Theatre and Impegno: Commitment, Struggle and Resistance on the Italian Stage
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I would like to adapt this thesis or part of it for publication.
This thesis examines the development of Italian political theatre between 1968 and 2010. It analyses the relationship between political theatre during the 1970s and politically engaged practice in the following decades in terms of continuity rather than rupture, thereby challenging recent theatre historiography and criticism which interpreted the two periods as diametrically opposite: one characterised by profound political engagement and the other by a widespread retreat from the political (riflusso). The analysis of the case studies is grounded on a rigorous contextual approach which places theatre practice in relation to its social and cultural context. Chapter One reviews the current debate on theatre and politics, reassessing the terms of its discourse and evaluating their potential and shortcomings. Chapter Two introduces two examples of engagement before 1968, namely the birth of teatri stabili and the linguistic research of the theatrical neo-avant-garde. Chapters Three, Four, and Five are dedicated to the analysis of the case studies. They are structured as a comparative analysis of significant examples of politically engaged theatre practice between 1968 and 2010 and include the work of Dario Fo, Marco Baliani, Marco Paolini, Giuliano Scabia, Franca Rame, Laura Curino, and Compagnia della Fortezza. The analysis highlights how Italian practitioners moved beyond modernist forms of political performance and restructured their political and aesthetic strategies in response to changing political, economic, and cultural contexts. The findings point to an original approach to political engagement on stage which articulates itself around two main elements: on the one hand the interconnectedness of the ethical and the political, and on the other an understanding of political resistance no longer as the fight for a working-class cultural hegemony but rather at the creation of a post-hegemonic cultural landscape open to multiplicity and difference.
PhD in Drama