English 2

Finding Text Within the Text

Antonio Catalano, perhaps the most well-known dramaturg1 in the world, interprets the plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe and Spenser, among others, for the theatrical troupes performing them. His insightful critiques can pique even casual theatergoers’2 fascination with old texts.

Interestingly, this universally respected theatrical dramaturg, who loves the poems of Keats,3 got his start working on movies in his native Italy. When he discusses this time in his life, he excitedly shows off his impressive collection of original reels. A4 closet filled with the work of his favorite filmmakers, including Truffaut, Bellini, and Lugosi. Working with some of the top directors and actors in the world as a youngster, Catalano noticed the significant amounts of time his heroes were dedicating to understanding the words in the script, as well as the unwritten subtext.

Catalano soon5 started spending sleepless nights poring over movie scripts, hoping to find something that the others had missed. His work was rewarded one day when, in the midst of shooting, Catalano casually offered an interpretation about an upcoming love-scene. He noted that the female hero should be more cautious based on her previous bad experiences with men in a previous scene. The director was impressed with the young man, and surprised everyone when he invited Catalano usually6 to his solo lunch break for the first time.

Catalano learned all he could from this director. On later projects, they began breaking down scripts together months before shooting, figuring out the proper way to introduce various characters and develop subplots. Catalano7 loved working with screenplays, but, as his skills developed, he yearned for an entire8 new challenge. [9]

He began working on plays, quickly growing an extreme fondness for old ones with exceptionally rich texts and endless amounts of possible interpretations. His critical eye, which by being one of a former filmmaker,10 led him to think about the scenes spatially as well as textually. He was roundly lauded at his first dramaturgical conference for11 his bold interpretive essay regarding Shakespeare’s Richard III, entitled “The Masculinity of Deformity.” This essay has aided directors and actors in many stagings of that play.

Once he had established himself in the theater world, Catalano set about opening theaters for underprivileged youths in Italy. But having maintained that,12 in order for these theaters to flourish, the teens must be self-motivated. He gets the programs started through workshops and master classes, but he pretends13 that his pupils become as inspired as he was at their age. Catalano wants the next generation of writers and dramatists to stay up for nights on end themselves, in the hopes that they, too, will one day be able to impress an elder with a “casually” dropped conversation starter. [14] [15]