In the 1930s, a scientific research laboratory was affiliated with the Theatre of Meyerhold, in which many young theatre directors such as L. Varpakhovsky, A. Gladkov, and Seki Sano participated. Laboratory personnel actively worked to study ‘theory and practice in theatre’ and systematise and record the ‘direction of Meyerhold’ by creating ‘scores’. In other words, they intended to research not only performance, but also direction. According to Varpakhovsky, the laboratory was established as a venue for accumulating and handing down knowledge and experience through these scores. Participants analysed the rhythm or tempo of actors' movements and speech and the miseen-scène for each act, and then tried to fix these elements visually in a score to work out direction collaboratively between the director and actors. At the same time, they considered more than just stage direction. They researched the reaction of the audience in each scene and made a ‘score of the audience’, an element that could be included in the overall score. The scores were developed at the laboratory with the aim of recording theatrical direction that reflected the thoughts of Meyerhold, who divided performance (which he regarded as ‘music’) into elements and recomposed them, even extending the frame of performance to include the audience.
In this article, I examine the impact of D'Annunzio's tragedy Francesca da Rimini on Italian theatre and also analyze how the influence of Wagner resulted in innovation in D'Annunzio's work.
After becoming a Wagnerian, D'Annunzio was strongly influenced by Wagner both in his novels and plays, and the results are evident in both the content and the performance of Francesca: the plot and the composition of scenes are quite similar to those of Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, and D'Annunzio consciously maintained this similarity in performance. His intent was to create a drama as a total art form following Wagner's art theory. As a leading figure of the Latin Renaissance, D'Annunzio chose Francesca, a story from Dante's Divine Comedy, an epic poem that was and is still regarded as the pinnacle of Italian literature. By doing so he aimed to create a new Italian art form that exceeded Wagner, who was a representative of Nordic culture. The first performance of Francesca failed at its opening in Rome in 1901; however it eventually succeeded after repeat performances in 1902, garnering high praise. D'Annunzio's emphasis on comprehensive direction had a significant influence on Italian theatre, which until then, was mainly centered on the performances by famous actors. His methods slowly gained traction and his subsequent theatrical activities led to a new wave of Italian theatre like those of Futurism and Pirandello. Hence it can be concluded that his tragedy Francesca ushered in a new era of Italian theatre.
It is well known that Jean-Jacques Rousseau's scène lyrique Pygmalion developed to form a theatrical genre called melodrama in France and in Germany, but in different fashions in each country. As to German melodrama, its main features can be summarized by four characteristics: independence between text and music; emphasis on visual elements such as pantomime and tableau; style of composition as monodrama; lack of dramatic complications. Focusing especially on the last two features, this article analyzes monologues in Proserpina, the melodrama written and staged by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in Weimar in 1815, and examines the dramaturgical structure of the plot which has almost no intrigue. This short piece has only one decisive dramatic event at the end, which is preceded by a long epical monologue that depicts the inner world of the tortured heroine, without advancing the action. Goethe characterizes such a type of action as a “retarding” type. This analysis shows the structural basis on which German melodrama as short tragedy can be composed, which was Goethe's aim with Proserpina. The same structure is found applied to the genre of ballet, which has no dialogue either, for example, in Lilac Garden by Antony Tudor, a short psychological study in dance.