<<<March 2021>>>

Alchemists of the Stage

Mirella Schino





Alchemists of the Stage - Theatre Laboratories in Europe

What is a theatre laboratory?   Why a theatre laboratory?


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 human being.


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.



Mirella Schino

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).






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Mirella Schino


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