“This, which I have entitled Il Teatro Comico (Comical Theatre), rather than a comedy, can be considered a preface to my plays”. Thus, Carlo Goldoni addressed his readers in the preface to the printed edition of the theatrical text which represented a turning point for his entire work.
For his debut directing a production for the Piccolo, Roberto Latini has chosen Il Teatro Comico because “in the mid-1700s - he explains - Goldoni wrote a play which addressed the subject of theatre. It is something that smacks of Pirandello, almost two centuries earlier, it seems to have a sense of the twentieth century and its capacity to reflect upon itself, from Artaud onwards, passing by Pirandello, Beckett, Pinter, Ionesco, Müller... it is not theatre within theatre, it is the conscience of theatre”.
It is 1750, Goldoni is forty-three and wants to move away from the stereotypes of the Commedia dell’Arte to explore new territory. He wants his audiences to join him in this adventure, destined - and he was not wrong - to lay the foundations of modern theatre. With Teatro Comico he brought into play the astuteness of theatre to present the changes that he had in mind by having his actors recite them: in a theatre, a company is rehearsing the farce Il padre rivale del figlio; the masks are there - Pantalone, Brighella, the Doctor, Harlequin - the actors playing the lovers; there is the company head, Orazio, who is trying to convince them to abandon the tradition of improvisation and learn to study, to “think” and support a character, taking a written script as a starting point. “Goldoni demolished and reformed Italian theatre, and he had the sensibility to do so through a mechanism, a machine, intrinsic to theatre itself - continues Latini -. There are classics which I feel should be explored with contemporary eyes. There are stagings of classics which have in turn become national cultural treasures. To have at the Piccolo in the same season Strehler’s Harlequin and Il Teatro Comico could be a way to add something to the playwright to took from the past in order to move forward, who started a revolution from within the very mechanism of theatre”.
two hours and 30 minutes with interval