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

Academic Year 2023/2024

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

start of lessons: 26 September 2023

[break from 30 october to 08 November].

end of lessons: 15 December 2023


Tuesday | Thursday | 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).

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: The wonder principle

Module 1 (6 CFU)

Theatre is born great. Its western beginning in the Greek context 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, which will influence the entire history of theatre. The wonder (thauma) that Plato and Aristotle set as the foundation of philosophy is a principle that also applies to the theatre: wonder is the desire for knowledge that one feels when faced with the unfolding of things in the world. It is the constant search for why things are the way they are; it is here that theatre becomes a way through which to express, thus in the form of representation, that which is in front of us and whose cause we cannot immediately see, whether it be the origin of the universe, the meaning of the human or something else.

The course, in this historical-critical section, therefore intends to retrace the history of the theatre and its scenic forms in the light of the principle of wonder, thus highlighting - right from its etymology - this unequivocal root of the theatre, thus proposing a new key for the history of the theatre in dialogue with philosophy. The permanence of the principle of wonder, or at least of some of its traits, in fact runs through the entire history of theatre - think of the Middle Ages and the scenic forms developed by the church fathers, in which the Greek notion of "wonder" is transformed into "admiration" for the forms of creation; of the Renaissance declension or, again, of Calderon de la Barca and Shakespeare; to Baroque theatre or to the declensions that bring 'wonder' closer to the sublime in Wagner and in 20th-century practices - and it reaches us like a karstic river and we find it transfigured on the stage of Thierry Salmon, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Jan Fabre, Romeo Castellucci or Dīmītrīs Papaïōannou.


Title Module 2 (6 CFU): The Shapes of Splendour

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  tragic and the Dionysian - 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, Hamletas, 1999.

Mario Martone, Edipo re, 2000.

Compagnia Lombardi-Tiezzi, Caldèron, 2016.

Romeo Castellucci, Parsifal, 2014.

Shiro Takatani, ST/LL, 2015.



O. Brockett, Storia del teatro, Venezia, Marsilio.


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

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

Non-attending students will also read:

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

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 Partnerships for the goals

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