Duration: 80 minutes without interval
An elderly man enters the Bordone Hall at the Kunsthistorisches art Museum in Vienna. He sits down and begins to study the celebrated Portrait of a white-bearded man by Tintoretto. It is a ritual that has been taking place every two days for more than thirty years, ever since his wife died. The man is Reger, a very famous musicologist. There are two other men in the room with him: the attendant Irrsigler, who is devoted to him, and a younger man, Atzbacher, who remains standing on the threshold. An exchange of glances commences. Reger, focuses his attention entirely on the painting, in search of defects in the masterpiece, because “perfection is impossible to stand”, Atzbacher in turn observes the man scrutinising the painting, while the attendant examines them both.
Federico Tiezzi writes in the director’s notes: “In the novel, the full title of which is Old masters: a comedy, in which the subtitle is not to be overlooked, Bernhard - with exhilarating lucubration and cynical abuse against the world of art, the city of Vienna and its inhabitants, sets in motion a ferocious divertissement which examines a number of points of view both farcical and pessimistic of that which the Austrian writer considers to be a symbol of hypocrisy par excellence: human beings”.
The final work in an ideal trilogy of arts, composed of The loser (1983), set in the world of music, and Woodcutters (1984), which examines the dramatic arts, Old masters, published in 1985, is dedicated to the figurative arts and is seen as one of the last and most extraordinary examples of Thomas Bernhard’s narrative.
In the adaptation for the stage by Fabrizio Sinisi, Federico Tiezzi transforms the story into a veritable theatrical study of the function of art, the limitations of beauty, the neurosis of modernity, the anguish of solitude, and the desperation of marginality.
Piccolo Teatro Studio Melato
from 16 to 21 March 2021
based on the novel "Alte Meister" ("Old masters") by Thomas Bernhard
translated by Anna Ruchat
dramaturgy by Fabrizio Sinisi
directed by Federico Tiezzi
with Alessandro Burzotta, Martino D’Amico and Sandro Lombardi
sets and costumes by Gregorio Zurla, lighting by Gianni Pollini
assistant director Giovanni Scandella
a Compagnia Lombardi - Tiezzi / Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese Centro di Produzione Teatrale production
in collaboration with Napoli Teatro Festival Italia