Duration: 75 minutes with no interval
Audiences have welcomed her into the Piccolo family.
The extraordinary successes of Le sorelle Macaluso in 2014 and the diptych Sorelle Macaluso - Oparetta burlesca in 2015 are the indication of total affinity with the expressive world of Emma Dante.
It was therefore time for a new production created for the stage of the Teatro Strehler, leading to the birth of a play which stages “the scandal of the actor”, with her as always as writer and director.
Bestia di scena is a point of arrival for Emma Dante at the Piccolo, but it is also a stage in her artistic journey: for a woman of the theatre who shapes the living body of the person who takes to the stage to the point of possession, it was an inevitable moment, which fills us with anticipation, a work on the nightmare of acting.
Bestie di scena took on its true meaning at the very moment that I gave up on the theme I wanted to take on. I wanted to speak about the work of an actor, their efforts, their needs, their total abandon, right up to the loss of the feeling of shame and in the end I found myself faced with a small community of primitive, bewildered and fragile beings, a group of “imbeciles” which, as an extreme gesture, present the spectators with their sweaty clothes, renouncing everything. This act of sacrifice was the starting point, a strange atmosphere was created, and stayed with us, and the play created itself.
In Bestie di scena there is a community on the run. Just like Adam and Eve banished from paradise, the beasts end up on a stage full of peril and temptation, a place of sin, the terrestrial world. There they find everything they need: the house, the playrooms, the path, the refuge in which to find shelter, fear, the sea, the shipwreck, the trench, the tomb before which to mourn the dead, the remains of a catastrophe...
The beasts of the stage do nothing but imagine. They convince themselves they are living, holding borrowed things in their hands, feeding on sludge, muttering scraps of stories. Just like children they believe in the games and, alienated from everything, they allow themselves to be enchanted until they are led to the excesses of dementia. They dance, they sing, they shout, they argue in southern dialects, they seduce, they go crazy, they love, they laugh, they fight...
In Bestie di scena there is a secret mechanism which reveals the process which leads to the birth and formation of an individual. He is in the centre, with his uncoordinated and wild movements, he creates paths which are more important than the destination, he looks for roads not yet travelled. He is the beating heart of the exercise, the foundation of the game, the focus for a possible understanding of what we are. Without stories to tell or costumes to wear, the beasts of the stage move clumsily, just like at the beginning of time, forcing us to lend weight, volume and dimension to our gaze. We are the ones who choose, right from the beginning, whether to welcome them or refuse them. The “imbeciles” who stand before us do nothing but instinctively take part in movements marked by the rhythm in which the muscles and reflexes are provoked and stretched to reach a state in which it is the body which thinks.
On the empty stage, in a black box delimited by a base and six wings, the mass of these souls intertwined in a silent circular march becomes the custodian of a secret. The way out is barred, signs of fire emerge from the wings and the beasts can no longer escape from this confine.
After facing various tasks, yet another command echoes from the wings, the last, and the most terrible. Only now do the “imbeciles” disobey. They decide to stand before us, naked. Their discovery will be that they have always been naked and that they have never been anything else. It will no longer make sense to pick up their clothes, cover themselves, and carry out other actions; but only to simply stand there, and look.
From Emma Dante’s director's notes.
As the show contains scenes of full-frontal nudity, it is unsuitable for spectators under the age of 16.
Piccolo Teatro Strehler
from 28 February to 19 March 2017
Bestie di scena
conceived and directed by Emma Dante
with Elena Borgogni, Sandro Maria Campagna, Viola Carinci, Italia Carroccio, Davide Celona, Sabino Civilleri, Alessandra Fazzino, Roberto Galbo, Carmine Maringola, Ivano Picciallo, Leonarda Saffi, Daniele Savarino, Stephanie Taillandier, Emilia Verginelli
Daniela Macaluso, Gabriele Gugliara
props by Emma Dante
lighting Cristian Zucaro
A Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa, Atto Unico / Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale, Teatro Biondo Palermo, Festival d’Avignon co-production