The polydialectal, resolutely local, and idiosyncratic theatre of Angelo Beolco (in arte Ruzante), the ‘great unapproachable’ in Richard Andrews’ apt phrase,1 did not influence Shakespeare or any other early modern English dramatist. No demonstrable connection links the two playwrights, such as can be positively identified between Ariosto’s I suppositi and the Lucentio-Bianca subplot of The Taming of the Shrew via George Gascoigne’s Supposes, an engaging translation of Ariosto’s play performed at Gray’s Inn in 1566 to an Inns of Court audience highly curious about the new forms of theatre coming from Renaissance Italy. Unlike paradigmatic dramatists such as Ariosto and Bibbiena, who along with the later commedia dell’arte actor-‘composers’ modularly deployed a flexible but finite system of ‘theatregrams’ that Louise George Clubb and others have shown to be cognate with the structural system of Shakespeare’s plays,2 Beolco’s persistent attachment (both cognitively, as a dramatist, and physically, in the musclememory of the practicing actor) to local popular forms such as the bulesca, the mariazo, the villanesca, and the buffonesca could be seen to pull him outside of this international system of genres, topoi, plots, and character structures.3 The very ‘genius’ of both Ruzante and Shakespeare, even when correctly specified as the distinctly collaborative genius operative in the particularly social medium of theatre, and forged in the particularly fertile social-theatrical environments of the Veneto in the early Cinqucento and London at the turn of the seventeenth century may be seen to render them, quite literally, incomparable.