The Theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (review

Rebecca M. Groves

Modern Drama, Volume 52, Number 2, Summer 2009, pp. 238-240 (Article)

Published by University of Toronto Press DOI: 10.1353/mdr.0.0106

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Socı became familiar to European audiences beyond Italy in the 1990s with visionary. 304. Strasbourg. Groves. director Romeo Castellucci has curated the theatre division of the 2005 Venice Biennale and served as associate artist for the Avignon Festival in 2008. Tragedia Endogonidia. Radically interrogating tragic drama’s identification with traditional developmental imperatives (like plot and character). CHIARA GUIDI. Each episode.). and a binary oscillation between heroic action and choric explanation. Julius Caesar (1997). and Cesena). Berlin. Without fear either of incomprehension 238 Modern Drama. rhetorical speech.52. The oeuvre to date includes over forty theatre works. `etas Raffaello Sanzio book project was conceived by The Theatre of Socı the Castelluccis. $35. named for the host city’s initial and number in the sequence (C. Brussels. Bergen.2. Launched in the company’s hometown of Cesena in January 2002. Paris. `etas Raffaello JOE KELLEHER. twenty publications. and several experimental theatre laboratories for young people. Tragedia Endogonidia generated eleven unique episodes in ten European cities (Avignon. etc. and Genesi: From the Museum of Sleep (1999). The company’s performance works tour regularly to forward-thinking venues around the world. as an integral part of the three-year performance cycle. and Chiara Guidi founded their company in rural northern Italy.95 (Pb). Rome. In recent years. The Theatre of Socı Sanzio. Pp.3138/md. Claudia Castellucci writes in a strikingly Artaudian manner. illustrated. London: Routledge. #02.238 . $150 (Hb). and NICHOLAS RIDOUT. Claudia Castellucci. together with UK-based theatre scholars Joe Kelleher and Nicholas Ridout. ROMEO CASTELLUCCI. was conceived as autonomous rather than as a phase contributing to a larger evolution. A. #03. Stanford University Over twenty-five years after Romeo Castellucci. iconoclastic productions such as Hamlet: The Vehement Superficiality of the Death of a Mollusc (1992). 2007. B. The Theatre `etas Raffaello Sanzio marks the first English-language publication of Socı `etas Raffaello Sanzio on their extraordinary and prolific body of work.Reviews CLAUDIA CASTELLUCCI. 52:2 (Summer 2009) doi:10. Reviewed by Rebecca M. Tragedia Endogonidia delved deeply into the subject of tragedy by summarily evacuating its familiar forms. London. #01. One of the political tasks of the theatre as I see it now is to get right to the bottom of its own specific language. Marseille.

In scrupulously accounting for the experience of the work as part of the process of making it. 52:2 (Summer 2009) 239 . manifestos. As the tenor of their language can be highly charged and often sounds especially provocative when encountered in short excerpts. This book is not a workbook for practitioners. interlocutor. (29) Spoken language plays a relatively subservient role to more visual and visceral modes of transmission in the world of Tragedia Endogonidia. the writings included in the present volume demonstrate how highly theorized and articulated the process of producing this theatre truly is. without anxiety about the absence of speech on stage or anxiety about speech in general. it is important to note that these artists do not devise their work collaboratively in rehearsal. and ultimate unknown. the extended conversation of the book as a whole aids greatly in understanding the company’s thought process. yet extremely rich. and conversation transcripts of all five authors discussing a range of practical and philosophical themes. The hybrid structure of the book incorporates writings by both “makers and spectators” from various points in the creative process: working letters. We see the intellectual rigour of Tragedia Endogonidia both in the clarity of its concepts and in the palpable presence of its unthought dimensions. without translation or commentary or explanation. an introduction as well as postperformance responses by Kelleher and Ridout. “[T]hroughout these pages it might seem that it is the spectator. or devising strategies for collective creation. and notebook entries by the company. These pages serve up conviction countered by tantalizing bouts of uncertainty. It elaborates the unique and highly conceptual approach of this company in its own terms. This approach is made explicit in Kelleher and Ridout’s introduction. `etas Raffaello Sanzio functions in certain senses as a collective While Socı (evidenced by the individual integrity of the three principle creative voices).REVIEWS or the impossibility of communication. this carefully edited collection comprises an archive produced in direct and synchronous relation to Tragedia Endogonidia itself. There are moments in each episode in which the core substance seems to be profoundly unavailable even as the material form aggressively accosts the bodies of its viewers. Thus. dramaturgical texts. short samplings of performance scripts. inscrutable patterns. not the author or director Modern Drama. directives. with exercises. the artists variously theorize and rehearse visions of the spectator – addressed as witness. rather than a retrospective archaeology of the performances’ textual remains. with a strategy for words and a strategy for images that is capable of organising a new reality. The negative force of tragedy under investigation appears to crystallize in sparse. And yet. “The spectators and the archive.” They write.

whose personality did not emerge from his language and whose motivations were not fully clear. he felt there was something wrong with the play. The spectators are a destiny. illustrated. To think of drama when making art doesn’t. (181) While the authors disclose the theory and craft behind several unforgettable theatrical moments from Tragedia Endogonidia. even before it had been staged. The three main characters – the King. if there was a character too many. Besides.B. who is the first subject of the theatrical realm” (4). in particular. and the King – well. emerged for them. Pp. And this embrace pushes together alienation and intimacy. lxxiii þ 374. the Queen had not acquired sufficient psychological and emotional subtlety. . not a horizon . Reviewed by Giuseppe Serpillo. RICHARD ALLEN CAVE. as the company prepares its emergence and then again as two professional spectators reflect on what. however. highly recommended to all readers of the Routledge edition. Yeats. resource for audiences already following Socı it also provides an unusually inclusive introduction for readers who have 1 yet to encounter it live. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. early in November 1933. it was the King. 2007. University of Sassari When.REVIEWS or actor. What emerged after long and frantic drafting and redrafting was the first prose version of The King of the Great Clock Tower. Yeats sent Olivia Shakespear two stanzas of what could be the opening song of a new dance play. mean thinking about the spectators and imagining them prey to an effect which is sought in them. In this way. . the book not only serves as an invaluable `etas Raffaello Sanzio’s work. the Queen. However. 52:2 (Summer 2009) . not a reflex – and certainly not a reflection. $85. ed. and the Stroller – did not quite match. 240 Modern Drama. NOTE 1 Each episode of Tragedia Endogonida has been beautifully documented on video in a “Video Memory” film series by Cristiano Carloni and Stefano Franceschetti. It’s about conceiving an embrace.00 (Hb). The King of the Great Clock Tower and A Full Moon in March: Manuscript Materials by W. These texts invite their readers to contemplate what performance experience might entail. Yet as Claudia Castellucci cautions. The Stroller was at times dangerously close to farce. they do not sanctify the performance event as that which can only touch those in attendance. he scarcely knew how or whether it would develop at all.

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