Body of State offers a translation of Marco Baliani’s acclaimed dramatic monologue, Corpo di stato, concerning the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the terrorist Red Brigades. Corpo di stato was commissioned by Italian state television in 1998 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the “Moro Affair.” Baliani’s monologue, refracted through the prism of the intervening twenty years, consists of a merciless self-examination, alternately anguished and affectionate, in an effort to confront his generation's complicity in the dissolution of Italian politics in the wake of the national trauma of Moro's murder. Through over a hundred performances since its 1998 debut, the piece has evolved in response to the forceful reactions of Italian audiences. The first draft of this English translation offered the supertitles for performances in Baliani's 2009 U.S. tour, and was subsequently expanded to reflect the most recent version of the text.
This unique volume features a translation of the dramatic monologue, embedding it in a context that richly documents the events. The volume includes a preface by translator and performance studies scholar Ron Jenkins, a critical introduction, Baliani’s thoughts about the 1998 production for Italian television, an interview with Baliani and his artistic collaborator, Maria Maglietta, and the afterword they wrote in light of the 2009 tour. In addition, Body of State provides precious documentation in the form of reviews, contributed by scholars, students, and spectators, of Baliani’s 2009 North American tour.
A celebrated author and performer, Marco Baliani is well known as one of the originators of the “theater of narration.” Starting in 1978, his first performances grew directly from his engagement in radical politics. In 1989 he adapted Heinrich von Kleist’s novella, Kohlhaas (1989), into a riveting monologue which he performed on a bare stage, sitting on a chair for ninety minutes. Kohlhaas marked his passage to a “pure” theater of narration and is today a classic of the genre.
Since Kohlhaas, Baliani has shown interest in social, political, and literary themes. Recurring in his work are the psychological and ethical tensions that arise when the search for justice clashes with power or social injustice.