Hanswurst

Hanswurst

 

a comic character in German popular theater. Hanswurst appeared in the 16th century in the Fastnacht festivities. In the 17th century Hanswurst and Pickled Herring became the main figures in the comical interlude, uniting the diverse parts of the presentations of wandering troupes. Hanswurst was a commoner, a simpleton and a cunning fellow, a merry bully, and a coward and a glutton who entertained the audience with farcical jokes and tricks. There were German and Austrian (similar to the Italian Harlequin) varieties of Hanswurst. In the work of the Viennese actor I. Stranitzky, Hanswurst saw the last period of his popularity. At the end of the 18th century he finally disappeared from the stage, yielding to the comical characters of vaudeville and Singspiel.

REFERENCE

Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 1. Edited by S. S. Mokul’skii. Moscow, 1956.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thanks to Rademin, the transformation of Italian commedia dell'arte into German Hanswurst comedy actually took place in Kuks.
The comic folk character Hanswurst plays an important part and it is he who flirts with the servant girl Grete.