Elvira

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes without interval

After packed houses in Via Rovello in the Autumn of 2016, and an Italian and international tour which was received with extraordinary success - the first port of call was Paris, at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, named after Louis Jouvet - a return to Milan, at the Teatro Grassi for the play which Toni Servillo has based on the seven lessons that the great French actor held at the Conservatoire National d’Art dramatique in Paris, during Nazi occupation.
On the stage of a closed theatre, master and apprentice work passionately on a theatrical classic, Molière’s Don Giovanni. They are searching for truth in the performance, they accompany us on a journey to discover the mysterious world of acting and rehearsal, right up to the moment in which the actor understands that they have reached the heart of their character, to have understood it, and to be able to perform it in an authentic manner.
The subject of the rehearsal is Elvira’s second scene, the moment in which the unhappy lover of the great seducer enters the stage and pleads him to repent, because it is the only way to save his soul.

Toni Servillo and Petra Valentini, in the roles of Jouvet and Claudia, the most talented apprentice - who is forces to abandon the production as she is Jewish - demonstrate what it means to be an actor, to experience “a consuming passion - explains Servillo - which is that of removing ones “self”, remaining at the complete disposal of theatre. The poetry of this great man consists in the underlining of the eternal motive tied to the theatre: the place in which one loses themselves in order to find themselves again”.
The adventure of theatrical creation, in the tragic context of a country at war, is transformed into a message of hope and a form of fundamental resistance of humanity in the face of imminent horrors.

Elvira
(Elvire Jouvet 40)
by Brigitte Jaques © Gallimard
based on the book “Molière et la Comédie classique” by Louis Jouvet
translation by Giuseppe Montesano
directed by Toni Servillo
costumes Ortensia de Francesco
lighting Pasquale Mari
sound Daghi Rondanini
assistant to the director Costanza Boccardi
with Toni Servillo, Petra Valentini, Francesco Marino, Davide Cirri
a Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa, Teatri Uniti co-production

Here we have a play which lends words, sacredness and dignity to the theatre and to the life on the stage... Servillo takes this opportunity to confirm his own theatrical poetry: to present a rigid idea of the theatre far from the labyrinth of media banality, but above all to provide a lesson on life, on the value of responsibility, dignity, effort, discipline and seriousness as a way to remain human.
la Repubblica, Anna Bandettini

“Toni Servillo meets Louis Jouvet in Elivra, and does so with intelligent sobriety, elegance and strength... Servillo’s Elvira is not only a revelation of the mysterious game of rehearsals and acting techniques, it cuts, with great clarity and passion, into the heart of the theatre. What is revealed is a creative process which leads to the search, deep within the actor, for  the man, his truth. Penetrating directly into the text, the words, into ourselves.
Corriere Della Sera, Magda Poli

One is fascinated by “Elvira”, more a photograph of a period in motion than a text... Within the bleak scene - a table, a couple of chairs - all of the tension is entrusted to the exchange between the mature actor and the debuting youngster, Petra Valentini: she has a severe presence, a controlled intensity. He is tense, feverish in his suggestions, he allows himself just a few moments of relaxation, when he gives in to an outburst of affection or impatience, or when he delivers a whithering parody of an academic actress.
Domenica (Sole 24 Ore), Renato Palazzi

Through a new translation, Toni Servillo returns to the rigour of the original. Here then is the absolute commitment of the implacable maestro, so absolute as to momentarily exclude the outside world, which is falling apart. Servillo is magnificent in his communication of this devotion and its importance.
la Stampa, Masolino D’Amico

A stark play, as all it requires is an almost bare set to create the location... Stark because it strips bare the profound sense of the theatre... One gradually witnesses the blossoming of the encounter between the young woman, the talented apprentice Claudia - and her character. In order to accomplish this, to embody the role of an actor who is anxious and strict, above all with themselves, talent is not enough; what is required is charisma. One of the few who possess this characteristic is without a doubt Toni Servillo, who here plays, for his part, the role of the great actor, while also directing a play which is both strong and delicate.
l’Unità, Maria Grazia Gregor

A minimal and rigorous play, a gem with which the Piccolo Teatro has decided to open the season which celebrates its 70th anniversary. A lesson in life, an invitation to understand ourselves by digging deep, with effort and commitment, in search of contact with the mystery of life. Servillo, on the stage, is an authoritative maestro, able to lead the audience by the hand together with the young Claudia towards new heights, towards the absolute.
Avvenire, Angela Calvini

Available for sale spring 2021
 

For more information

Alberto Benedetto
benedettoa@piccoloteatromilano.it
+39 02 72 333 312

Annalisa Rossini
rossinia@piccoloteatromilano.it
+39 02 72 333 279

Mara Milanesi
milanesim@piccoloteatromilano.it
+39 02 72 333 207