Polyphonic storytelling: Pantani by Marco Martinelli

  • Franco Nasi
Keywords: Drama, storytelling, corus, Marco Pantani, Marco Martinelli


This article analyzes Pantani by Marco Martinelli, an epic theatrical wake for one of the most famous sports heroes of Italy's recent past. As the wake unfolds, it retells the story of Pantani, reconstructing and reinterpreting the strange events that lead to the great cyclist's dismissal from the Giro d’Italia in 1999, and subsequently to his nervous breakdown and lonely death in a hotel, only 34 years old. Alongside the rituals of a traditional wake, the show also applies the procedures of a courtroom trial, offering detailed testimony and the examination of evidence, culminating in a critical reflection on Italian society during the years of Berlusconi and his consumerist philosophy.

Three different rhetorical genres (epideictic, judicial, deliberative) are blended together in this complex theatrical texture. Conjugating information (trial) with ritual (wake), Martinelli synthesizes classical choral Greek tragedy (mimetic form) and modern storytelling (diegetic form performed solo). Combining intensely dramatic scenes, powerful evocations of epic feats of sport, and joyful parody, and with the juxtaposition of different styles (journalistic, lyric, parodic, elegiac) Martinelli generates among the audience moments of estrangement, and shock, which makes particularly powerful not only the ritual wake and  the critical reconstruction of Pantani’s tragedy, but also the critique of the ideology that governed Italian public life in Berlusconi era.


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Author Biography

Franco Nasi

Franco Nasi teaches Translation Theories and Italian Contemporary Literature at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He has written extensively on Romantic aesthetics, twentieth-century poetry and theater, and translation theory, and has translated contemporary American and English poets (Roger McGough and Billy Collins among others) into Italian. His most recent publications include Specchi comunicanti. Traduzioni, riscritture, parodie (Medusa 2010), La malinconia del traduttore (Medusa 2008), Per una fenomenologia del tradurre (Officina 2009, ed. with Marc Silver) and I dilemma del traduttore di nonsense (Longo 2012, ed. with Angela Albanese).


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How to Cite
Nasi, F. (2014). Polyphonic storytelling: Pantani by Marco Martinelli. Between, 4(7). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1070
Contemporary Dynamics of the Actio. Poetics and Politics of the Theatre