96364 - History of Theatre and Performing Arts. Fundamentals (1) (A-L)

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student: knows the general features of the history of theatre and live performance; knows how to place the history of theatre performance in the wider context of the history of the arts; identifies the dramaturgical and performative criteria that unite historical and contemporary experiences in this field; knows how to apply specific methods of analysis on limited fields of investigation.

Course contents

Module 1: 21 September - 22 October 2021


Module 2: 16 November - 17 December 2021


Tuesday 15h-17h
Thursday 15h-17h
Friday 15h-17h

Classroom: Classroom III - Via Zamboni 38

Attendance in the presence is strongly recommended. It is possible to take the exam with the program by attending students only if the threshold of 80% attendance of each module is exceeded, that is 24 hours. If you do not reach this threshold or do not have the opportunity to attend the course, you must take the exam with the program for non-attending students (details in the dedicated section). Virtual participation through TEAMS contributes to reaching the threshold for attending students after verification of attendance.

The viewing of the recorded lessons is not counted as attendance.

Passage of letter (A-L => M-Z; M-Z => A-L)
The teaching of History of Theatre and Entertainment is divided into two courses according to the letter of the surname (A-L; M-Z). The passage from one letter to another is only possible in the presence of: (i) overlap with another course; (ii) proven work needs. In both cases, it is necessary to contact the teacher of the destination course and justify the request for change by producing adequate documentation.


Course title : Opening the world: theatre, dream, illusion.

Module 1 (6 CFU)

Theatre is born great. Its beginning is not the uncertain prelude to a more mature development of thought and its practices, but establishes the fundamental principles of its entire historical course.

Thinking of the Theatre is therefore equivalent to thinking of its foundations, cultivating them starting from the etymology that it reveals. To do the opposite would be like discarding the roots to cultivate the branches. For this reason, the course is addressed to the theatre and not to the theatres: thinking of the theatre does not give rise to a specialist discipline, nor to a vision of the world or to a "cultural value", but rather to a radical questioning that transforms man, in his existence, from the foundations. It is here that the encounter between Theatre and Philosophy is outlined, as a characteristic aspect of the course: they are two predicates of knowledge, two ways of leading existence.

From the very origin of this questioning, the world itself is conceived as a representation, a visible form of something that is not visible, whose manifestations are similar to illusions, visions that appear as in a dream. The signs deposited in the caves speak to us of this nature, forms of theatre waiting for the name to say it - just like the veil of Dionysus that permeates the scene in archaic Greece; or even a dream of a dream, as the Nāṭyaśāstra - the most important theoretical text on classical Indian theatre, attributed to Barata and composed around 200 BC - seems to tell us.

Opening up into the tissue of the world, theatre allows its illusory consistency to emerge, the same matter of the dream that Calderon de la Barca or Shakespeare talk about in an uninterrupted and karstic line that goes as far as Romeo Castellucci and Robert Wilson, passing through Richard Wagner, Peter Brook and Tadeusz Kantor, to name but a few.

If the theatre, as its etymology says, is the place of vision, the question here is to understand what is seen on stage, from what point of view have theatre practitioners conceived shown the shadowy workings of existence, at what level of resolution have they shown things. The theatre, the materiality of the stage, is the point of fall of these visions, a light, almost imperceptible gap, a displacement that produces a "suspension" of the so far seen and the so far heard. A gap that shows the "real" as pure radiance.


Title Module 2 (6 CFU): Forms of vision

This workshop section is the natural continuation, in operational terms, of the previous historical-critical section. It tends to develop in a laboratory way, therefore with the involvement of the students, individually or in groups, in the vision and analysis of the creative processes adopted by some artists in the composition of works that recall the themes developed and discussed in the historical-theoretical section. Specifically - and in the light of the theme of illusion and dream - we will deconstruct the creative process adopted by some directors in composing the scenic images as a point of fall of the representation. In this sense, we will carry out a real contextual analysis of the compositional elements, both of scenic and extra-scenic nature (literary, iconographic, etc.), in order to recognise and contextualise the compositional and dramaturgical processes of a staging, starting from the analysis of direct and indirect sources.

Specifically, the works we will focus on are:

Tadeusz Kantor, La classe morta, 1975.

Peter Brook, Mahābhārata, 1985.

Thierry Salmon, Le troiane, 1988.

Eimuntas Nekrosius, Macbetas, 1999.

Mario Martone, Edipo re, 2000.

Compagnia Lombardi-Tiezzi, Caldèron, 2016.

Romeo Castellucci, Parsifal, 2014.

And others to be defined.


Module 1 (6 CFU) 96364 - THEATRE HISTORY. INSTITUTIONS (1) (A-L)


O. Brockett, Storia del teatro, Venezia, Marsilio, (edizioni dal 2016 in avanti).

+ one text of your choice among:

a)- V. Valentini, Teatro contemporaneo 1989-2019, Roma, Carocci, 2020.

b)- M. De Marinis, Ripensare il Novecento Teatrale. Paesaggi e spaesamenti, Roma, Bulzoni, 2018.

c)- F. Perrelli, Poetiche e teoriche del teatro, Roma, Carocci, 2018.

d)- E. Fischer-Lichte, Estetica del performativo, Roma, Carocci, 2014.

e)- M. Grande, Scena, evento, scrittura, Roma, Bulzoni, 2005.



one volume of your choice among:

a)- P. Pavis, L’analisi degli spettacoli, Milano, Lindau, 2008.

b)- H-T. Lehmann, Il teatro postdrammatico, Imola, Cuepress, 2017.

c)- V. Di Bernardi, Mahābhārata. L’epica indiana e lo spettacolo di Peter Brook, Roma, Bulzoni, 1989 + V. Valentini, Eimuntas Nekrosius, Catanzaro, Rubettino, 2000.


Non-attending students will also read:

L. Mango, La scrittura scenica, Roma, Bulzoni, 2003.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, with analysis and deepening of the concepts treated, guided analysis of the audiovisual works of the theatre, choreographic and installation scene.

Other bibliographical indications, in a foreign language, will be provided and discussed during the course, so as to frame the issues raised in a broader analytical framework.
In-depth analyses and critical readings, as well as a card with an indication of the materials discussed during each lesson, will be uploaded to the "Virtuale" platform of the teaching.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the course will be carried out according to the ways, timing and guidelines established by the course of study. It will be based on an oral interview. Students may also agree with the Lecturer to prepare an essay on the aspects developed within the module. The written text shall be approx 10 pages and shall be provided to the Lecturer one week before the oral test date. Evaluation will be according to the modes, timing and directive set up for the course and will be based on an oral test.

The final exam will be an oral one, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes discussing during frontal lectures (only for attending students) as well as those treated in the program's texts. Attending students may, alternatively, present a written work agreed with the teacher.

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;

- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;

- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology (30 cum laude and 30).

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology (29-27).

A mnemonic knowledge of the subject, together with the capacity for synthesis and analysis articulated in a correct language, but not always appropriate, will lead to discreet evaluations (26-24).

Gaps in training and/or imprecise language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to sufficient marks (23-21).

Training gaps and/or imprecise language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to just enough grades (20-18).

Insufficient training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographic material will be evaluated negatively (<18).

Teaching tools

Audiovisual material from theatre, digital archives; platforms and websites.

Office hours

See the website of Enrico Pitozzi


Quality education Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.