28126 - Theories and Cultures of Representation (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Music and Theatre Studies (cod. 8837)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will: acquire basic theorical-methodological tools for studying and understanding theatre facts, included those belonging to the field of music. The student also will: - acquire advanced knowledge about the study of theatre (musical theatre included) and theatre theory, that by now must go together with necessary intercultural and transcultural approach on live arts, and which must be able to integrate the contributions coming from "hard" sciences, of course beyond those from history and humanities; - command interdisciplinary theorical-methodological tools, necessary for future artistic, critical, organisational activities in the fields of live arts.

Course contents

Classes start 29 January 2023

[break 11 to 14 March and 1-2 April].

Classes end: 24 April 2023


Monday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Wednesday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.




Title: Enquiry into the contemporary sublime II: Margins of representation.

The aesthetic category first defined in Neoplatonic circles around the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. by the anonymous author of the treatise On the Sublime - known for centuries as Longinus, or Pseudo-Longinus - had an extraordinary impact on culture, aesthetics and the entire system of the arts, second only to Aristotle's Poetics. This notion defines the experience of ecstasy that one feels when faced with something mysterious and ineffable. An experience that theatre adopts as its own form of expression.

Adopting this observatory, the course is oriented around the modes and forms of the contemporary scene that question the limits of representation, taking into consideration international experiences such as those of Romeo Castellucci|Societas Raffaello Sanzio, Angélica Liddell, Shiro Takatani, Jan Fabre, Lola Arias, Heiner Goebbels and Bob Wilson and others, thus defining the traits and characteristics of the contemporary sublime.

On the contemporary stage, forms, sounds and colors seem to arise a problem about the vision, they put it into question, and, after all, theatre is the place of the vision. So the point is to question what one sees at theatre: the epiphany of beings could be an answer. Within this framework we will therefore consider a reflection on the image, visual and acoustic. It is exactly in this sense that the acoustic image can emerge. The sound, just like the color, represents the scene’s temperature in order to re-orient the perceptive faculties of the audience becoming a sort of immersive sensation to be inhabited. From this standpoint, to talk about the atmosphere in theatrical sense is to consider some acoustic and chromatic elements that extend and persist by acting on all the points of the scenic device in a latent way. In this scenario, the composition is a tension between the visible and the invisible, between the audible and inaudible that is manifested on the scene as a magnetic field.

This condition thus establishes a sense of disorientation, like a vertigo that exposes the spectators to the limit of knowledge, where the infinite flashes through the meshes of the finite and the eternal deposits marks on the threshold of time.


Bibliography (12 CFU)

1)- Anonimo, Sul sublime, Milano, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla | Mondadori, 2021.

2)- E. Montanari, E. Pitozzi, Cellula. Anatomia dello spazio scenico, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2021.

3)- J. Fabre, Dall'azione alla recitazione. Linee guida di Jan Fabre per il performer del XXI secolo, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2023.

4)- P. Di Matteo (a cura di), Toccare il reale. L’arte di Romeo Castellucci, Napoli, Cronopio, 2015.

5)- a book of your choice from:

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

b)- V. Valentini, Drammaturgie sonore, Roma, Bulzoni, 2012.

c)- E. Pitozzi (a cura di), Teatri del suono, numero monografico di «Culture Teatrali», n. 27, 2018;


For students not attending the exam consists of an oral interview on the texts in the bibliography + this book:


V. Valentini (a cura di), Drammaturgie sonore II, Roma, Bulzoni, 2021.



Teaching methods

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

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 Partnerships for the goals

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