Images in between the action. Some Italian experience of immersive “photographic theater” [EN]

Arianna Novaga


Although the notion of Immersive Theater has recently been attributed to a specific genre of Anglo-Saxon
origin (presumably born around 2011 with the interactive and site-specific shows of the Punchdrunk group),
Italy counts a series of performative events that advanced the times, anticipating all those characteristics that
define the current concept of immersion linked to theater: real space, unified, within in the public moves
freely; active role and direct participation of the spectators, in interactive sharing with the actors; use of the
media, in particular of a visual mold, to fragment a narration that becomes polychronic, so that the public
creates their own version of the story.

In an exploratory journey that begins in the mid-nineties and passes through the pioneering Tetralogy of the
spectator of the Teatro del Lemming – the Italian paradigm of the active participation of an audience placed in
the middle of the scenic action – the proposed Paper aims to compare a series of contemporary theatrical
experiences in which photography, used in different forms, assumes a decisive role from the point of view of
the immersive condition.

If some practices prior to the 2000s had offered a total involvement of the five senses, that sometimes
consciously and provocatively excluded the gaze, some current experimentation in Italy returns to forcefully
mark a visual aesthetic based on the photographic image, which more than ever it makes an experiential
sharing tool. Among the various, it is proposed here three case studies, Wunderkammer by Città di Ebla,
Orthographie de la physionomie en mouvement by Ortographe and No Title Yet by Kinkaleri, different types of
representations with in common a dimension of immersiveness generated by the use of photography.


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