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Premiere: Teatro Storchi, Modena (Italy), 28/10/2021

About this event

I’ve always felt the need to bring life to theatre. And what is life at this point?
Today our and my personal experience with detachment and loss hides the ghost of a subjective responsibility in not having prevented something that could have been avoided.
In a time of lacerating difficulties, I have been struck by a disruptive force that literally pushed me into a state of isolation. I felt overwhelmed by something that was bigger than me. I had the impression that I was living in a set of Chinese boxes made of separation and pain in which every smaller box felt more painful than the slightly bigger one. In there one feels like facing a wall hiding a bigger wall and blocking any way out.
The title Love has no rhetoric about it. It is rather the conclusion of a research begun a long time ago. We are always in search for love, all of us, in search for Love: we go stumbling through the many painful struggles that life has in store for us and what leads us on this path is probably this tireless research.
Therefore, I want to try and bring back to the theatre something that communicates that Love. I want to try knowing that, as a starting point, we chose the land of Portugal that is so deeply marked with an image of melancholy and heart-rending elegy. A place made of passion and nostalgia but also, today more than ever, of death.
After a long period of suffering, a place just like this might reveal itself as pleasant – a place where nostalgia and sadness, being such “rooted citizens” of this land may welcome the opportunity to meet that quality, so completely human, which is Love. The Portuguese language itself, the way it is pronounced, its music, and so its literature and style, deal with such a subtle tenderness that makes it possible to communicate a form of respect towards those feelings that we might otherwise read and live only like a source of fear – like something which we should necessarily escape from.
Then, in the terrible times we are living in, the narrative of the pandemic seems to have put aside all the most personal and intimate outcomes that are instead the core of the horror spread by the infection: many, too many people have made their last journey in complete solitude. It wasn’t possible for their loved ones to assist them until the end.  As it happened in the pages of Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) or in The Plague – a plague of body and mind – by Albert Camus, millions of people have gone – unable to hear words of love and comfort, but only the sound of their own breath fading away. So, can we rid the word Love of all rhetoric? By mentioning it, by laically and dreamily invoking it perhaps we get the chance to give it a voice, to free the long gone absent in the public debate from the mess that has been ruling over the whole narrative of this global odyssey. After all that’s happened we start just from here, from this endless research, we keep going on. with more Love; otherwise we go back to where we were before and a terrible experience such as this would have been pointless. Instead let’s go back to where we were but with a new awareness. Let’s go back to a time when that word had its own meaning, to a moment in time – starting from a place when people could love each other and talk to each other about love with the nostalgia of fado, pushing away the overwhelming presence of death.
In this project I want to be surrounded once more by my faithful travel companions but also, together with them, I want to meet other individuals looking with respect at a country such as Portugal – a crossroad of traditions, contaminations, a mixed-race land by vocation, where different cultures have met and generated a deep inclination to hospitality. In Portugal there seems not to be that constant threat that creeps in other countries: diffidence, racism, individualism. And I read it in certain poems, in the verses of Fernando Pessoa, but also in those by Antonio Tabucchi who’s been our bard of Portugal, in the neighboring world of Federico Garcia Lorca, in the words of our Anna Maria Ortese. I hear it in the songs, in the poetry of fado. I want to get close to all of this as a child would – giving myself the chance to be surprised to listen to what the performers we meet there will have to say and share about such a tough reality. I want to leave myself open to what urges to get in – to what could entangle me in a dance that I don’t know, yet.

Pippo Delbono


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conceived and directed by Pippo Delbono
with Dolly Albertin, Gianluca Ballarè, Margherita Clemente, Pippo Delbono, Ilaria Distante, Aline Frazão, Mario Intruglio, Pedro Joia, Nelson Lariccia, Gianni Parenti, Miguel Ramos, Pepe Robledo, Grazia Spinella
artistic collaborators Pedro Joia (music), Joana Villaverde (set), Elena Giampaoli (costumes), Orlando Bolognesi (lights), Tiago Bartolomeu Costa (literary consultancy)
executive Producer ERT Emilia Romagna Teatro (Italy)
associated Co-Producers São Luiz Teatro Municipal, Lisbon, Pirilampo Artes Lda, Câmara Municipal de Setubál, Rota Clandestina, República Portuguesa – Cultura / Direção-Geral das Artes (Portogallo) and Fondazione Teatro Metastasio di Prato (Italy)
in coproduction with Teatro Coliseo, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Buenos Aires and ItaliaXXI - Buenos Aires (Argentina), Comédie de Genève (Switzerland), Théâtre de Liège (Belgium), Les 2 Scènes - Scène Nationale de Besançon (France), KVS Bruxelles (Belgium), Sibiu International Theatre Festival/Radu Stanca National Theater (Romania)
with the support of Ministero della Cultura (Italy)

Technical director in production Orlando Bolognesi
technical director in tour Fabio Sajiz
sound Pietro Tirella
head machinist Enrico Zucchelli
head of the project in Portugal Renzo Barsotti
production manager Alessandra Vinanti
organisation Silvia Cassanelli
tour manager Davide Martini
volunteer assistant Susana Silverio

Special thanks: for the costumes São Luiz Teatro Municipal Lisbon, Théâtre de Liège and Compagnia Teatro O Bando

a production of Amore • Production Emilia Romagna Teatro