Italian Grotesque Theater

Italian Grotesque Theater

Italian Grotesque Theater

Italian Grotesque Theater

Synopsis

"This is the first book in English to explore as a unit the Italian theater of the grottesco in the twentieth century: from Chiarelli's The Mask and the Face to Antonelli's A Man Confronts Himself and Cavacchioli's The Bird of Paradise, each play being the author's masterpiece, and dealing with theatrical as well as metatheatrical concerns. Michael Vena highlights here some of the significant innovations of these "grotteschi" both in terms of ideas and in the relationship between author, actor, and the public, thereby suggesting that the time is ripe for a systematic rassessment of these and other voices of that brief but significant movement, widely acclaimed then, certainly underestimated now, and perhaps all along misunderstood." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

We have witnessed within the last two or three decades a surge of critical attention aimed at reassessing the work of playwrights who produced a genre of drama called grotesque or the “new Italian school” as it came to be known in France at the turn of the century. Their importance needs hardly be stressed both in terms of their relation to Pirandello's own theatrical production and the role they played in the rejuvenation of European stage. More specifically, we owe a debt of gratitude to Giancarlo Sammartano who, with his 1994 volume on Luigi Antonelli, completes an itinerary on twentieth-century grotesque theater, begun with a similar publication on Luigi Chiarelli in 1988, and a subsequent one on Enrico Cavacchioli in 1990. All three volumes include an extensive introduction and bibliography, a chronology of the author's life, all the most important plays, and other jottings. As an assiduous cultivator of the theatrical field, Sammartano captures with remarkable clarity some significant innovations of these grotteschi both in terms of ideas and in the relationship between author, actor, and the public, thereby suggesting that the time is ripe for a systematic reassessment of such works: to look and listen again to these three and other voices of that brief but significant early-twentieth-century current, widely acclaimed then, certainly underestimated now, and perhaps all along misunderstood.

The Mask and the Face by Luigi Chiarelli is historically important as the first successful attempt at grotesque theater, while two plays that follow, A Man Confronts Himselfby Luigi Antonelli and The Bird of Paradise by Enrico Cavacchioli, exhibit further innovations in content and form as their authors sought to forge a more radical, irreverent, even violent linguistic medium. the new style, which reflects also the developments of futurism and surrealism, turned to an assertion of that spirit of revolt driven by the philosophical influence of Friedrich Nietzsche. Although Antonelli and Cavacchioli shared pretty much the same vision of reality, they are vastly different from one another, as the first brought to the stage an aura of fairy tale and magic whereas the second parodied, through the lenses of science . . .

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