Premiere: 9 October 2021 LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura - Lugano (Switzerland)
About this event
The performance opens with scenes from daily life, but their natural quality is gradually eroded, destroyed by an onslaught of regulations. An invisible dictatorship governs this piece. The recruited Actors have not learned their parts: they learn them while taking them upon themselves, by carrying out orders received remotely. Before participating in the performance, these Actors signed a pact, declaring that they will strictly adhere to the commands given to them. This is a commitment they must respect at any cost. And it is where their conscious will stops. It is also where their experience of alienation begins, when carrying out actions they do not understanding and for which they are not prepared.
What does this mean? This condition, far from being a constructive improvisation, compresses the time of awareness, eventually reducing it to zero. It is the epitome of speed, that eliminates any time for critical thought. Is it thus an ‘abandonment’, an oath taken, with the Actors vanishing into a part they do not know? These gestures seem intimate, when observed externally, and they are, but we also know that they have been ‘intimated’, in an obscure confusion between intimacy and intimation; what ensues is a frenzy that leaves no space whatsoever for reconsideration.
What we see is a mass of actions that gradually accumulate, until the stage is saturated and the world is filled. These are simple, daily actions, which may seem strange, taken out of context, but in any case are easily recognisable and carried out individually. Action overwhelms thought, which no longer seems to have the slightest importance here. Thought abdicates its role as a cause that generates actions, and also its role in judging the actions that have just been carried out. Everyone knows exactly what to do, but this view, which opens up like a balcony overlooking a public square, raises a few questions: Who are they? What are they doing? Where are they going? And we realise that, while still individuals, they are actually similar, perhaps the image of one another. They are brothers. Or perhaps they seem like a hallucinatory vision of one and the same person who, at the same time, condenses hundreds of different actions, saturating space. No, these are not decisions. They are executions. In a time that has been extinguished.
Reinforcing the resemblance in the condition of these men, we now observe that they are all wearing uniforms. The ones worn by policemen – the quintessential deuteragonists found in early cinema. Policemen have the task of ensuring that the Law is respected. But here, the Law is soon transformed into a farce.
The specific iconography of the policeman as seen in the history of film introduces the Law, which prepares and triggers the apparatus of the disaster and is subservient to the latter. Comedy is now the hard-core version of the Law. The comic potential that inevitably arises here eventually swerves towards an obscure and perturbing side. In this show, the schematic determinacy of the orders clashes with the indeterminacy of the time in which they are executed. This time, in its passing, introduces chance and inexperience; the fear of making a mistake and a struggle to remain steady; comedy and violence: each the reflection of the other.
The pseudo-actors, in their physical presence, are asked to embody a scenic quality that lives in the very instant in which an action is carried out. This eliminates all mediated psychology and makes room for the truth of experience, because what matters here is the immediate embodiment of the response and not a calculated improvisation carried out by an adept professional.
The stage is crowded with many scenes, within which unusual and emblematic situations take shape. They hint at the false bottom, or bottoms, of appearance; the dark side of logic; the inconsistency of certainty… Mental images take the upper hand over space, and are coupled with certain mottos. This complete syncretism leads to a new, active language: enigmatic, arcane, mute, made up of figures that always refer to something else, much like hieroglyphics, unlike ordinary language, where things are only signified by the names that define them.
Bros forces together: words which are no more than commands; the mute language of images; and the emblematic words of the mottos. A circular discourse is thus created, which at times speaks through images and at times through words. Each actor is himself a spectator of what he has just done. The knot tying together actor and spectator is tightened, until any distinction is suffocated. This performance coincides with life in its actual unfolding. Its parts are no longer to be prepared, but verified. There is no improvisation, but the abyss of an absolute present.
Romeo Castellucci is a world-renowned theatre director, artist and designer celebrated for his creative work that encompasses all artistic disciplines and offers the audience a comprehensive experience. His theatre overturns the primate of the word, creating complex dramaturgies that draw on all forms of art. Castellucci’s pieces are regularly staged and produced by the most prestigious international venues and festivals. He directed the Theatre section of the Venice Biennale, was Artiste Associé at the Avignon Festival and is currently Grand Invité at Triennale Milano as well as guest director at Berlin’s Schaubhüne. He has been bestowed with the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture of the French Republic and with an honorary degree by the University of Bologna; he is a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique and has been awarded, among other international prizes, the Golden Lion at Venice Biennale and two Golden Masks for his opera pieces. His most recent opera, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, premiered in Salzburg in July 2021.
Assistant director: Filippo Ferraresi
Second assistant director: Silvano Voltolina
Dramaturgy: Piersandra Di Matteo
Technical director: Eugenio Resta
Stage technician: Andrei Benchea
Light technician: Andrea Sanson
Sound technician: Claudio Tortorici
Costume manager: Chiara Venturini
Stage sculptures and automatons: Plastikart studio
Costumes creator: Grazia Bagnaresi
Production manager: Benedetta Briglia
Production officer: Giulia Colla
Marketing and distribution: Gilda Biasini
Technical team: Carmen Castellucci, Francesca Di Serio, Gionni Gardini
Management: Michela Medri, Elisa Bruno, Simona Barducci
Financial consultant: Massimiliano Coli
Extra: Luca Arcangeli, Richard Arnaud, Andrea Beghetto, Leonardo Bordin, Federico Cicinelli, Alessandro Conti, Amerigo Cornacchione, Luca D’Addino, Marco De Francesca, Francesco Falabella, Daniel Falappa, Paolo Faroni, Riccardo Festa, Luca Gianfreda, Vincenzo Grassi, Pietro Lancello, Sebastian McKimm, Luca Nava, Alessandro Negri di Sanfront, Gaetano Palermo, Michele Petrosino, Julian Soardi
Photo Stephan Glagla