The witness on stage: The theater of Ascanio Celestini /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Montanari, Chiara, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (224 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Armando Maggi Committee members: Francoise Meltzer; Rocco Rubini.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-05(E), Section: A.
Summary:This work takes the theatrical production of the actor and writer Ascanio Celestini as a case study to explore teatro di narrazione, an Italian theatrical genre originating in the 1990s, through the perspective offered by the theoretical approaches developed by trauma studies, especially those that explore the transmission of traumatic memories through literary representation. In the early '90s Italian theatrical scene sees the development of a new form of theater, teatro di narrazione, theatrical storytelling. This label defines diegetic, soloist, performances where the actor, who is also usually the author of the play, narrates stories taken from Italian contemporary history.
Among the many theatrical storytellers who have brought their stories on stage in the last twenty years, Ascanio Celestini is not only one of the most renown but also one of the more interesting. While his initial productions, in the early 2000s, reflects closely how teatro di narrazione represents traumatic events on stage, his later shows are representative of the new directions in which Italian theatrical storytelling is heading. After bringing on stage Radio Clandestina, Fabbrica and Scemo di guerra, which focus on traumatic memory and its transmission, Celestini ultimately remains dissatisfied by the poetics of memory. In 2005 he takes a completely different path and starts telling stories deeply rooted in contemporaneity.
In order to provide a complete picture of Celestini's experimentation and reflections on these issues, I have taken into consideration, alongside the performances mentioned above, Celestini's interviews, writings and journals of performances that offer an invaluable insight into his theatrical production.
Chapter one explores how Celestini comes to formulate the questions that he will address throughout his theatrical career: how does listening to another's life experience affect the identity of the listener, and how can this process of transmission be represented on stage? The starting point of Celestini's reflection is his encounter with the work of the oral historian Alessandro Portelli, whose study L'ordine e' gia' stato eseguito. Roma, le Fosse Ardeatine, la memoria Celestini adapts into the play Radio Clandestina. Working on Portelli's book, Celestini not only identifies the memory of historical events as the form of orality that most interests him, but also discovers how theater can be a form to preserve the meaning and function of individual stories. At the same time, in Radio Clandestina, Celestini begins to explore the effects of transmitted memories on the listeners' identity.
Chapter two illustrates how Celestini constructs his first two performances on memory, Radio Clandestina and Fabbrica, to represent on stage the fundamental principles in which the public and scholarly discourse on inter- and transgenerational transmission of memory is rooted: the duty to remember, an ethical commitment that also becomes, for Celestini, an equally ethical commitment to political and civic agency.
Chapter three examines how Celestini progressively problematizes the model of representation of transmitted memories and the ethical principle on which his previous performances are based. While working on Scemo di guerra, Celestini comes to the conclusion that the appropriation of others' trauma creates an untenable ethical position. In particular, Celestini reflects on the violence toward the identity of individual witnesses that this apparently ethical mode of representation can produce. Celestini identifies two aspects through which this violence finds expression. On one hand, the reconstruction of a coherent narration that integrates a variety of testimonies tends to excise the victim's individual identity. On the other hand, the representation of traumatic memories tends to see in the witness a traumatized subject, independently from the witness' own sense of self.
In chapter four I examine how the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini deeply contributes to shape Celestini's understanding of the role of trauma in contemporary society. Drawing on Pasolini's Empirismo Eretico and his novel Teorema, the chapter first lays out Pasolini's theory of class, identity, and trauma in order to illustrate how Pasolini conceives of traumatic events as means toward political awareness and resistance. The chapter also examines the development of Pasolini's progressively bleak perspective on the possibility of social change. In Pasolini's view, as neo-capitalism effaces social diversity, trauma further reinforces the alienation of those who do not conform to a hegemonic social nomos. Like Pasolini, Celestini also explores the intertwined nature of identity, trauma and political engagement. While Celestini seems to share Pasolini's pessimistic view of the effects hegemonic culture has on the individual, he does envision the possibility of change. Celestini distances himself from Pasolini's hopeless reading of society, turning to traumatic events as ways to rebuild one's identity and, consequently, as a means toward political engagement. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).
Item Description:Advisors: Armando Maggi Committee members: Francoise Meltzer; Rocco Rubini.
Physical Description:1 electronic resource (224 pages)
Access:This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.