The essay Schauspielkunst by Hermann Bahr, published in 1923, can be considered the final word of the Austrian critic and writer (who died in 1934) on the art of acting. The essay is purposefully constructed inorganically and unscientifically and a careful reading is necessary to understand the author’s ideas on the art of actors. Bahr thought that a new connection with the ancient tradition of baroque theatre would be the right way to reaffirm the central role of the Schau-spieler at the heart of that great community event, that is theatre. The theatre of the early twentieth century searched for a ‘new’ Schauspieler, and to find the actor of the future it went go back to the ‘authentic’ or ‘primary’ actor of the baroque stage, where, infected by the energy of the actor, all arts became schau-spielerisch. Then the theatre, through the actor, was able to fulfill its highest function, to be a living link between the eyes and the Spirit. The authentic actor, however, disappeared in the eighteenth century when the literature imposed itself on the theatrical performance. Like the actor of the baroque theatre, the ‘new’ actor had to be able to deploy on stage his full human and artistic potential, and by his mere presence, to enable the theatre to achieve its true nature again.


Sonia Bellavia insegna Discipline dello Spettacolo all’Università ‘La Spaienza’ di Roma. Ha scritto saggi e articoli sul teatro tedesco e italiano del settecento, dell’ottocento e del novecento. È autrice delle monografie: Le rappresentazioni shakespeariane di Ernesto Rossi sulla scena tedesca (Roma, Bulzoni, 2000); L’Ombra di Lear. Il ‘Re Lear’ di Shakespeare e il teatro italiano (1858-1995) (Roma, Bulzoni, 2004); La lezione di Friedrich Ludwig Schröder (Acireale-Roma, Bonanno, 2010). soniabellavia@gmail.com


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