La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by

Antonio Latella

Director of the Theatre Department


I believe it is interesting, at a moment in history in which the boundaries between the arts are progressively blurring, and may even be close to disappearing entirely (especially in the performing arts), to find an important issue that can serve as the starting point for a debate on certain fundamental aspects of the practice of live performance.
Perhaps, as we find it increasingly difficult to understand why, for example, a production of theatre-dance cannot be defined as theatre, or vice-versa a production that we may define as "theatre" also features performers at work, I believe that the object of the discussion may be circumscribed to two factors – vectors of the stage, the actor and the performer, and in particular where is, and is there still, a distinction between performer and actor?
Can an actor be a performer or a performer an actor? And if that is not possible, what are their shortcomings in one case or the other, if they might be defined as such?

Naturally, I believe that a work for the theatre has a completely different gestation depending on the type of collaborator that the director chooses to work with, from the very beginning of the project.
In my understanding, the difference lies not only in artistic capacity, deriving from greater expressive possibilities or capacities, but in the completely different approach to "being on stage", "being" as devoid of every sort of constraint or servitude. But is that really the case?
There have been many attempts to analyse the distinction between the work of a performer and that of an actor, emphasizing how the latter must in general observe the rules of the performance, such as fully adhering to the character to be played on stage for example, or repeating a pre-established text for a series of performances or abiding by an unrealistic timeframe dictated by the very nature of the performance; yet it should be noted that it is not always easy to codify, with any degree of precision, the issues that characterize the two different roles.

In this “Second Act”, we will therefore attempt to highlight this subtle difference between actor and performer, by bringing in actors, performers, actor-performers, but above all by seeking to feature productions that from the very beginning required the director to adopt a different approach to his choice of collaborator, and to show how these productions and performances evolved depending on the context and especially on the changes in the composition and taste of the audiences.
To this end, we will again offer present mini-solo retrospectives to showcase the artists, which can be, it appears to us, yet another way to create entertainment; in this we will follow the lead of President Baratta in the direction that, starting with the experience of the College, can turn the Festival itself into one great College which, with the help of the mini-solo retrospectives, can spark something that "works" inside the young actors so that they not only participate in the College, but become a truly active part of the Festival itself.

Biennale Teatro
Biennale Teatro