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Premiere: From 2 to 6 November 2022 – Bologna, Teatro Arena del Sole

About this event

In the frames of the celebrations for the centenary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s birth, ERT dedicates to him the project How you should imagine me. The entire corpus of his theatrical texts written in a very short period, the spring of 1966, will be presented on stage.

The first one is Calderón, directed by Fabio Condemi, one of the most interesting young Italian directors, already a winner of a Ubu Prize. Condemi has worked on Pasolini in 2019 too, conceiving and directing an amazing monologue inspired by Pasolini’s film scripts.

Calderón is a tragedy in verse inspired by the masterpiece of the great seventeenth-century author Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Life is a Dream. But the atmosphere, the plot, and the context are radically different: we are in Franco’s Spain of the 60s, amidst revolutionary turmoil and logic of power that seem to leave no other space for freedom than in Diego Velázquez’s dream or painting. Pasolini’s is in fact a ruthless and lucid x-ray of power, of its way of renewing itself and remaining very ancient, of its changes and its strategies. A labyrinthine text in which multiple levels and traces coexist in a continuous and very rich interlocking game. Traces that make Calderón a very dense text in which viewers are called to question deeply about our being in history. A text that through dreams desperately questions reality.

Click here to read the notes on Calderón by Fabio Condemi and for Condemi’s biography

Calderón – trailer from Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione on Vimeo.
Click on the CC button and choose your preferred subtitle language

Extracts from Calderón’s press review 

Pasolini and the revolutionary dreams: another beautiful work by Condemi
(…) A very sophisticated, weighty, arduous work by Fabio Condemi, the 34-year-old director who seems to have reached full maturity, after his first steps at the Venice Biennale directed by Antonio Latella in ’18 and ’19 with two remarkable plays, Jakob Von Gunten and La filosofia nel boudoir di de Sade. (…) And it is precisely on this shifty intersection between dream and reality that Condemi’s Calderón is created. The performance confirms his extraordinary ability as Director in delving into the text (…) The result is a short-circuit where Pasolini represents the reality in which we are, and, according to Condemi, even the theatre that represents it. (…) And the painful awareness becomes evidence on stage in the breathtaking finale, when the curtain falls and in darkness only Basilio’s voice resounds, calm and sweet, telling us that the dream will never come true. The characters, always suspended on the border between reality and dream, unaware and helpless, are remarkably portrayed by a talented company.
Anna Bandettini, la Repubblica

“Calderón” by Pasolini according to Fabio Condemi
(…) Fabio Condemi’s performance, produced by Emilia Romagna Teatro (Ert), that premiered on 2nd November, the anniversary of Pasolini’s assassination, juxtaposes spatially, in succession, highlighting the different expressive tools Pasolini uses: the dream, the political theatre, the incest that is often a violation of political or social taboos, the conflict between reality and oneiric vision, with awakenings that violently deny the sensations of well-being accumulated during nocturnal ‘journeys’ (…). The three environments – conceived by Condemi, 32 years old, winner of the Ubu Prize 2021 for best director, trained at Centro teatrale Santacristina in the wake of Luca Ronconi, realised, together with the dramaturgy of the image, by Fabio Cherstich – invade different parts of the stage, exploring that dark cavern that becomes the stage, a metaphor of the psyche. At times the space is framed and closed or revealed by moving black curtains, which, like the diaphragms of photographic lenses, dilate or constrict the frame, making us concentrate on details or allowing us to sweep across the picture (…). It’s a pity that this Calderón was only staged for five applauded performances.
Massimo Marino, DOPPIOZERO.COM

Life is a nightmare in the shadow of Pasolini
Calderón, produced by Emilia Romagna Teatro and Lac in Lugano, signed by the thirty-four-year-old Fabio Condemi, who without hesitation succeeds in capturing us from the very first lines of that arduous narrative path, while leaving its most impervious passages visible.

