The Play within the Play as a Means of Disruption

This artistic research analyses a specific dramaturgical phenomenon, defined as “the play within the play”, which introduces a second story inside the main drama. What happens when a playwright introduces a second level of representation? What happens when some actors start performing for other actors and another level of illusion is added to the first one?

Davide Giovanzana’s doctoral dissertation suggests that something essential to the nature of theatre is present in this particular device. This dramaturgical device can be also perceived as a tool intruding into the authoritarian discourse from within the authoritarian discourse. In other words, it is a means that disrupts “power” playfully, from within. From this perspective it is clear that it is not a simple game of forms but it also carries political implications. The play within the play allows to bring the notion of open process into the self-enclosed, well-made drama. It permits to “exceed” theatre, to bring theatre itself onto the stage. Eventually the play within the play creates its own limit, or frame, and cracks it.

Davide Giovanzana has studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Geneva (Switzerland) and Physical Theatre in Brussel (Belgium) and Padova (Italy). Subsequently he has worked as an actor, theatre director and pedagogue in several countries with different theatres and theatre academies. He is co-founder of the Helsinki-based theatre company Teatteri Metamorfoosi.