Premiere: Teatro Arena del Sole, Bologna, 01/03/2018
About this event
Every theatre work can become a journey, moving through different situations, moods and intuitions, catching you by surprise. It’s not a show happening each night, it’s a ritual, an apparition, a unique gesture bonding who acts to who’s watching as they breathe in unison. To stage a piece on joy is a search for that singular circumstance, it’s crossing rivers of extreme sentiment — angst, happiness, pain, enthusiasm — to try and capture [witness] at last, in the instant, the explosion of joy. Rather than freezing into images, sounds, or stage directions, Pippo Delbono and the actors of his Company try to push one step further each night in the direction of that unbound exaltation, this scorching intuition.
So bring in the clowns, the circus and its dance. And here’s the memory of a shaman who through madness sets souls free. Here’s tango’s melancholy chords, and stifled cries from the floor of the house. Here’s a bounty of visions chasing one another, forming and morphing and fading one into the next: hundreds of little paper boats; colored rags, strewn as waves of that Mare Nostro, “Our Father Sea who art not in Heaven” of Erri De Luca’s secular prayer; up until the finale, the floral explosion that Pippo created with Thiérry Boutémy, the Norman “fleuriste” who lives in Bruxelles and works worldwide.
Delbono’s actors go up on stage, one by one. Taking the audience by hand, each in his way, they make of each one a travel companion, a part of this endless search. Personal stories, masks, clowneries, memories, all fleeting images of people [humans] reaching for joy.
Thus every night is a dot on the map, every fragment of this piece a single step on the path. The journey never ends, the kaleidoscopic wheel of image and emotion keeps on turning. Each night, ready for surprise, to the rhythm of this company, on the path of this never-ending quest for joy.
«I have chosen to give this title to my new theatre production «Joy» – a word which scares me, which reminds me of some joyful family pictures, of joyful children, of joyful landscapes. All of them are dead, all of them are fake. I was very impressed by “The death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy: in this novella the main character, in the last days of his life, reconciles with his whole existence including the saddest moments of his life.
Starting from this I thought “The joyful death” might be the right possible title for my new production. Afterwards a friend of mine told me: “Who do you think will come to see a performance with the word “death” contained in the title? These days where people go to the theatre to relax – even through culturally committed works which, in the end, reassure them”.
How much scared are we to pronounce the word “death”. We accept it if we talk about a spectacular, pathetic death. Otherwise how much fear we have of accepting the word “death” in a serene clarity of mind. I recall when I got into a venue in Manila which was located inside a garbage dump where a lot of human beings were living. It smelled awful, like sewer. Everywhere you could see rubbish, rats, birds, insects. I remind about those women washing their dresses, putting on perfumes, putting on make-up. And they were smiling to each other.
I also recall a place in India, many years ago, Varanasi: a city where Indians go to die. A big group of children came to me, they were jumping and laughing like crazy animals. Their feet were big, malformed and swollen like balloons. But their faces, their eyes were giving me a sense of truth, of lucidity, of vitality, of joy.
I saw and lived many things in these years, often forgotten, but I will always keep in mind those joyful eyes in the dump in Manila and along the Ganges Riverbank.
I am thinking about this new theatre production “Joy” as a simple and essential story.
I am thinking about “joy” as something connected with a possible way out of fighting, pain and darkness.
I am thinking about deserts, prisons, about people escaping from those prisons, about flowers”.
Pippo Delbono is an author, actor and director, who founded his Company in the early 80s. He has been working with this Company on each of his shows, from Il tempo degli assassini (1987) to Vangelo (2016). His productions have won many awards and were presented in more than fifty countries. He has also directed several films like Guerra (2003), La paura (2009), Amore carne (2011) and Sangue (2013) and Vangelo (2016) which premiered in prestigious film festivals such as Venice Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival. He was part of the cast of many films, including I am Love by Luca Guadagnino, Me and You by Bernardo Bertolucci, Goltzius and the Pelican Project by Peter Greenaway.
Delbono has written and co-worked on several books: “Barboni – Il teatro di Pippo Delbono” published by Ubulibri; “Mon théâtre” by Actes Sud; “Le corps de l’acteur” by Les Solitaires Intempestifs; “El teatro de la rabia” by Punto Aparte; “Récits de juin” by Actes Sud; “Racconti di giugno” by Garzanti; “Ecrivains de plateau” written by Bruno Tackels and published by Les Solitaires Intempestifs; “Teatrul Meu” by Fundatia Culturala Camil Petrescu; “Corpi senza menzogna” written with Leonetta Bentivoglio and published by Barbes.
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electrician Orlando Bolognesi/Alejandro Zamora
sound Pietro Tirella/Giulio Antognini
costumes Elena Giampaoli
set and props Gianluca Bolla/Enrico Zucchelli
production manager Alessandra Vinanti
organization Silvia Cassanelli
tour manager Laura Favero Fransos
technical manager Fabio Sajiz
production Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione
co-production Théâtre De Liège, Le Manège Maubeuge – Scène Nationale
Thanks to Enrico Bagnoli, Jean Michel Ribes, Thierry Boutemy’s assitant Alessia Guidoboni and Théâtre de Liège for the costumes
photo Luca Del Pia