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

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2022/2023

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: 27 September 2022

[break from 01 November to 14 November].

end of lessons: 20 December 2022


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 Tragic and the Permanence of the Dionysian

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. The tragic and its forms are one of its main expressions. In this framework the Dionysian feeling looms as a peculiar feature of the archaic spectacular forms, whose constituent elements date back to the mysterious cults practised in Central Asia and Greece. The permanence of this sensitivity, or at least some of its elements, runs through the entire history of theatre - think of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance reenactment or Shakespeare, Hölderlin and Kleist - and comes to us like a karstic river and we find them transfigured on the stage of Thierry Salmon, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Carmelo Bene, Jan Fabre or Romeo Castellucci. Of the Dionysian, connoted as detachment from the world and immersion in pure interiority, we will discuss three aspects in particular: the first is self-recognition anagnorisisis for the Greeks – while the second is becoming in its two declensions animal and vegetable. Both these elements coagulate in the definition of the figure on stage. It takes the floor – this is the third aspect of the investigation – and does so in musical forms (as recalled by Nietzsche) of the voice-song that expresses and testifies to the irrepressible need to share with others what is known in the regions of pure interiority. In doing so, the poets of the scene we are talking about name the world by showing it as a radical representation. It is no coincidence that their favourite expression is the oratory or concert form in which echoes, in the contemporary voice-sound, the yardstick of ancient lamentation, which strongly contributed to structuring the tragedy.

Title Module 2 (6 CFU): the forms of the tragic

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:

Carmelo Bene, Riccardo III, 1977.

Thierry Salmon, Le troiane, 1988.

Eimuntas Nekrosius, Hamletas, 1997.

Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, Tragedia Endogonidia, 2004.

Jan Fabre, Tannhäuser, 2004.

Romeo Castellucci, Tannhäuser, 2017.

And others to be defined.



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

b)- Hans-Thies Lehmann, Tragedia e teatro drammatico, Imola, Cue Press, 2022.


one volume of your choice among:

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


b)- 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