Between Collodi’s Ringmaster and Manzoni’s Capocomico: Antihumanism or the Circus of Life in Carmelo Bene’s Pinocchio
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Eccentric and gifted, Carmelo Bene was undoubtedly the greatest guitto (“barnstormer”) of the contemporary Italian stage—a term he relished. He was perceived as an iconoclast, a tyrant on stage, a genius, an impostor, a misanthrope and misogynist, and a controversial director for the 1966 Venice Biennale. I discuss one of his most celebrated versions of a classic text, Collodi’s Pinocchio. Bene worked repeatedly on rewriting Collodi’s novel and on its stage adaptation. A first edition of Bene’s Pinocchio for the theater (in his words, an “adattamento scenico da Collodi” [“stage adaptation”]), staged by Teatro Laboratorio in Rome, 1961, is followed by a second (titled Pinocchio ‘66 and staged by Teatro Centrale in Rome, 1966), then by a radio version (Pinocchio, in 1974) then by a third staged version (Pinocchio, with music by C. G. Luporini, at Teatro Verdi in Pisa, 5 Dec. 1981), and finally by a fourth in 1998 (Pinocchio ovvero lo spettacolo della Provvidenza, staged by Teatro dell’Angelo in Rome). Bene’s long investment in Pinocchio takes the shape also of a printed text (Pinocchio, with Proposte per il teatro, published in Milan by Lerici, 1964). It is on this printed version of 1964, contained in Bene’s Opere, that I focus my attention. It may or may not be in accord with the actual performances that Bene staged over a twenty-year period. The distance separating the different instances of Bene’s Pinocchio is striking enough to elicit an interest in a genetic study of that work according to the different media in which it morphed: print, stage, television and radio broadcasts.
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Approaches to Teaching Collodi's Pinocchio and Its Adaptations