Eleusi – the title is a reference to the mysteries of Ancient Greece – is a choral diptych that examines the theme of the sacred. It is the result of a reflection on two of the Piccolo’s venues: the Teatro Grassi and the Teatro Studio Melato. The first one is the theatre in Via Rovello where, between 1943 and 1945, the Fascists tortured and killed civilians and partisans. In 1947, Grassi and Strehler decided to turn it into a place where people could once again live.
Dating back to the mid-1800s, the second one is the Teatro Fossati, which used to stage performances in dialect, revues, and operettas. It was converted into a cinema and then remained closed for many years. It was re-opened by Strehler in 1985 as a place for experimental performance and was named Teatro Studio.
“The transformation of both these areas of the Teatro – explained Enia – was a specific effort to re-assign a new meaning to the existing entity; occupying a space, modifying its purpose and its relationship with the urban and social fabric, lending active meaning to the verb to inhabit. In Eleusi, these two extremely symbolic locations are interconnected and communicative; the events taking place in one contrast and combine with those in the other. Audiences are invited to move between the two theatres without any pre-established order, leaving the choice of where to go first to chance, desire, and intuition”.
At the Grassi, a stage-based performance explores the themes of death and violence, following the idea that the building itself has had a violent life. At the Studio, audiences will be subjected to an immersive experience, greeted on entering the auditorium by a large choir that will sing, uninterrupted, for twenty-four hours. “Eleusi – continues Enia – is also a reflection on the theatre as a medium, on the need for osmosis between its components, on possible languages, on writing, on literature, on the urgency of desire, on roles and their reversal. It will last for twenty-four hours, non-stop, from dawn to dawn, to then disappear”.
The play is currently in production