28147 - History of Acting (1) (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Anna Laura Mariani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/05

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Music and Theatre Studies (cod. 8837)

  • Course Timetable from Mar 29, 2023 to May 05, 2023


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

Gender equality

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the Course the student will have acquired knowledge about the theory and practice of the art of acting in history, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in the contemporary world; - skills for the study and analysis of both reciting and performing modes of past and present; - methodological tools for reading the sources also from the point of view of the gender.

Course contents



In the historical part, we will address the theoretical-methodological problems related to the study of the actor/actress in the Italian-French and English area, from the birth of professionalism with the Commedia dell’arte to the end of the twentieth Century, always keeping in mind the gender cathegory. In addition to changes in ideas, techniques, theories, acting styles, we will study the materiality of the trade, the micro-societies of the actors, some leading actors/actresses.

The monographic section will be more closely focused on the twentieth century, offering a new reading of its complex history based on analysis of two artists exemplifying different genders (actress/actor), artistic practices (cinema/theatre, variety/prose) and historical contexts (before and after the advent of Nuovo Teatro). They are Anna Magnani (1908-1973), perhaps the greatest Italian actress of the mid-1900s, whose career began on the stage to continue on film; and Elio De Capitani (1953), the actor and director with the Milanese company Teatro dell’Elfo, who will be the reference point for our investigation of the relationship between actor and ‘performer’ in the present context.

(Any queries relative to programme changes may be addressed to the lecturer).

Course begins March 29, 2023.

Timetable: Wednesdays , Thursdays, Fridays 15-17h (Aula Donatoni)


Claudio Meldolesi, Pensare l'attore, Bulzoni, Roma 2013

Effetto Magnani. Sguardi sull'attrice e sulla diva, a cura di Giulia Carluccio, Federica Mazzocchi, Giulia Muggeo, Mariapaola Pierini, CuePress, Bologna 2022.  

Laura Mariani, L'America di Elio DE Capitani. Interpretare Roy Cohn, Richaid Nixon, Willy Loman, Mr Berlusconi, infine Ahab, CuePress, Bologna 2023.

Non-attending students must read: Elsa De' Giorgi, Ho visto partire il tuo treno, Feltrinelli, Milano 2017.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars, particularly about finding and reading various source texts. Formation of working groups. In-house projection of films and video recordings, meeting artists.

Assessment methods

The final oral exam will assess the basic knowledge of the subject from a historical, theoretical and methodological point of view. The ability to analyze the performance of an actor starting from images, texts and live experiences will be verified and participation in group work and possible papers produced will also be evaluated.

Teaching tools

These include face-to-face lessons accompanied by audiovisual materials, working groups, meetings with artists and watching performances.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Laura Mariani