“No one thinks of winter when the grass is green”
Our Western societies have based their vision of unlimited development on the aberrant ideology of man’s presumed omnipotence before the elements that supposedly constitute the universe, omitting the essential: we are not before the world, but in the world, in a relationship of interdependence. Today we are assessing the ill-fated consequences of such a view. What are we collectively doing about it?
With scarce generosity towards Nature that surrounds us, not much. It is no longer enough to protest against the damage being done to the ecosystem by the uncivil hand of man, the time has come to (re)think the universe above and beyond relationships of dominion and subordination; to challenge the sterile contradistinction between Nature and Culture and to renew the dialogue that we had interrupted with them; to repair the bonds that join the body to earth, reactivating our primordial connection with this so direly mistreated Planet; to let ourselves be overwhelmed by the searingly authentic song of the Earth which for three and a half billion years has borne witness to a fragile balance; and finally to put Man back in the place he deserves, encouraging him to be more humble because his is only one species among an infinity of others, a small part of a large whole that has preceded and will survive him, a brief fragment of history.
The time has also come for Theatre to take inventory, in the artistic spirit that distinguishes it, of our anxieties and shortcomings in the face of future environmental transformations, to become a sounding board for these urgent and vital questions.
Theatre is hic et nunc, it is the art of the present
This is why our Biennale Teatro 2023, taking on this responsibility, will reconnect our collective memory to the current history of a shattered Humanity, divided between anxiety and deliberate blindness, and the need to build a bearable, eco-sustainable future, thus paving the way towards a more radiant global perspective.
This new edition of the Festival, a platform of political and poetic resistance, will continue to defend the idea that Theatre, Art and Culture must safeguard their public service mission; this will be a vibrant and hypnotic laboratory of theatrical creation, an essential reference as an outpost of heroic utopias and revolutionary wonders, and will drape itself in emerald green, for a symbolic horizon that stands for a time of profound change, of transformation, of transition to a new phase of life: the regeneration after winter, the revitalisation, the resurrection, rebirth and freedom of the human being. We will thus celebrate the awakening of spring for Theatre too, now more than ever tasked with stimulating the fantasy and the imagination of the spectator, who is saturated with images today and passively stimulated by digital technology. Like a reactive mimetic chameleon dynamically in step with the times, Theatre articulates disparate fragments allowing them to vanish in perspective, capturing reality to filter it through its visionary outlook, (de)constructing appearances and/or (re)composing the meaning of an incoherent daily reality.
Biennale Teatro 2023, there is no place like the emerald city, no place is as green as theatre
The land of Oz is an imaginary realm at the centre of which lies the Emerald City.
A place of wonders where the protagonist, Dorothy Gale, is catapulted (over the rainbow) in search of something less material than her existence.
Emerald is the colour of prodigies: Ithaca, the magical haven of those who conquer existence; a gem through which to observe the world.
Emerald is the Theatre. Dorothy’s tornado is the spell cast by the performance that tears you away from reality to make you land in a world in which everything is possible, even learning how to live.
Emerald is the mystery, the elided, the enchantment, the incomprehensible. The relationship of man with the miracle of self, his relationship with Nature, his escaping the bonds of society to regain a greater moral dimension. Are not the tin man, the cowardly lion, the Scarecrow perhaps the artists who, with their shortcomings, with their imagination, hold our hand along the journey to understand that everything we need lies within our selves? Is not Theatre therefore that precious and powerful Emerald that helps us unmask the charlatans and fake wizards who surround us?
Emerald is thus a prodigy that is blown through the fringes of every director participating in this 2023 edition. The new mythological, fairy-tale figures are those who have made their existence an enchantment; who have endured the hardships of Life and who, through Culture and a crumpled soul, can share a soaring thought, a reflection that can give us back a gaze devoid of smugness and ready to reveal the unexpected in our everyday lives. Armando Punzo’s magic wand searches for the splendour in the darkness of prisons; FC Bergman’s flying brooms soar over the galleries of the Royal Museum in Antwerp to photograph the absurd in our lives; Tiago Rodrigues’ herb garden dissects ideas about individual versus massified freedom; the sound spells of Federica Rosellini, merged with the cabals of Giacomo Garaffoni, challenge one another in a singular tenson with the oceanic spells of Fabiana Iacozzilli, which governs the dematerialisations of Tolja Djokovic, establishing an unbreakable vow; the deep sleep spell is shattered by the moral incantations of Boris Nikitin; Romeo Castellucci’s metamorphic griffins fly over Bashar Murkus’ necromantic Milky Way; Gaetano Palermo’s immortal elf loses its way among the levitating objects by Morana Novosel; the maps in transformation through which Mattias Anderson’s questions travel reveal numbers by arithmancy to El Conde de Torrefiel; Valerio Leoni’s parselmouth soothes Noémie Goudal and Maëlle Poésy as they wander through the dark forest in search of the philosopher’s stone.
A 2023 edition of magic spells, of addressing the growth factor, with the green that becomes the metaphor for an exuberance that is not merely planetary, but above all moral.
Dorothy’s ruby slippers are donned to undertake a spiritual journey in search of identity; a role that Theatre has played and continues to play as the mirror of a society that needs to be challenged so that it does not remain petrified in the contemplation of its own image and the acclaim of others.