulcinella’s request as he doesn’t want his sister to marry such an ugly, unpleasant and weird man. The pair fight with sticks and Pulcinella kills Nicola. The story continues like any classic guarattelle show with other scenes where Pulcinella faces Death or is arrested and sentenced to hang.

Composition date
Version told in 1975

First performance

Naples, Italy

Publications and translations


Roberto De Simone, Le Guarattelle fra Pulcinella, Teresina e la Morte, Sorrento/Napoli, Franco Di Mauro Editore, 2003.

Literary tones
Animations techniques
Glove-puppet, Marotte
All audiences
Public domain


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Anna Leone