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la Biennale di Venezia
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Theatre


Productions

BIENNALE TEATRO 2017


MAJA KLECZEWSKA
43 years old, from Krakow, Maja Kleczewska, considered to be one of the most significant figures in Polish theatre, in a line that runs from Kantor to Lupa to Warlikowski (for whom she served as assistant director), is the winner of the Silver Lion award for innovation in Theatre. In Venice, she opens the Festival with her latest production, The Rage, from the eponymous play by Elfriede Jelinke, the 2004 Nobel laureate, who began to write it after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Rage, the theme of the work, in the piece directed by Kleczewska – who stages the clash between victims and assassins, overwhelmed by blind rage in a television studio – becomes a high-intensity performance in which the genres are blurred in a theatre that is both experimental and political, and does not shy away from dealing with current events.
 
 
ENE-LIIS SEMPER
"A dangerous heroine of ritual performances and videos focused on the body, (...) whose fascination is based on the physical reactions she provokes in the observer": this is Ene-Liis Semper, born in Tallin in 1969, an acclaimed video artist, performer and director who represented Estonia at the Visual Arts Biennale in 2001. Her interdisciplinary work has been crucial to the development of Theatre NO99, founded in 2005 with Tiit Ojasoo, co-author of most of the company's productions for the theatre, invited to festivals throughout Europe, from Avignon to the Ruhr Triennale, from the Wiener Festwochen to the Golden Mask in Moscow.
She has been invited to the Biennale Teatro with two productions. Filth, inspired by The Petty Demon by Russian Symbolist author Fyodor Sologub, decries Capitalist society, its foundations, its cruelty in the relationships that characterize the beginning of this millennium, with nine actors who perform in the mud, to get to the origins of the "filth" inherent in human behaviour.
El Dorado, the Clowns' Raid of Destruction leads the public on a rough ride towards the darkest side of desire and explores the paradoxes of the human condition, drawing inspiration from the novel Daimòn by Argentine writer Abel Posse, from the rapacity of the rebel conqueror Lope de Aguirre and from the description of the Amazonas, defined as a land where every desire comes to an end. Semper develops an abstract vision of the world, descending into the most bitter crux of what it means to be human. "To be born as a human being is natural, to remain a human being is heroic".
 
 
NATHALIE BÉASSE
A sequence of four productions will be presented by French director Nathalie Béasse (Angers, 1971), trained in various disciplines, leading her to experiment with the sculptural and performing arts (in 1995 she joined the ZUR collective of artists, scenographers and performers) before carrying on her research with her own company which she founded in 1999, questioning the relationship between body and object, the structure of narration, the boundaries between theatre and dance. The legacy of her artistic training is evident in her attention to theatre as material that can be shaped, a vehicle for feelings and images, shifting constantly between reality and imagination.
Le bruit des arbres qui tombent is thus a theatre of the body, of feelings and metamorphosis, more than of words. The production walks along the paths of everyday life to be transfigured into an imaginary universe, reconstructing a common story as it puts together the pieces of a puzzle. Béasse explores the human soul, with its flaws and secrets, delving into her favourite themes, the family, intimacy, social constraints.
In Tout semblait immobile, the main characters are three speakers who talk about fairy tales, a young woman and two men, who each tell their story as if they were the characters in their research and the limited space they share is transformed into a place full of surprises, a dark and mysterious forest rife with wolves, bewitched houses, abandoned children and monsters.
 Béasse even addresses Shakespeare's Richard III as material to be shaped: Roses transposes Shakespeare's play into an everyday setting symbolized by a table around which Richard III's family entourage is gathered, a table that is the symbol of family unity becomes the battlefield in the title.
Happy Child, finally, is a story about family that examines the brutality of the unsaid, a danse macabre that tells the epic story of a family.
 
