Nel tempo degli dèi

Touring production
Available for sale
©Masiar Pasquali

In a time of gods and heroes, Homer told the story of Ulysses. Nowadays we witness the countless odysseys of people at the mercy of gods who no longer live on Mount Olympus, but who have assumed the semblance of a Western world which is the irrational and cruel crafter of the destiny of others.

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».

Duration: 2 hours with no interval

The Playbill

Nel tempo degli dèi
Ulysses’s shoemaker
by Marco Paolini and Francesco Niccolini
with Marco Paolini
and with Saba Anglana, Elisabetta Bosio, Vittorio Cerroni, Lorenzo Monguzzi, Elia Tapognani
sets, luminism and style Roberto Tarasco
directed by Gabriele Vacis
a Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa and Jolefilm production



There is a pressing need to “sing” the exploits of a Odysseus who is extremely travelled and tired of blood. One who tells his story to a very young god/shepherd, a modern-day boy, impatient, curious, who wants to share the most “pulp” aspects of Homer’s adventure on the social networks. A dificult task, but one that is proving to be successful. (Avvenire)

Paolini seeks to tell us of a wise, confused and disoriented man, who needs to keep on learning and understanding, a man who perhaps will never be able to calm the demons both old and new that lie within. (Corriere della Sera)

An intelligent and modern play which examines our present without pretending to provide us with answers. (Cultweek)

Faithful to his stage presence, well-supported by the directing of Gabriele Vacis, Marco Paolini lends the figure of Odysseus a tangible logic, that special, crude hide of humanity that we find in each of his characters, who never forgets to be objective, dry or concrete. (

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