The greek word nostos – present in the Odyssey of Homer, in the poets and, less frequently, in the tragic (eg in Aeschylus) – comes from the verb néomai , which means to go back, especially at home. The term derivative, nostos means in ancient greek, return and even trip. But we must not forget that the meaning of the root, as he explains Pierre Chantraine, refers to the concept of a happy return, a return with liberating and salvific value. Particularly happy, in order to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the laboratory Artaud, the choice of this term, whose semantic area effectively condenses the meaning of this experience. Let’s see. Moving out of the theater tradition, but also outside of any convenient and conventional adjustment to the canons of media success, the laboratory Artaud has always and courageously chosen as the strategic axis of its play, representation and the enactment of the fundamental reasons that mark the tragedy and the wounds of the human condition. This choice is made by rethinking and reworking the classic and modern tragedy (especially the Greek tragedians and Shakespeare). One example, perhaps the most significant within this interpretative approach: the Antigone, and his “cruel” emphasizing the contrast often incurable, today as yesterday, between the codified norms and natural law, between the laws and the ethics. In reference to the line of interpretation of laboratory Artaud, use the adjective cruel in the sense that it had in the famous “theater of cruelty” by Antonin Artaud (1896-1948): ‘l “écrivain insurgé” – the damned poet, the author of theater, the writer, segregated for many years within the walls of an insane asylum – which the theater company has constantly inspired throughout his decade-long journey. Reconsideration and reworking, I said, of the classic and modern tragedy: out of any mechanical reproduction at the letter of the texts and constituent myths, the laboratory Artaud reworks, with variations, innovations and influences, ancient history and ancient languages, thereby demonstrating the permanence and developments of cores tragic and constituent  myths of Western culture. From their pièces, the spectator – “witness-bystander” of the representation – comes out, as Artaud said in reference to his own plays, shocked, dazed, impressed in the soul and body: capable, more capable than before, to rethink and to problematize its presence in the world.

Professor of History and Contemporary Philosophical Thought and Philosophy
Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice



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