 
MARIA GRAZIA CIPRIANI
The trilogy by Maria Grazia Cipriani, founder of the Teatro del Carretto with costume and set designer Graziano Gregori, with whom she has toured the world with her unique theatre, covers a creative span of over 30 years, exploring metamorphosis, the fusion between the world of fairy tales and reality, between flesh-and-blood actors and the mask. With her stories that span the ages, from myth to fairy tale to the origins of theatre, Maria Grazia Cipriani has built perfect theatrical machines to reveal unexpected twists in these stories and turn theatre into "a very serious game" (M.Grande).
She will start with the play-manifesto Biancaneve, which orchestrates the elements that will later be developed in the direction of representative craftsmanship: a stepmother impersonated by a real actress and a microscopic Snow White, the natural-size dwarfs who suddenly appear, from a magical imaginary that reveals the tricks of the stage in a sort of chamber of the unconscious.
We continue with Pinocchio, seen as Geppetto's dream, a journey into the obscure regions of consciousness. The trilogy ends with Le mille e una notte (August 2nd and 3rd, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale), in which the Vizir's daughter decides to end the killings perpetrated by Sultan Sharhriyar by telling an endless story, as complex and elaborate as Chinese nested boxes. The play is a labyrinth in which one story leads to another, with songs and poetry that serve to frame this meta-theatrical game of interlocking parts.
 
 
LIVIA FERRACCHIATI
Livia Ferracchiati, thirty years old, studied directing at the Paolo Grassi school in Milan from which she graduated in 2014, and also holds a degree in drama from the Università La Sapienza in Rome. She made her debut with original titles such as Ti auguro un fidanzato come Nanni Moretti and Sex Workers, titles that lead along a path based on "themes", themes that can be easily mystified, unfamiliar and often requiring documentation, investigation on the field. Todi is a small town in the centre of Italy, for example, is an investigation into the provinces of Italy, into the limits that social constraints impose on individual freedom, taking as a case study the director's native town, Todi, and some of its young inhabitants: Michele, Stella, Elisa and Caroline, a small tribe of thirty-year olds with their own rules and rhythms, and a fifth character, a documentary filmmaker who connects fiction and reality. The viewpoint of the filmmaker is a subjective one that records everything Todi brings with it: embarrassment, priggishness, enmities, non-conformism and closed minds, it is the point of view of the "foreigner" who explores the multitude but is later impressed by four like-minded individuals.
In Venice, the programme will also include the first two chapters in the Trilogy about identity, a step-by-step journey that recounts the experience of the dichotomy between the body and the mind in terms of genre identity, focusing on the anxiety of living in a body that is not perceived as one's own. The first chapter, Peter Pan guarda sotto le gonne, a semi-finalist at the Premio Scenario awards, addresses the delicate theme of transgender children, dealing with the issues of growing up, of intimate and family relations. The second chapter, Stabat Mater, is also about the journey of the physical and mental transition from woman to man and about reclaiming male identity, laying bare the ties and relationships.
 
 
ANNA SOPHIE MAHLER
A German director of prose theatre and lyric opera, thirty-eight-year old Anna Sophie Mahler lives in Zürich. In 2006, she founded her own company CapriConnection, with which she experiments on an original idea of musical theatre, characterized by the use of documentary material interwoven with music and images, shown in the major German-speaking theatres (Theater Basel, Nationaltheater Weimar, am Luzerner Theater, HAU Berlin, Schauspielhaus Graz, Konzert Theater Bern, Theater Bremen).
Tristan oder Isolde, professedly a pastiche, was developed on the basis of the remains of Anna Viebrock's sets for the Wagnerian opera directed by Marthaler, for whom Mahler served as assistant director. Mahler's second play to be shown at the Biennale, Alla fine del mare, based on Fellini's film E la nave va, is about a group of opera singers past their prime on a cruise, who suddenly come across refugees from the war, creating two worlds initially destined to clash.
 
 
SUZAN BOOGAERDT AND BIANCA VAN DER SCHOOT
Both forty-two years old and from Holland, Suzan Boogaerdt & Bianca Van Der Schoot have worked together since 2000, after the both completed the same theatre school in Amsterdam. Since 2011 they have been working on a series called Visual Statements, performances dedicated to the "entertainment society" and the role of the image in today's culture. The two plays to be presented at the Biennale are part of this series: Bimbo and Hideous Wo(men). Their works have been presented at the Ruhr Triennale and at Theatertreffen; they are currently working on a new production for the Volksbühne in Berlin.
Bimbois an installation which is also a musical video and a nightmare. A disturbing peep-show filled with quotations in which the spectators are witness to a world dominated by images. Hideous Wo(men) is set in a television studio, conceived as a social laboratory, where the characters move about in search of an identity. Borrowing inspiration and quotations from D. F. Wallace, Oscar Wilde and E. Jelinek, the Dutch duo questions the virtual nature of human relationships, now defined only by the appearance of a simulacrum.
 
