O Cesare o Nessuno. Vittorio Gassman as a Playwright: A Compositional Practice between Tradition and Innovation. The article observes O Cesare o nessuno. Dramatic action in eleven scenes with a prologue freely inspired by the life and myth of Edmund Kean, written by Gassman in 1974 with the collaboration of Luciano Lucignani, linking it to the theatrical trends he intended to stigmatise. Interpreted by a company of friends and relatives, and staged with extensive use of improvisation, it was Gassman's third confrontation with the great English actor. The first was Dumas' Kean adapted by Sartre, which he directed with Lucignani in the 1954-55 theatre season, and the second was the film he made immediately afterwards, with the collaboration of Francesco Rosi. O Cesare o nessuno is a return to the theme twenty years later, coinciding with Gassman's return to the theatrical scene after a decade of mainly cinematographic commitment. A key text, investigated here as an important node in his theatrical research, and as a revealing example of his compositional practices. Evoking the greatness of the European theatrical tradition, investigating the myth of Kean, its historical reality and at the same time «the existential unknown contained in the character of the actor» moving between self-irony and provocation, Gassman harshly criticised the major trends in the theatre of his time (from the despotism of directors like Strehler to the avant-garde, from employee-actors to Grotowski's seminars). It was a defence of his own idea of theatre, taking up themes from the actor's tradition while opening up his own personal path to experimentation. The text is examined here as an example of a tendency towards research that can be described as a general characteristic of Gassman's work. Observing his way of composing texts making use of different genres, collected under his personal style (as he did on the occasion of the television programme Il mattatore, in 1959), the article proposes an image opposite to that of an actor heir to the greats of the past: Kean, the apex of a game of identification between the character and himself, reveals itself to be a dramaturgical work close to the results of contemporary narrative theatre.
DI TIZIO, R. (2021). O Cesare o nessuno. Vittorio Gassman come autore teatrale: una pratica compositiva fra tradizione e innovazione. In C.L. Gerardo Guccini (a cura di), Creating for the Stage and Other Spaces: Questioning Practices and Theories (pp. 523-539). Bologna : AlmaDL.