Skip to main content

How to Get Your Hands Dirty: Old and New Models of 'Militant' Theatre Criticism in Italy

Laera, Margherita (2016) How to Get Your Hands Dirty: Old and New Models of 'Militant' Theatre Criticism in Italy. In: Radosavljevic, Duška, ed. Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, pp. 99-117. ISBN 978-1-4725-7709-2. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

In the autumn of 1966, prompted by the lethargic state of performing arts in Italy, a group of so-called ‘militant’ theatre scholars and critics gathered to write a manifesto entitled ‘Per un Nuovo Teatro’ (‘For a New Theatre’), which would also function as a call for participants to a conference in Ivrea, near Turin, the following summer. The Ivrea conference marked the beginning of a new era in Italian theatre practice and criticism, in that it inaugurated a burgeoning experimental scene (unimaginatively labelled ‘New Theatre’). Crucially, scholars and practitioners who gathered in Ivrea also took issue with the current model of theatre criticism, especially its complacency with bourgeois values and inability to challenge the status quo. While the predominant understanding of criticism at the time viewed the critic as an external, transcendental observer of theatre practice, the ‘militant’ paradigm advocated a much more engaged approach, whereby critics would ‘get their hands dirty’ by promoting anti-bourgeois ‘New Theatre’ over old repertoire, and become involved in theatre practice in order to influence its course. It is evident that the ‘militant’, ‘get-your-hands-dirty’ understanding of the critic’s role poses a number of deontological problems, however its distinctively creative approach to the profession is still relevant today. This essay is concerned with the legacy that the ‘militant’ paradigm has had on new models of theatre criticism recently evolved in the internet era in Italy. In order to explore how contemporary Italian theatre critics regard and practice tactics inspired by the ‘militant’ approach of the 1960s and 70s, I spoke to critics Claudia Cannella (Corriere della Sera and Hystrio) and Andrea Porcheddu (Delteatro.it, Hystrio, Linkiesta.it) about conflicts of interest and professionalism. Throughout the essay, I report on the results of an internet survey I designed in collaboration with Prof. Oliviero Ponte di Pino of the Accademia di Brera to map out the state of the profession in Italy today. About 200 respondents answered some thirty-seven questions aimed at determining whether the recent de-professionalisation of theatre criticism marks a return towards the ‘militant’ paradigm.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Theatre criticism, Italian theatre
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4731 Journalism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1655 Drama
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Drama and Theatre
Depositing User: Margherita Laera
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2016 15:25 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56852 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):