With a sure and steady hand and an extreme awareness of the text and its infinite references, Condemi immediately aims at abstraction, concentrating on verbal dynamics, working above all on the rendering that the actors can give of these, since it is, as the author himself wanted, a theatre above all the words. Condemi is algebraic right from the spatial choices, shared with Fabio Cherstich. Net geometries, sharp angles, and corners, nothing overdone, no winks, thus also removing the annoying rhetoric that has accumulated over all these years around Pasolini, sanctified as prophet and martyr. Instead, the director invites us to go back to the root of those words, asking us to unearth in them, together with him, the deepest provocations, the dazzling illuminations, the analyses that were difficult to share in the past and are incontrovertible today, accepting even their expositive harshness. (…) And it is precisely this last painting, recited around a table as if it were a company rehearsal, a family reunion, or a group consultation with a psychoanalyst, that tells us how much in the formal clarity desired by Condemi an articulate creative wisdom is expressed, generated by a solid expressive maturity and a precise and personal style. (…) And perhaps that desire, cherished by Pasolini, for a theatre of thought and political and social reflection finds this time its real and plausible dimension.
Antonio Audino, il Sole 24 Ore

Calderón by Fabio Condemi. Inside the theatre of word of Pasolini
It’s clear that the young director from Ferrara is interested above all in words, which is why the three dreams are told with extreme simplicity, enclosed each time in environments that are not excessively characterised, essentially geometric, to evoke their peculiarity: Rosaura’s bed, which opens the performance, is transported to an aristocratic mansion, rendered through small, meaningful devices; Velázquez’s painting, re-proposed with the characters in their costumes, leaning against each other in front of the painter’s gaze; the miserable hovel of the prostitute, lost in the immensity of the stage; the petit-bourgeois house in which a table towers, reminiscent of the rehearsal table around which the actors gather to learn their part, a part imposed here not by any director, but by that which oppresses us and will always oppress us: Power.(…) Leaving the theatre, even in front of  “the heart-rending beauty of creation”, the dictum suggested by Pasolini seems to have reached its fulfilment in this Calderón: “The theatre of word seeks its “theatrical space” not in the environment but in the head”.
Mario Bianchi, Krapp’s Last Post



from 17/02/2024 to 18/02/2024
from 24/02/2024 to 25/02/2024
from 01/03/2024 to 02/03/2024
from 22/11/2022 to 23/11/2022


by Pier Paolo Pasolini
direction, set and costume conception  Fabio Condemi
with (in alphabetic order)  Donatella Allegro, Marco Cavalcoli, Bianca Cavallotti, Nico Guerzoni, Fortunato Leccese , Omar Madé, Giulia Luna Mazzarino, Caterina Meschini, Elena Rivoltini, Giulia Salvarani, Emanuele Valenti

set, image dramaturgy Fabio Cherstich
costumes Gianluca Sbicca
light design Marco Giusti
sound design Alberto Tranchida
assistant director Angelica Azzellini
set realized in ERT scenography studio
head of scenography studio and carpenter Gioacchino Gramolini
carpenters Tiziano Barone, Davide Lago, Sergio Puzzo, Veronica Sbrancia, Leandro Spadola
set decorators Ludovica Sitti with Sarah Menichini, Benedetta Monetti, Bianca Passanti, Martina Perrone
iron set elements realized by Falegnameria Scheggia
assistant to the set project Greta Maria Cosenza
costumes realized in the wardrobe studio of Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro D’Europa
technical director Massimo Gianaroli
stage manager Lorenzo Martinelli/Claudio Bellagamba
stagehands Rebecca Quintavalle/Veronica Sbrancia and Davide Lago
prop woman Benedetta Monetti
head electrician Giuseppe Tomasi/Camila Chiozza
sound technician Alberto Tranchida
wardrobe Elena Dal Pozzo/Eleonora Terzi
video documentation Lucio Fiorentino
production Emilia Romagna Teatro ERT / Teatro Nazionale, LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura
in collaboration with Associazione Santacristina Centro Teatrale
within the project “Come devi immaginarmi” (How you should imagine me) dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini

photos Luca Del Pia

The performance is realized within the international project “Prospero Extended Theatre”, thanks to the support of the programme “Creative Europe” of the EU

thanks to Acondroplasia Insieme per crescere Onlus

reproduction of the picture Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez from the Photography Archive of the National Museum of Prado (Madrid)

a production of Calderón • Production Emilia Romagna Teatro