When it comes to Hell, nothing is more appropriate than thinking about the Divine Comedy. In fact, this internationally famous poem by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri portrays the most popular and famous Hell in Western culture. From its very beginning, this poem has been performed in public readings and spread throughout the world and adapted in many ways. In the second half of the nineteenth century, a new tradition of shows paved the way for the many others that followed during the twentieth century, especially in relation to the various anniversaries of the birth and death of the poet. From the sixties and seventies, thanks to the theories and practices of New Theatre, the staging of Dante was given a second life: new techniques as well as new spaces were made available to the performers. The contemporary scene of the twenty-first century has developed from these multiple instances and now faces a new contribution, from social media. This article analyses a specific performance of Dante's Inferno called Hell in the Cave. This show, performed for the first time in May 2011, gathers the audience and leads it deep inside the earth -- like a 'second Dante' -- using the geological site of Castellana Caves near Bari in Italy. The perfect setting of the caves offers a unique and immersive experience to the audience, who are also asked to take an active part in the infernal story. This vision of Hell combines drama, music and acrobatic dance with a singular setting in order to provide the most authentic impression of sin and damnation. This captivating performance testifies to a new kind of approach to performing Hell, especially related to Dante's staging tradition.

Hell in the Cave: Falling down to find the light.

Sara Fontana
2021

Abstract

When it comes to Hell, nothing is more appropriate than thinking about the Divine Comedy. In fact, this internationally famous poem by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri portrays the most popular and famous Hell in Western culture. From its very beginning, this poem has been performed in public readings and spread throughout the world and adapted in many ways. In the second half of the nineteenth century, a new tradition of shows paved the way for the many others that followed during the twentieth century, especially in relation to the various anniversaries of the birth and death of the poet. From the sixties and seventies, thanks to the theories and practices of New Theatre, the staging of Dante was given a second life: new techniques as well as new spaces were made available to the performers. The contemporary scene of the twenty-first century has developed from these multiple instances and now faces a new contribution, from social media. This article analyses a specific performance of Dante's Inferno called Hell in the Cave. This show, performed for the first time in May 2011, gathers the audience and leads it deep inside the earth -- like a 'second Dante' -- using the geological site of Castellana Caves near Bari in Italy. The perfect setting of the caves offers a unique and immersive experience to the audience, who are also asked to take an active part in the infernal story. This vision of Hell combines drama, music and acrobatic dance with a singular setting in order to provide the most authentic impression of sin and damnation. This captivating performance testifies to a new kind of approach to performing Hell, especially related to Dante's staging tradition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1073006
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