Carlo Cecchi. Biographical note
edited by Chiara Schepis
Carlo Cecchi was born in Lastra a Signa, near Florence, on January 25, 1939.
Actor, theatre and art director as well as teacher of performance, his life is totally dedicated to theatre: «an instrument of my relation with other people».
Cultivating his growing attraction for theatre, in the late Fifties Cecchi resolved to leave Florence. So he set off, in 1958, like a backwards migrant, first to Rome, where he attempted the admission to the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico with no success, and soon afterwards to Naples.
Under the shadow of the Vesuvius he started his very original course of formation, or rather self-formation. Cecchi found out the “real” theatre, to which he felt intimately attracted, in Naples, in its streets and alleys, in its still active post-war theatres like the Duemila or the Trianon, in the performances of actors like Beniamino Maggio, Trottolino, Angela Luce. In Naples he discovered a different kind of theatre than the Italian theatre he was familiar with, different in style and in acting, the popular theatre of the farce and the ‘sceneggiata’ in Eduardo De Filippo’s style.
The next year young Cecchi attempted again the admission to the Accademia, this time successfully. However, the Neapolitan shock was too deep in him and the Academy too institutionalized («a mine of actor-officers with a meditative mood and a declamatory counter-language», according to his schoolmate Claudio Meldolesi). Cecchi felt that school a rigid institution as to the idea of theatre he was conceiving, not corresponding to the avant-garde impulses that started to spread through the Italian tournées of the Living Theatre. The Living Theatre and Eduardo De Filippo were two significant spirits in Cecchi’s theatrical formation: having established contact with these experiences in the years of his formation permanently conditioned the profile of an actor-director in constant balance between tradition and sperimentation.