ABSTRACT

You are familiar with the town of Reggio Emilia, where I live: it has a 19th-century municipal theatre. There is also what we call the ‘brothel tower’ dating from the 12th century; in the park there are Roman remains, in good condition, from the second and third centuries, and archaeological excavations have revealed foundations from the original settlement, dating from the second century b.c. Then there are several beautiful palaces, dating from the 18th century, as well as modern construction made possible by the destruction which took place during the Second World War, not to mention some very recent new buildings. So, we are talking about twenty-two or twenty-three centuries of the same town, aspects of which you are hardly aware as you walk around today, but which are there to be appreciated if you want to. The same is true of commedia dell'arte: I have all those centuries of development available to put into a piece if I want to. What I can't and won't put in is what came before, in the middle ages, for example, and as for the future, even the immediate future, since I don't know what it consists of, I can't use that either.