 
CLAUDIA BAUER
Claudia Bauer, born in 1966 in Landshut, in Bavaria, has built a solid career as a director, not only with her productions for the major German-speaking theatres, but also by serving as artistic director, for example at the Theaterhaus in Jena from 1999 to 2004. She will present two productions at the Biennale: Und Dann, based on a text by Wolfram Höll, playwright of the year in 2014 for the magazine Theater Heute, and Der Menchen Feind, a reinterpretation of Molière's Le Misanthrope. Und Dann is about the monotonous life of a child and his brothers with their unemployed father in an imaginary residential complex, after the death of their mother. Author and musician Peter Licht examines the disillusioned Alcesti, the main character in Le Misanthrope, from a social point of view, through the fallacies of language, exploring the distortions of Capitalism and the discovery of self.
 
 
Biennale College – Theatre: YOU KNOW I'M NO GOOD
You know I'm No Good, Amy Winehouse's famous single from her second album Back to Black, is the title of the final marathon scheduled for August 11th and 12th, to be staged in a single space (Sale d'Armi) with an uninterrupted performance of the results of the workshops of the Biennale College ­– Theatre, all inspired by the single theme suggested by Director Antonio Latella.
Latella asked the masters for the workshops " to choose an artist, a woman, working in the second half of the twentieth century who mysteriously disappeared, and to take a magnifying glass to find that which has remained hidden, or deliberately kept secret, for too long. We wish to open a real and necessary debate, so that this end might also become a new beginning, to raise new questions, be transformed into a fertile ground for strongly generative experimentation... I am convinced that in a Festival for which the leitmotiv remains the creative process of the artists, their development, their research, it is also important to have the courage to stop and think about those who voluntarily, and in many cases I might add with great clarity of mind, have chosen to bid an early farewell to life or to reject their artistic career".
Simone Derai of Anagoor has chosen to work on the figure of Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), Nathalie Béasse on Jean Seberg, Franco Visioli and Letizia Russo on Unica Zürn, Anna-Sophie Mahler on Aglaja Veteranyi, Maria Grazia Cipriani from the Teatro del Carretto on Amy Winehouse, Katrin Brack on Charlotte Posenenske, Suzan Boogaerdt and Bianca Van Der Schoot on Lee Lozano.
The Biennale College, which is now active in the fields of Dance, Theatre, Music and Cinema, seeks to encourage young talents by offering them the opportunity to work side by side with the Masters to develop “creations”.

 
The 6 directors
One section of the Biennale College – Theatre is dedicated exclusively to the figure of the director, with a two-year project. "At a time in history when there is a clear break between the past and the new generations working in theatre, the Biennale Teatro is committed to focusing attention on the work of those who have not yet achieved widespread visibility, because of their age and/or the objective difficulty of breaking into the theatre world. (...) The call for the first year is reserved for Italian directors only; this decision was based on our acknowledgment of the difficulties encountered by our young artists seeking to present their works to a wider audience and to the institutions" (A. Latella).
Young Italian directors between the ages of 18 and 30 years old were asked to submit an original new project or one that had never been performed in its completed form. In May, the first directors to be admitted, about thirty of them, participated in an audition with Antonio Latella, who selected 6 of them: Francesca Caprioli, Maria Chiara Pederzini, Fabio Condemi, Leonardo Lidi, Filippo Renda, Jacopo Squizzato.
On August 10th at the Teatro alle Tese, the 6 directors will present the first part of their project – lasting about 30 minutes – to a selected audience of theatre professionals, journalists and students of the Biennale College.
This presentation will end with the selection of one winner, who will participate in the final phases of the project: the production of his/her work, to be defined and developed in every aspect with the support of the Artistic Director of the Theatre Department Antonio Latella, and its debut at the Biennale Teatro 2018.