27110 - History of Directing

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students:

  • will acquire knowledge about the history of the theories and poetics that have passed through the theatre in the twentieth century, with particular attention to the elements that contribute to defining the notion of directing and its protagonists;
  • will also acquire skills on historical and theoretical knowledge tools to understand and analyze a theatre production in all of its components.

Course contents

In 1939, Orazio Costa, one of the first graduated directors of the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, published the essay La regia teatrale where he describes the director as "a typically modern, revolutionary, temporary event." In 2000, Marco De Marinis, in the essay La regia e il suo superamento speaks of "going beyond directing", concept that he reiterates in another essay published in 2016: Regia e post-regia: dalla messa in scena all’opera-contenitore.

Inspired by these writings published, on the one hand, in the period in which theatre directing, already established abroad, begins to spread in Italy, and on the other in that of its appearance in the new millennium, the course of HISTORY DIRECTING for the academic year 2018-1019, La regia teatrale: rivoluzione, prassi e mutamenti di un’egemonia artistica [Theatre directing: revolution, praxis and mutations of an artistic hegemony], intends to propose a reflection on directing and its way of working. By exploring the historical dynamics that that have given rise to it, and the relationships that the various directors have gradually established between stage and audience, the course will eventually question past, present and future function of theatre directing.

In parallel to the monographic subject, the course will provide the students with the theoretical and critical tools needed to understand and analyze a theatre production in all of its components. Particularly important in this regard will be to discover the path followed by theatre directing in Italy, bringing attention to productions of culturally influential directors (Giorgio Strehler, Luca Ronconi, and others), as well as to the results of the latest directorial generations.

The course begins on October 1, 2018.


To take the exam, students attending the course are required to study two mandatory texts (Artioli and Zanlonghi), four mandatory essays (two by Costa, one by De Marinis, and one by Mango), and two texts of their choice: one from list #2 and one from list #3.

Students non-attending the course, ie those who have not attended at least 70% of the lessons, besides the two mandatory texts and the four mandatory essays, are required to study three texts of their choice: two from list #2 and one from list #3.

1) mandatory texts and essays:

- U. Artioli (a cura di), Il teatro di regia. Genesi ed evoluzione 1870-1950, Roma, Carocci, 2004.

- O. Costa, La regia teatrale (1939) e Crisi della regia (1974), in G. Colli, Una pedagogia dell’attore. L’insegnamento di Orazio Costa, 2aed., Roma, Bulzoni, 1996, pp. 66-79 e 100-103 (PDF available on Insegnamenti OnLine).

- M. De Marinis, Regia e post-regia: dalla messa in scena all’opera-contenitore, in C. Longhi (a cura di), La regia in Italia, oggi, in “Culture Teatrali”, n. 25, 2016, pp. 66-78.

- L. Mango, La nascita della regia. Una questione di storiografia teatrale, in "Culture Teatrali", n. 13, 2005, pp. 129-186.

- G. Zanlonghi, La regia teatrale del secondo Novecento. Utopie, forme e pratiche, Roma, Carocci, 2009.

2) one text for students attending the course, or two texts for non-attending students, chosen from the following list:

- B. Alesse, Ariane Mnouchkine e il Théatre du Soleil, Roma, Editoria & Spettacolo, 2005.

- A. Appia, Attore, Musica e scena, Imola, Cue Press, 2015.

- B. Brecht, Scritti teatrali, Torino, Einaudi, 2001.

- J. Copeau, Il luogo del teatro, a cura di M. I. Aliverti, Firenze, La Casa Usher, 1988.

- F. Cruciani, Registi pedagoghi e comunità teatrali nel Novecento, Roma, Editoria & Spettacolo, 2006.

- G. Craig, Il mio teatro, a cura di F. Marotti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1971.

- M. Fazio, Regie teatrali. Dalle origini a Brecht, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2006.

- L. Gedda, Kantor. Protagonismo registico e spazio memoriale, Fondi, Titivillus, 2007.

- D. Kennedy, Looking at Shakespeare: A Visual History of Twentieth-Century Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2002 (prima edizione 1993). 

- C. Meldolesi, Fondamenti del teatro italiano. La generazione dei registi, Roma, Bulzoni, 2008 (prima edizione 1984).

- F. Perrelli, I maestri della ricerca teatrale. Il Living, Grotowski, Barba e Brook, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2015.

- L. Ronconi e G. Capitta, Teatro della conoscenza, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2012.

- M. Schino, L'età dei maestri. Appia, Craig, Stanislavskij, Mejerchol'd, Copeau, Artaud e gli altri, Roma, Viella, 2017.

- L. Squarzina, La storia e il teatro, Roma, Carocci, 2012.

- G. Strehler, Per un teatro umano: pensieri scritti, parlati e attuati, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1974.

- E. B. Vachtangov, Il sistema e l'eccezione: taccuini, lettere, diari, Pisa, ETS, 2004.

3) one text chosen from the following list:

- S. Bajma Griga, La Tempesta di Shakespeare per Giorgio Strehler, Pisa, ETS, 2003.

- V. Di Bernardi, Mahabharata. L'epica indiana e lo spettacolo di Peter Brook, Roma, Bulzoni, 1990.

- C. Longhi, Orlando furioso di Ariosto-Sanguineti per Luca Ronconi, Pisa, ETS, 2006.

- F. Mazzocchi, La locandiera di Goldoni per Luchino Visconti, Pisa ETS, 2003.

- V. E. Mejerchol´d, 33 svenimenti. Una domanda di matrimonio, L'anniversario, L'orso di Anton Cechov; Milano, Ubulibri, 2006.

- C. Meldolesi e L. Olivi, Brecht regista. Memorie dal Berliner Ensamble, Imola, Cue Press, 2015 (solo la parte II: Gli attori e la regia).

- K. S. Stanislavskij, Le mie regie 1. Il gabbiano, Imola, Cue Press, 2016.

If the course lecturer agrees, students attending the course may choose an alternative text to the ones suggested in list #2 and/or replace the chosen text in list #3 with a written essay, which also must be approved by the course lecturer, on a theatre production of major cultural importance.

The titles of other possible texts to be included in list #2 and/or list #3 will be available on these pages in October 2018.

Teaching methods

The course will be primarily developed through a series of front lectures accompanied by discussions with the attending students.

Assessment methods

The final oral exam will focus on the subjects covered during the course and in the texts studied by the student. In assessing the methodological and critical skills acquired by the student, the exam will follow these criteria:

  • the achievement by the student of an organic vision of the issues addressed in class, the mastery of expression and of an appropriate language, the originality of reflection and the familiarity with the historical and theoretical knowledge tools to understand and analyze the history of directing and theatre productions will be assessed with a mark of excellence;
  • a mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the topics, a non-articulated capacity for synthesis and analysis and/or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a pedantic knowledge of the history of directing, will lead to discrete valuations;
  • formative gaps and/or inappropriate language, as well as an inadequate familiarity with the historical and theoretical knowledge tools to understand and analyze the history of directing and theatre productions will lead to votes that will be barely sufficient;
  • formative gaps, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliography, and inability to analyze the history of directing will only be evaluated negatively.

Teaching tools

During the course, students will be advised to view video materials related to the theatre productions analyzed and discussed in class. It is also hoped that during the course students will attend live theatre productions.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Giangiacomo Colli