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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Teatro EN (new)


Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Italy)

Thursday October 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Teatro Piccolo Arsenale
Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Italy)
Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio
Concept and direction Romeo Castellucci
with Gianni Plazzi, Sergio Scarlatella
and with Dario Boldrini, Silvia Costa and Silvano Voltolina 
original music Scott Gibbons
collaboration on the production Giacomo Strada
construction of objects Istvan Zimmermann, Giovanna Amoroso
sound Marco Canali alternating with Matteo Braglia
lighting Fabio Berselli
executive producer Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio
a co-production of the Theater der Welt 2010, deSingel international arts campus/Antwerp, Théâtre National de Bretagne/Rennes, The National Theatre/Oslo Norway, Barbican London and SPILL Festival of Performance, Chekhov International Theatre Festival/Moscow, Holland Festival/Amsterdam, Athens Festival, GREC 2011 Festival de Barcelona, Festival d’Avignon, International Theatre Festival DIALOG Wroclav/Poland, BITEF (Belgrade International Theatre Festival), spielzeit'europa I Berliner Festspiele, Théâtre de la Ville–Paris, Romaeuropa Festival, Theatre festival SPIELART München (Spielmotor München e.V.), Le-Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg/Scène Européenne, TAP Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers- Scène Nationale, Peak Performances@Montclair State-USA
in collaboration with Centrale Fies
The very number of co-producers – 19 from countries all around the world – who gathered to produce Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio by Romeo Castellucci, gives the idea of the breadth and scope of this artist; he was the author, in 2005, of an edition of the Theatre Biennale which was unique in terms of originality and the winner of a Ubu Prize; he is one of the few Italian artists renowned as far as Asia, and was invited last fall to the Taipei Arts Festival for a programme dedicated entirely to his works. It is true of course that Castellucci and the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio have made theatre a complex plastic art, rich in visions, developing a language that can be understood all over the world, like music, sculpture, painting and architecture. There has been a proliferation of publications and studies in various languages about their theatre, and many are the acknowledgments they have received over the years: the Purgatorio, part of the great trilogy inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, was named “best production of the decade 2000-2010” by Le Monde.
Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio (On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God), of which two studies have appeared so far, the first in Essen, the second which had its world premiere in Antwerp and its Italian premiere at the Festival RomaEuropa last year, is a diptych that includes Il velo nero del pastore, presented at the Fadjr Festival in Teheran and inspired by a short story written by Hawthorne, in which a Protestant pastor comes to worship with a black veil over his face, upsetting his parishioners.
Scheduled to tour for all of 2011, Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio has just been performed in Oslo and at the Barbican in London, and will later travel to the Autumn Festival in Madrid, to Moscow, Holland, Athens, the Grec in Barcelona, Avignon, and Dialog in Poland before coming to the Biennale in Venice; and finally, it will be performed at the Spielart in Munich and the Rose des vents Villeneuve d’Asq in France.
As the programme notes explain, Romeo Castellucci once again addresses one of the paramount icons in the history of man: Jesus, by whom even time is measured in most of the world. In the production of Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio the portrait of Jesus starts with Renaissance painting and in particular with the crucial moment of Ecce Homo. At that precise instant, tradition holds that Christ looks into the eyes of the spectator, powerfully engaging him into a dramatic act of questioning. In this calculated confusion of eyes that meet and cross paths, the portrait of the Son of God becomes the portrait of man, of a man, or even of the spectator himself. And so, in the performance, Christ’s gaze becomes a sort of light that illuminates a series of human actions, good, bad, disgusting or innocent.
Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio does not concern Jesus or adoration, nor does it have the social significance of an accusation, or wish to be an easy provocation. At the same time, Romeo Castellucci takes his distance from mysticism and demystification, because in the end this is the portrait of a man. A man laid bare before other men; who in turn, are laid bare by that man.
Sul concetto di volto nel Figlio di Dio addresses recurring critical themes in the theatre of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio: religion conceived within its humus of symbols and rituals, the common root of theatre itself, with no mystical or theological meaning.
In his theatre Romeo Castellucci has once again pointed the finger at the absolute that does not react before the atrocities, the offences, the bagatelles of existence (as Céline called them). While we humans, as this production demonstrates, must deal with the vacuity of a frustrating and humiliating routine.
Rodolfo di Giammarco, la Repubblica – Trova Roma, 7 October 2010
“The research for the final production ties together various elements. The point of departure is the idea that Jesus is a model not only in a religious context but above all on an artistic level. The representation of Jesus is constant throughout art history, from Byzantine iconography to the Renaissance up to Malevich’s black square which is a sacred face. Jesus has now disappeared (…). But this disappearance in artistic representation is perfect, the absence of Jesus’s face is like the white screen in a movie theatre before the screening starts, on which anything can happen. Furthermore, today the face is the space of language and even political debate. The theme is vast, and hence it concerns a series of figures and issues”.
From an interview with Romeo Castellucci by Cristina Piccino, il Manifesto, 8 October 2010
The creator of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio starts manifestly with an absence that comes to him from Renaissance painting, from the impossibility of representing the ineffable behind a portrait, which he can only respond to with a declaration of resolve. The resolve to stand in front of that face. What the image can offer is the portrait of a man. To which the artists can only respond with a human drama, concealed in the forms of a bourgeois theatre that is inevitably reminiscent of the domestic inferno of the Purgatorio seen in Avignon. A perfectly logical and normal, familiar, universe in which a gap suddenly opens up. (…) Sul concetto di volto is this intersection of gazes that flies above drama, that puts us in contact with the other gaze which reflects our drama as spectators, who must take a position with respect to what is happening on stage. A secular via crucis that runs from the living room to the bedroom, over and over between those painful stations.
Gianni Manzella, il Manifesto, 3 August 2010

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