The volume “The Italian Method of La Drammatica: Its Legacy and Reception” contains a long and complex investigation that seeks to identify the Italian acting code system of “la drammatica”, used by nineteenth century Italian actors such as Adelaide Ristori, Giovanni Grasso, Tommaso Salvini and Eleonora Duse. In particular, their acting inspired Stanislavskij, who reformed twentieth century stage. The declamatory code of drammatica was composed of symbols for notation of voice and gesture, which Italian actors marked in their prompt books. The discovery of drammatica’s code sheds new light on nineteenth century acting. Having deciphered the phonetic symbols of the code, Anna Sica has given rise, together with a group of outstanding scholars, to an investigation that attempts to explore drammatica’s legacy, and its reception in Europe as well as in Asia. At this stage, new evidence has emerged proving, for instance, that the symbol used by drammatica actors to sign the “colorito vocale” was known to English actors in the second half of the nineteenth century. By noting how Adelaide Ristori passed on her art to Irving’s actress Genevieve Ward, and how Stanislavsky, almost aflame, moulded his system from Duse’s acting, an unexplored variety in the reception of drammatica’s legacy is revealed.
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