Methods of Illusion: The Mise-en-scène from Drama to Fiction and Visual Arts

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Methods of Illusion: The Mise-en-scène from Drama to Fiction and Visual Arts

  • Host University

    Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

  • Location

    Milan, Italy

  • Area of Study

    Italian Culture, Literature, Theater, Visual Arts

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The course explores the concept of mise-en-scène in relation to the theme of illusion, focusing on the staging process and how this virtually extends from drama to other artistic fields, such as fiction and visual arts. Attention will be paid to works of metatheatre and forms of metacommunication and to their communicative strategies, from play-within-the-play devices to the ostentatiously artificial mise-en-scènes of contemporary art, in order to question the relationship between life and art, examine the power of imagination and how it works on stage and off stage to produce an ?illusion? of reality. The course follows the several steps through which a text is produced, from its relation to the context, to the fundamental role of narrative and the meaning-giving process, in a perspective that will encourage students to explore the connections among various disciplines such as art history, dramaturgy, film studies, music, philosophy. It will concentrate on characters that primarily embody the concept of illusion such as Leonardo?s Mona Lisa and Cervantes? Don Quixote, Mozart?s Don Giovanni and Goldoni?s Mirandolina, Flaubert?s Emma Bovary and the dramatic and solitary mask of Pirandello?s Mattia Pascal. While disguising, deceiving and seducing, these characters bring on stage or in the pages of a book, the very mechanisms of production, to reveal that there is an artifice behind every illusion, that every illusion is nothing but a deception, and that we are all victims of a very well-studied seduction.

    In order to study from within the methods of production of Milanese theatres, the course will also include field trips to the workshops of the most famous Opera House in the world, Teatro alla Scala, and visits of actors from one of the most representative theatres in Milan, Il Piccolo Teatro. Students will be encouraged to attend dramatic performances according to season availability.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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