The basic terms we use in our essays on theatre and acting – beginning with the term ‘theatre’ itself – are mostly vague and confused. To give a sharp definition of each of them, however, is useless: each term actually includes several underlying meanings rooted and developed in our cultural history. The article explores the underlying meanings of ‘identificazione’ in acting theory regarding: (1) the relationship between the image of the character and the image of the actor from the perspective of the spectator, which became a pivotal issue in eighteenth century theory (2) the relationship between the emotions in the actor’s and the character’s souls and the notions of possession, inspiration and contagion, from ancient times to the nineteenth century (3) ‘identificazione’ as an acting process developed from the hermeneutic theory of the XIXth Century, which is able to connect the first two underlying meanings of the general term.
Claudio Vicentini è Professore Emerito 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); La teoria della recitazione dall’antichità al Settecento (Venezia, Marsilio, 2012). firstname.lastname@example.org