Alchemists of the Stage - Theatre Laboratories in
What is a theatre laboratory? Why a theatre
This book attemps to answer these questions,
focusing on the experiences and theories, the visions and the
techniques, the differences and similarities of European theatre
laboratories in the twentieth century.
It studies in depth the Studios of Stanislavski and Meyerhold, the
school of Decroux, the Teatr Laboratorium of Jerzy Grotowski and
Ludwik Flaszen, as well as Eugenio Barba's Odin Teatret.
Theatre laboratories embody a theatre practice that defies the
demands and fashions of the times, the usual ways of production and
the sensible functions that stage art enjoys in our society. It is
theatre that refuses
to be only art and whose radical research forges new conditions
with a view to changing both the actor
and the spectator. This research transforms theatrical craft into
a laboratory that has been compared to the laboratories of the
alchemists, who worked not on material but on substance. The
alchemists of the stage did not only operate on forms and styles,
but mainly on the living substance of the theatre: the actor, seen
not just as an artist but above all as a representative of a new
Laboratory theatres have rarely been at the centre of the news.
Yet their underground activity has influenced theatre history.
Without them, our very ideas of theatre, as shaped throughout the
course of the twentieth century, would have been quite different.
In this book Mirella Schino recounts, as in a novel, the
vicissitudes of a group of practitioners and scholars who try to
uncover the technical, political and spiritual perspectives behind
the word "laboratory" when applied to the theatre.
teaches theatre history at the University of Roma 3, Italy. She
is a member of the scientific staff of ISTA (International School
of Theatre Anthropology) and editor of the journal Teatro e
Storia. She specialises in nineteenth-century acting, the
twentieth-century theatrical revolution, and ensemble theatre in
Europe since the 1960s. Her books are: Il Teatro di
Eleonora Duse (1992, 2008); Il crocevia del Ponte
d'Era. Storie e voci di una generazione teatrale. 1974-1995
(1996); La nascita della regia teatrale
(2003); Racconti del Grande Attore (2004).