Contemporary research on acting fails some important issues that include the recitation of the human actor when he interacts with artificial beings like cartoons, the film dubbing, the attempts to write a history of acting, or to describe and to evaluate the performance of an actor on stage. This is due to the theory of theatre acting that established itself in the twentieth century. The theory of acting was born in modern times when, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, theatre acting was separated from oratory, and authors such as Andrea Perrucci, Charles Gildon, Luigi Riccoboni have recognized that the primary task of the actor  as opposed to the lawyer or the preacher  was to represent a character on stage. A new approach, however, to the theatre acting developed in the twentieth century. According to such approach the nature of the theatre acting was the direct, immediate relationship between the performer and the spectator, created by the performer’s action. This new approach made impossible a real understanding of the actor’s work with technological or mechanical tools, and made it difficult to outline a history of acting through the ages and to carry out a careful critical analysis of the actors’ performances. It is therefore necessary to revise this approach in the theory of acting. And the way to revise today acting theory is just to address the issues and the problems it seems to make insoluble.


Claudio Vicentini è Professore di Storia del teatro all’Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”. Tra le sue principali opere sono L’estetica di Pirandello, Milano, Mursia, 1970, Studio su Dilthey, Milano, Mursia, 1974, La teoria del teatro politico, Firenze, Sansoni, 1981, Pirandello. Il disagio del teatro, Venezia, Marsilio, 1993, L’arte di guardare gli attori, Venezia, Marsilio, 2007. cvicentini@unior.it


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