2 November is the day of the dead. A “‘nzenziglio e spetacchiato” – wrinkled and threadbare – old man alone in an empty house, prepares a traditional treat to celebrate. He uses water, flour, and sugar to shape a hook “pe li pesci de lo cielo” – for the fish in the sky; a brightly painted anthropomorphic statuette in sugar. While he waits for the dough to rise, he recalls his dead family. The house fills with memories and life; mammina, an old woman with a “trembling heart”, his father lost at sea when he was young, his sisters Rosa, Primula and Viola, “three sweethearts who loved the spring”, Pedro, passionately in love with Viola, zio Antonio and zia Rita “who were constantly fighting”, and Pasqualino, his adopted son.
Following La scortecata – staged at the Teatro Grassi in April 2019 – Emma Dante returns to take on Lo cunto de li cunti. It is a fable by Giambattista Basile, from which the director draws her inspiration to present an ancient Southern Italian tradition with her latest play; in a number of areas in the South, on 2 November feasts are prepared, full of sweets and biscuits, in exchange for gifts that dead relatives bring from the afterlife to give to the children. During the evening’s ritual, the idea was that eating the sweets was like feeding on the souls of the dead. It is a moment that, as in Pupo di zucchero, becomes a celebration of death and of life.
60’ without interval