In the first decades of the twentieth century, at the Moscow Art Theatre, the pedagogy of the actor stands out as one of the constitutive features of the practice of theatre directing. However, during the twentieth century, the teaching vocation of the director is not always successful: on the one hand the experience of the ‘theaterworkshop’, in its various forms, is undeniably recognized as one of the main guidelines of the evolution of the poetic stage of the last century; on the other the pedagogical practice of directors, balancing the research of the first principles of acting and the transmission of their knowledge, gradually goes into crisis, especially at the end of the Sixties. After an initial rejection of the model of the school and the ‘Maestri’, Franco Quadri, during the Eighties, develops its pedagogical utopia, which culminates in the foundation of the l’École des Maîtres in 1990: an itinerant and international school for actors, headed by professional theatre directors in their forties and sixties. The aims of the École are: to define the profile of a genuinely European actor, to solve the crucial problem of the transmission of experience on stage, providing directors with the opportunity to carve out a space for free experimentation and research. The theoretical principles of the École des Maîtres are to be found in pataphysics, that is the science of the exception invented by Jarry, who was especially close to Franco Quadri: the fundamental rule of the famous critical pedagogy is not having rules. In its first season (1990-1998) the school is characterized by the presence of influential ‘Maestri’ by a strong personality. Between 1999 and 2003 Quadri calls some theater men who tend to build the relationship with the students not as a didactic, but as a professional relationship. Between 2004 and 2006, the École, transformed into the Thierry Salmon Project, receives valuable support from the European Union. Between 2007 and 2010 Quadri finally nominates as teachers some of the protagonists of the post-twenty-century theater, who were now open to the experience of post-directing. After a theoretical session that followed the death of Quadri in March of 2011, the École resumed its normal teaching activities, continuing its systematic exploration of the new possibilities of the contemporary scene. During its more than twenty years of life, the École des Maîtres has therefore become a kind of small-scale map of the complex and elusive landscape of the contemporary scene.
Claudio Longhi insegna Storia della regia e Istituzioni di regia presso l’Università di Bologna. Ha scritto: La drammaturgia del Novecento. Tra romanzo e montaggio (Ospedaletto di Pisa, Pacini, 1999), Tra moderno e postmoderno. La drammaturgia del Novecento (Ospedaletto di Pisa, Pacini, 2001), Scrittura per la scena e metafisica (Bologna, Gedit, 2004), L’«Orlando furioso» di Ariosto-Sanguineti per Luca Ronconi (Pisa, ETS, 2006) e Marisa Fabbri. Lungo viaggio attraverso il teatro di regia (Firenze, Le Lettere, 2010). Ha inoltre curato l’edizione critica di Orlando Furioso. Un travestimento ariostesco di Edoardo Sanguineti (Bologna, Il Nove, 1996).