In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Politics and the Classics
  • Joshua Abrams (bio) and Jennifer Parker-Starbuck (bio)

As part of the cultural programming developed around the hosting of the Winter Olympics, the Italian city of Turin, in association with Teatro Stabile, also hosted this year's Europe Theatre Prize, Edition X. The tenth edition of the Europe Theatre Prize was held from 8–12 March 2006, following the Olympic and Para-Olympic games. Arriving just at the Para-Olympics closing ceremonies, we were greeted by a Turin abuzz, beautifully decorated, and full of around the clock activity. The prize this year was given to Harold Pinter, and the Eighth European Prize for New Theatrical Realities was shared by Lithuanian director Oskaras Koršunovas and the Serbian-born Hungarian choreographer Josef Nadj, director of the Centre Chorégraphique National d'Orléans in France.

The Prize generates days of activities—conferencing, productions, dinners, and awards, and we were impressed by the impeccable organization of the festivities, as well as the thick books we were given upon arrival, published by the Prize organization, on Peter Brook, Pina Bausch, and Lev Dodin, all former winners. (The other past recipients have been Ariane Mnouchkine and the Théâtre du Soleil, Giorgio Strehler, Heiner Müller, Robert Wilson, Luca Ronconi, and Michel Piccoli.) The impressive program featured five days (of which we were only able to attend two and a half) of performances, including productions of Pinter's work staged by Roger Planchon, Koršunovas's staging of The Master and Margarita, and of the Presnyakov Brothers's Playing the Victim. As well, Luca Ronconi, (who was the recipient of the sixth European Theatre Prize) collaborated with Teatro Stabile in the spirit of the Olympics of Culture to stage a series of productions called project Domani, which was billed as a staging of universal, humanitarian themes—history, war, ethics, technology, and finance—linked to the five Olympic Rings. Representing these themes were the following productions: Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare. The War Plays: a Trilogy by Edward Bond, The Devil's Mirror by Giorgio Ruffolo, Biblioetica. Dictionary for Use by Gilberto Corbellini, Pino Donghi and Armando Massarenti, and The Silence of [End Page 88]

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Figure 1.

From the Europe Theatre Prize Edition X. Oskaras Koršunovas's production of Playing the Victim; Photo: Courtesy Fondazione Teatro Stabile di Torino.

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Figure 2.

From the Europe Theatre Prize Edition X. Harold Pinter, recipient of the Europe Theatre Prize. Photo: Courtesy Fondazione Teatro Stabile di Torino.

[End Page 89]

The Communists by Vittorio Foa, Miriam Mafai and Alfredo Reichlin.

The Prize events were spread throughout Turin, allowing us to get a feel for the city and to experience the theatre spaces there, both old and new. The events were held in conjunction with the annual congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics, which brought a wide range of the most important theatre critics from throughout the world to Turin for these five days. As the Website for the event states, "the present edition of the Europe Theatre Prize reveals how theatre, more than any other art, is intimately related with the basic problems of today's contemporary society. The topics like terrorism, war, preservation of the democracy, finance are not just the protagonists of the political and social scene, but they immediately reflect on the theatre scene where they acquire the deepness that no mass media could express. It is the sign of a reborn theatre vitality, an art able to revive and to carry out its noblest and the most ancient civil role."

Upon our arrival, after a memorable car ride into town with the witty and entertaining actors Michael Gambon and Charles Dance, who came in for a special reading with Penelope Wilton and Jeremy Irons of selections from Pinter's works, we immediately found our way to the brand new Teatro Vittoria (it was inaugurated for this event) for the production of Biblioetica: Dictionary for Use, directed by Luca Ronconi. Equipped with hand held Palm Pilot-like translating devices, the audience first watched a talking head television screen defining key terms in bioethics and...


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