For a number of years, Marco Paolini has been exploring the character of Ulysses. His first approach dates back to 2003, at the archaeological site of Carsulae, with the musical improvisation of Giorgio Gaslini and Uri Caine, and sets by Arnaldo Pomodoro. In Milan in 2013, as part of a series of events related to the performances of Odyssey by Bob Wilson at the Teatro Strehler, he offered audiences a re-reading of that work.
Now, with the collaboration of Francesco Niccolini, for writing, and the directing of Gabriele Vacis, that narration has found its centre in the Gods, puppet-masters for human destiny.
The shoemaker of the sub-title is the aoidos, who weaves the story onto the body and personality of Ulysses as an artisan does with a pair of shoes.
«The poetry of Homer’s tradition is the foundation of Western thought and our common ideas. The challenge is to lend sound to those books, enter into a flow, a consonance which allows us to re-create the enchantment of the original. Homer tells of an era of gods, demigods and heroes. Now, the potential that progress has given us means that we, westerners, are the divinities of this world. We have an immense power which requires balance».
The Ulysses imagined by Paolini has experienced much, he has travelled and suffered. An elderly man, more than twenty years spent away from home, Itaca. Almost at the end of his terrestrial life, he continues to be insincere, he loves to hide his identity, and he reflects extensively before speaking, but when he does, he enchants.
«We didn’t want to tell the usual stories about Ulysses - adds Niccolini -. This is why we went to examine other sources, to understand how to “betray” Homer while remaining true to tradition».
«We immediately took on the roles of gods at the centre of the work - says Vacis -, for a reason that for us was obvious: the grand migrations that we see, the tens of thousands of people fleeing from misery and war towards the north and the west tell us that we are “the gods”. We welcome, reject, and play with other people’s destinies and, like Homer’s divinities, we act in an irrational and incomprehensible way».
«Working for the first time in a production for the Piccolo - concludes Paolini -, an idea which is the fruit of a long relationship of collaboration and trust, is a challenge for me to put to one side my habits of navigating “alone” in order to live the adventure of creating a new show together with others».
2 hours with no interval