“No one thinks of winter when the grass is green.”
Western societies have based their vision of endless development on a perverse ideology that presupposes human omnipotence in the face of the elements that are assumed to make up the universe. This overlooks the essential thing: we do not face the world, but are in it, as part of an interdependent relationship. The consequences of this are becoming apparent today. What is society doing about it?
Given its lack of generosity towards the Nature that surrounds it, not much. It’s no longer enough to call out the damage the ecosystem suffers at the barbaric hands of man; the time has come to (re)think the universe as more than a series of relationships of domination and subordination; to question the unproductive opposition between Nature and Culture; and to re-establish with them a dialogue that has hitherto been interrupted. We must stitch the bonds that unite body and earth back together, reigniting our primordial connection with this much-abused Planet. We must allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the striking authenticity of the Earth’s song, which has borne witness to a precarious balance for three and a half billion years. We must finally put Mankind back in its rightful place, urging it towards greater humility, as only one species among countless others – a small part of a much greater whole that came before it and will survive it; a brief fragment of history.
It’s also time for Theatre to devise, with its distinctive artistic spirit, an inventory of our anxieties and constraints in the face of future environmental changes, and become a sounding board for these vital, urgent issues.
THEATRE IS THE HIC ET NUNC, THE HERE AND NOW; IT’S THE ART OF THE PRESENT MOMENT
That is why, by engaging with all of these questions, the Biennale Teatro 2023 will reconnect our collective memory to current history, which reveals a human race in tatters, torn between anxiety and intentional blindness; as well as the need to build a bearable, environmentally sustainable future, and pave the way for a brighter global outlook.
As a platform for political and poetic resistance, this edition of the Festival will continue to defend the idea that Theatre, Art and Culture are a public service that must be safeguarded. It will be a vibrant, hypnotic laboratory of scenic creation, a vital point of reference as an outpost of heroic utopias and revolutionary wonders. And it will be draped in EMERALD GREEN, whose symbolic horizon is a moment of profound change, a transformation, the passage into a new stage of life; it’s regeneration after winter; it’s revitalisation, resurrection and rebirth, and freedom for all human beings. With this, we’ll celebrate a spring awakening for Theatre, which is now more committed than ever to stimulating the spectator’s imagination, saturated as it is today with images and the passive attractions of digital technology. Like some reactive, mimetic chameleon dynamically in step with the times, Theatre can give shape to disparate fragments, offering them a perspectival “way out”, grasping reality in order to pass it through its visionary “sieve”. It can (de)construct appearances and/or (re)compose the meaning of incoherent everyday life.
BIENNALE TEATRO 2023: THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE EMERALD CITY; THERE’S NO PLACE AS GREEN AS THEATRE
The Land of Oz is an imaginary kingdom, at the centre of which lies EMERALD City. It is a wondrous place in which the protagonist Dorothy Gale is cast (over the rainbow) in search of something less material than her existence.
EMERALD is precisely that, the colour of magic: an Ithaca, the magical landing place of those who conquer existence; a jewel through which to observe the world.
EMERALD is the Theatre. Dorothy’s tornado is the spell cast by a performance: tearing you away from reality, it lands you in a world where everything is possible, even learning how to live.
EMERALD is mystery, that which is withheld, enchantment, the inexplicable. It’s the relationship between mankind and its miracle, its relationship with Nature; how it escapes the clutches of the social cage to recover a broader moral sense. Aren’t the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow the artists who, with their shortcomings and imaginations, hold our hand on the journey towards understanding that everything we need is within us? Isn’t Theatre that precious and powerful emerald that helps us to unmask the fake magicians that surround us?
Emerald is a miracle, one that will flutter through the eyelashes of every director taking part in this 2023 edition. The new mythological, fairy-tale creatures are those who have made of their existence an enchantment. Those who have passed through the slings and arrows of Life and who, through Culture and a crumpled soul, can share their flights of fancy, and the thinking that imbues us once again with a vision free of smug satisfaction; one ready to reveal the unexpected in our everyday lives. Armando Punzo’s magic wand finds traces of splendour in the darkness of prisons. FC Bergman’s flying brooms soar over the galleries of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, photographing the absurdity of our existences. Tiago Rodrigues’ herbarium dissects suggestions of individual freedom versus its uniform equivalent. Federica Rosellini’s sonorous witchcraft merges with Giacomo Garaffoni’s soothsaying, and they face off against the oceanic versions created by Fabiana Iacozzilli, as she steers Tolja Djoković’s dematerialisations to establish some unbreakable vow. The charms of deep sleep are then torn to shreds by Boris Nikitin’s moral enchantments, while Romeo Castellucci’s metamorphic hippogriffs fly over Bashar Murkus’ necromantic Milky Way, and Gaetano Palermo’s immortal elf is lost among Morana Novosel’s levitating objects. Elsewhere, the shape-shifting maps through which Mattias Andersson’s questions pass unveil numbers for the arithmancy practised by El Conde de Torrefiel; and Valerio Leoni’s Parseltongue provides comfort on Noémie Goudal and Maëlle Poésy’s journey through the dark forest, as they search for the philosopher’s stone.
The 2023 edition is one of spells, engaging with growth, and with the GREEN that becomes a metaphor for a luxuriance not only planetary but above all moral.
Dorothy puts on her ruby-red slippers to face a spiritual journey of identity; that is the function that Theatre has fulfilled and continues to fulfil: as the mirror of a society that requires constant re-examination, so as not to remain stuck in the observation of its own image and the acclaim of others.