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"The central importance of the actor-author is a distinctive feature of Italian theatrical life, in all its eclectic range of regional cultures and artistic traditions. The fascination of the figure is that he or she stands on both sides of one of theatre's most important power relationships: between the exhilarating freedom of performance and the austere restriction of authorship and the written text. This broad-ranging volume brings together critical essays on the role of the actor-author, spanning the period from the Renaissance to the present. Starting with Castiglione, Ruzante and the commedia dell'arte, and surveying the works of Dario Fo, De Filippo and Bene, among others, the contributors cast light on a tradition which continues into Neapolitan and Sicilian theatre today, and in Italy's currently fashionable 'narrative theatre', where the actor-author is centre stage in a solo performance."