Franco Quadri


    IN THE LAST QUARTER CENTURY of Italian theater no one more than Carmelo Bene has earned the right to say, “L’avanguardia sono io” (I am the avant-garde). And Bene, in fact, often made this claim in the time from the beginnings of his career in the early ’60s through the period in the late ’60s and early ’70s when he experimented with cinema. In those years, a stasis prevailed in conventional, naturalistic Italian theater, and Bene felt the need for a movement in opposition, a movement of destruction and reconstruction, with himself as standard-bearer and pioneer. Then, the word “avant-garde”


    WHEN ROBERT WILSON’S WORK first appeared internationally it was generally seen from a single and limited viewpoint—as a return to the image. Wilson was understood as a proponent of two-dimensional theater, of theater to be looked at only. This was because he came into the public eye at the beginning of the ’70s, when the figurative gesture ruled supreme on the stage, and the body, in its expressive entirety, was at the center of a tendency to involve the spectator. But Wilson’s push was to stretch the visual; it was a recuperation of the grand deliriums of the Surrealist painters, basing dramatic


    EVERY TIME HAS ITS FASHIONS, and every cultural period its guiding personalities. In new theater this personality is—and has been for fifteen years now—Pina Bausch. I say “new theater” and not just theater, or dance, or ballet, to designate that theater of movement which looks to the future, floating in an area more vast and open than the traditional. Now, when classifications have lost their meanings, the term “new theater,” vague and yet indicative, seems appropriate to a cultural atmosphere that has broken down boundaries and divisions among disciplines and has either outworn the definition