October 30, 2012

The sandman
Capriccio in the manner of Hoffmann

Theatre Center “Na Strastnom”
Moscow (RU)

production Emilia Romagna Theatre Foundation, Festival delle Colline Torinesi, European Union Culture Programme within the Progetto Prospero
by Consuelo Battiston, Gianni Farina, Alessandro Miele
direction Gianni Farina
music Stefano De Ponti
lighting and technical direction Robert John Resteghini
with Tamara Balducci, Consuelo Battiston, Tolja Djokovic, Francesco Ferri,
Alessandro Miele, Mauro Milone
assistant director Chiara Fallavollita
costumes Elisa Alberghi
company technician Sergio Taddei
stagehand Andrea Bulgarelli
photography Arianna Lodeserto
drawing and graphics Marco Smacchia
scenes created in the workshop of Emilia Romagna Theatre Foundation

thanks to Marco Cavalcoli and Chiara Lagani, Santarcangelo dei Teatri/Santarcangelo 41, Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Compostc/Valtorto, perAspera/Drammaturgie Possibili – Festival di Arti Contemporanee, all participants of the UBIQ project workshops

Capriccio alla maniera di Hoffmann

This Capriccio is, first of all, a labyrinth.
It is a game of Chinese boxes, an endless story in which to lose oneself.
It is the tableau vivant of a still life.

In Hoffmann’s tale the characters fade into the grey folds of everyday life, like automatic reflexes of the same individual. The restlessness generated by the Fantastic, the Disturbed, the Bizarre pushes the student Nathaniel towards a reckless awareness of this dulling mechanism, but an enormous gulf exists between desire and action. Neurosis supplants the contemplation in the eternal conflict between inner images and the outer world.
The formal challenge consists of lighting a magic lantern capable of appearing and disappearing; a bearer of paradoxical overlapping contexts, calling into question – in a Hoffmannesque manner – what our eyes witness: the constructed frame that we call reality.

Benevolent spectator,
Do you like this preview?
Perhaps a little too intimidating. Although, the conclusion of “Benevolent spectator, do you like this preview?” shifts the form of address, don’t you think?
Pity that what we define as “the conclusion” is not a real conclusion. And so on, further phrases, like this or others, will follow the expression “and so on”.
Apologies for all this beating around the bush, but we are simply unable to conclude this speech, we just can’t get our heads around it.
Even as the situation comes to a head, the problem remains unresolved.
How can it really be finished off?
Well, one could write “the end”, if only these words were part of the finale.
Alas, no, these words constitute nothing more than a preview of the show.
How about this: suspend proceedings, we’ll talk about it after the show.
If only we were talking!
But the idea’s not bad, that is, the idea implicit in the statement “suspend proceedings”.
Let’s listen, if one may say “let’s listen” in reference to the silence of the printed word.
Perhaps “follow it” is more apt and even sounds better. But let’s forget about sounds, let’s follow it finally without adding anything after the exhortation “follow

The drama is freely adapted from the short-story “The sand-man” by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann using as inspiration all his work says well. Hoffmann is a visionary writer, who investigates topics such as the loss of the sense of reality and the confusion that comes from it.
In the novel we find suspended and hypnotic atmospheres, sudden changes of perspective that modify our point of view on reality, opening new horizons in cognitive abilities and disclosing the society that imprisons the brave characters, who are fighting against ordinariness.
Together with these suggestions from Hoffmann, Menoventi take some cues even from other authors: Adolfo Bioy Casares, Philip K. Dick and David Lynch.
In L’uomo della sabbia characters are dip into boredom and in greyness of ordinariness. The gap between wish and action is extremely wide.
The challenge is that of reducing the gap, creating a system in which everything happens at the same time, as an antidote against boredom. The aim is that of getting to a new situation fighting against dichotomies like positive-negative, before-after, high-low, logic-illogic. To imagine in this way a change of perspective following the linearity of events that produces paradoxes. These paradoxes are shown in the dramaturgical choice of dividing the action in Zones that host different levels of representation, which have the peculiarity of sudden shifts through the overlapping of different situations which are breaking down the narrative coherence in a way that the audience is brought to think about what happened until that moment and putting everything under investigation to understand if it has been real or not.