“It was 15 June 1767 when Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò, my brother, sat with us for the last time”. Thus begins Il barone rampante, a masterpiece by Italo Calvino (this year marks the centenary of his birth, 1923-2023), the second act of the Trilogia dei nostri antenati (the other two titles are Il visconte dimezzato and Il cavaliere inesistente), and the story of a twelve-year-old and his rebellion against his family; the young baron Cosimo refuses to eat a plate of snails and, faced with the ire of his father, climbs up a tree in the garden of his home and refuses to come down.
“Bringing to the theatre Il barone rampante – explains the director Riccardo Frati – sees the continuing exploration of those works that have marked my professional growth. Following Il piccolo principe, staged for ERT, I have now turned to Calvino’s novel to examine the theme of relationships, in a historical moment such as this, in many ways antithetical; a character that moves lightly over our heads, forcing us to raise our gaze from the devices in which we isolate ourselves, to emerge from the cages of our individuality. The challenge of bringing the novel to the theatre is that of identifying language and poetry to express to the audience the levity – and the perspicacity – of Calvino’s inventiveness. Wrongly confined to the realm of “literature for young people”, Il barone rampante is a book for everyone; rich with cues – from the relationship with authority, complex at any age, to humankind’s relationship with the environment – it is a “political” work, in the broadest sense of the term, a story in which we can all identify. Through the figure of Biagio, the younger brother of the protagonist and narrator of the story, Calvino invites us to reflect on the relationship between infancy and memory, on the need to use memory and accounts to return to the age in which we wrote the first chapters of the story of our lives”.
180’ including an interval (first act, 94’; second act, 66’)