2 results found - page 1 of 1

    • Ermanno Bencivenga   

      The Theatre of Being

      A part of the Invasioni series, this essay examines how theatre can enlighten the main metaphysical theme of our tradition: the nature of the subject in contemporary society.

      After examining the philosophical notion of “I”, the author turns to the masters of drama – from Stanislavsky and Grotowsk to Brecht – to show how theatre actors promote and develop the richness of the subject through acting. Two ample chapters are dedicated to the role of spectators and moral judgement in theatre and the self.

      For years, Bencivenga has argued that subjectivity has a theatrical character and that the self is made up of multiple, mutually dialoguing voices. Clearly, this is a metaphorical dialogue: the voices do not always speak to each other; sometimes, they take over the body and move it as they will. This study of acting, then, is ideal for investigating the metaphysics of the subject.

      Plato had banished actors from his ideal republic to avoid the multiplicity they embodied and the distraction they caused, preventing citizens from concentrating solely on their social role. In a 180-degree turn, the author proposes a republic of actors, in which multiplicity is the rule and distraction is a valuable tool.

    • Ermanno Bencivenga   

      In the Name of the Father and of the Son

      The book investigates the very special relationship between fathers and sons through two cases drawn from two seminal texts for Western culture – the Odyssey and Pinocchio –, giving each a truly unique interpretation.

      It starts with the Odyssey, the focus here not being Odysseus but Telemachus, who chooses his own father. With detective-like precision and examining the clues scattered throughout Homer’s epic poem, Bencivenga retraces the fundamentally arbitrary nature of this choice: Telemachus does not know that the shipwrecked man before him is his father, but he eventually feels and decides that he is. It is the son, then, who establishes who his father is.

      The second example is taken from Pinocchio, a story traditionally given an uplifting interpretation where a mechanical child takes on social responsibilities and eventually becomes human. Here, on the other hand, the book is about Geppetto, who eventually chooses to be a father by progressively humanising the puppet until he recognises it as his own son. The first book in the Invasioni series, In the Name of the Father and of the Son offers a unique take on the elective nature of what appears to be a blood bond.