La commedia della vanità

©Serena Pea

Claudio Longhi stages one of the lesser known but most topical of Elias Canetti’s works, describing a dystopian world in which a totalitarian government bans vanity, depriving people of their identities.

Piccolo Teatro Strehler

Claudio Longhi stages Elias Canetti, with almost thirty actors involved in presenting Italian audiences with the great Nobel prize-winning author through one of his lesser known but most topical works.
La commedia della vanità, written between 1933 and 1934, published in 1950 and performed for the first time in 1965, describes a dystopian world in which a totalitarian government “legally” establishes that vanity is banned and all instruments which keep it in existence are to be destroyed. All mirrors are banned, and their manufacturers are executed, but rather than self-celebration, what is destroyed is the very idea of identity itself. What remains? An intricate and volatile lexical undercurrent, words presented faithfully by Canetti as he himself heard them and presented through the mechanism of the “acoustic mask”, or rather the re-proposing of language without modifications or enhancements, whether it be dialect or language either broken or grand.
In the re-reading by Claudio Longhi, this polyphonic chorus spreads from the stage and spreads throughout the stalls, communicating to the audience all of the urgency and depth - as well as the enjoyment - of Canetti’s words. In the background, the nightmare of an emerging dictatorship is loudly applauded.

Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes with 2 intervals

Meetings and insights

The Playbill

Piccolo Teatro Strehler
from 15 to 26 January 2020
La commedia della vanità
by Elias Canetti
translated by Bianca Zagari
directed by Claudio Longhi
sets Guia Buzzi, costumes Gianluca Sbicca, video Riccardo Frati, lighting Vincenzo Bonaffini
with Fausto Russo Alesi, Donatella Allegro, Michele Dell’Utri, Simone Francia, Diana Manea, Eugenio Papalia, Aglaia Pappas, Franca Penone, Simone Tangolo, Jacopo Trebbi
and with Rocco Ancarola, Simone Baroni, Giorgia Iolanda Barsotti, Oreste Leone Campagner, Giulio Germano Cervi, Brigida Cesareo, Elena Natucci, Marica Nicolai, Nicoletta Nobile, Martina Tinnirello, Cristiana Tramparulo, Giulia Trivero, Massimo Vazzana
violino Renata Lackó
cimbalom Sándor Radics
assistant playwright Matteo Salimbeni
assistant to the director Elia Dal Maso
vocal coach Cristina Renzetti
an Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Teatro di Roma – Teatro Nazionale, Fondazione Teatro della Toscana, LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura production


Full price € 33 | Discounted price for youngsters and the elderly (under 26 and over 65) € 21
Full price € 26 | Discounted price for youngsters and the elderly (under 26 and over 65) € 18

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It is possible to purchase full price or discounted tickets (for spectators under the age of 26 or over the age of 65) as well as subscriptions.

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Tickets for all productions for the current season can be purchased up to one hour before the beginning of scheduled performances.

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