A History of Italian Theatre
by Joseph Farrell and Paolo Puppa
Cambridge University Press, 2006; pp. 1-434
With the aim of providing a comprehensive history of Italian drama from its origins to the time of its publication in 2006, this book treats theatre in its widest sense, discussing the impact of all the elements and figures integral to the collaborative process of theatre-making. The impact of designers, actors, directors and impresarios as well as of playwrights is subjected to critical scrutiny, while individual chapters examine the changes in technology and shifts in the cultural climate which have influenced theatre. No other approach would be acceptable for Italian theatre, where from the days of commedia dell’arte, the central figure has often been the actor rather than the playwright. The important writers, such as Carlo Goldoni and Luigi Pirandello, receive detailed critical treatment, as do the ‘great actors’ of nineteenth-century theatre or the directors of our own time, but the focus is always on the bigger picture.