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Tyrol or Not Tyrol

Theatre as History in Südtirol/Alto Adige

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Nóra de Buiteléir

On 19 June 1992 Austria and Italy declared the official resolution of the South Tyrol question – the dispute that had dominated relations between the two countries since the end of the First World War. While this bilingual province is today held up as a triumph of minority rights protection and a model for post-conflict societies across the world, the story of the South Tyrol since its amalgamation into the Italian state in 1919 has been a complex and often turbulent one.
This book investigates the political role of the theatre in reflecting, shaping and subverting patterns of cultural identity among the German-speaking South Tyrolese. Taking as its starting point the representation of history in a series of ambitious theatrical productions from the 1970s to the present, this study offers close readings of texts and performances and an examination of the belated development of professional theatre in the province. The role of theatre is analysed in terms of the broader historical and sociocultural factors at play in the shaping of South Tyrolese identity.

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CHAPTER 5 In the Shadow of the Siegesplatz: Shared Histories from Der Saubohnenprozess to La Scom

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messa You say Autonomie I say Autonomia You say Integrierung I say Integrazione Autonomie, Autonomia Integrierung, Integrazione Let’s call the whole thing of f ! — Street art installation by Kasia Korczak, corner of Via Galileo Galilei/ Galileo-Galilei-Strasse, Bolzano 2008. ‘If there are cities with two rivers,’ muses the hero Kaspar in Ferruccio Cainero’s La Scommessa, ‘this one has two hearts.’1 It is precisely this kind of hybridity that decades of cultural policy in the South Tyrol, from the fascist oppression of the German to the German fear of the Italian, has doggedly sought to deny. These days, with the exception of the right- wing nationalists in the Union für Südtirol and the Südtiroler Freiheit – two small if vocal political parties who enjoy spending their weekends erecting large Südtirol ist nicht Italien banners along the Brenner border – very few elected politicians in the province either advocate or profess 1 ‘Se ci sono città che hanno due fiumi, questa ha due cuori.’ Feruccio Cainero, La Scommessa/Die Wette, unpublished playscript, 2003, Scene I, p. 3. The author is grateful to the literary department of the Vereinigte Bühnen Bozen for providing a copy of the unpublished play manuscript. 132 CHAPTER 5 genuinely anti-Italian sentiment. Silvius Magnago, the father of South Tyrolese Autonomy and Landeshauptmann of the province for several decades, was himself the son of an Italian father and was perfectly pre- pared to speak the language, albeit in an exaggeratedly accented fashion. His successor, Luis Durnwalder, has made...

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