While they were students at the Fine Arts Academy in Bologna in Italy, Claudia and Romeo Castellucci and Chiara Guidi set up the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio in Cesena in 1981 as a place for artistic work mixing theatre, video, sculpture, writing and painting. Heavily influenced by their encounter with actor-director Carmelo Bene, they produce iconoclastic theatre composed of tableaux, of images, of physical performance by actors for whom the text has a secondary role, and whose want to address, most of all, the audience's feelings rather than their intellect. They centred their first artistic productions around major myths from Mesopotamia, the birthplace of writing, such as Gilgamesh and Innanna. From 1992, they made their way back to the European classics, Hamlet, Julius Caesar and The Orestes, their handling of these stories always challenging the audience, in order that they become one of the driving forces of the performance. Genesi, from the Museum of Sleep sees Romeo Castellucci confront our history's biblical origins and the Book of Books. Crime becomes the original act and evil the origin of art. This is a radical production where "nuclear" and radiant images, produce theatre unlike any other, and which is spreading across the whole of Europe in the eleven episodes of "La Tragedia Endogonidia" which began in 2001. The Societas Raffaello Sanzio's previous presentations at the Avignon Festival are Giulio Cesare in 1996, Voyage au Bout de la Nuit, a concerto adapted from the work of Céline in 1999, Genesi in 2000, one episode of the "Tragedia Engononidia" cycle, A.#02 Avignon and an exhibition of Romeo Castellucci's work in 2002.
The first major adventure in theatre of the 21st Century, "Tragedia Endogonidia" is eleven episodes that are performed in theatres in ten European cities. At each stage, the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio asks the same question in a different form: how to re-invent and represent a contemporary tragedy, here and now ? Greek tragedy, the symbol of the democratic Greek city in the fifth century BCE which was united in the celebration of its myths and its history, no longer corresponds to the same forms in compartmentalized, fragmented societies where the individuals who make up those societies feel isolated, vulnerable and under threat. How, for example, can one represent a tragic chorus who speaks with one voice in the name of the political community when that community is split into so many groups not sharing the same values, nor beliefs nor the same historical or mythical origins ? How is that possible if language has become an "empty house" ? In the two episodes being performed at the Festival, B#.03 Berlin and BR.#04 Bruxelles, Romeo Castellucci focuses on the relationship between the indvidual and "time", the individual and "law", in their personal relationship and their relationship with the society in which they exist. He leads the audience into this two-pronged investigation with the help of the artists, who wrap it with images of recurring characters travelling through universes made of solid matter and sound that balk conventional aesthetic. With a rigorous and uncompromising handling of the myths, concepts and themes of tragedy, measuring them against the theatre stage, Castellucci calls on the imagination of each member of the audience who thus becomes the real hero in this contemporary tragedy. It is all at once a theatre of mystery and of dream, of cruelty and of tenderness, inspired as much by Antonin Artaud and Samuel Beckett as by fairy tales, where he pitches the violence of security force-torturers against the extreme gentleness of children's games, the tenderness of amorous play against the murderous instinct that is dormant inside every person. The images are made and un-made like clockwork, the bodies go from one place to another in choreographed movements. The music, composed by Scott Gibbons, a musican from Chicago who for several years has been the acoustic soul of the company - correlates with the images then is disturbingly antagonistic to them. The human being in its entirety is exposed from its' beginnning until its long descent towards the abyss of death. There is no gratuitous provocation, just the need to show the human body in the fraility of its being and in the obscurity of tragical experience, the sphinx of life faced with the problem of birth, from the pure to the obscene. These luminous or dark, but always flamboyantly beautiful images make this a type of theatre that is disturbing, trying, challenging and gives everyone the possibility to journey through personal tragedy. This is not a type of theatre of consensus, that is reassuring, instead it is allegorical and real time is suspended, the words are strong and rare yet terribly efficient; it is a type of theatre that offers no explanations but, to those willing to accept it, it can shake people out of their habits and give them the possibility to lose themselves, find themselves again and to be left with no possessions: "Alone. Together and all alone."
Direction, scenography, lighting and costumes : Romeo Castellucci
Direction, composition dramatique, sonore et vocale : Chiara Guidi
Trajectoires et écritures : Claudia Castellucci
original music : Scott Gibbons
Cast : Francesca Proia, Roberta Busato, Francesca Debri, Claudia Zannoni, Eva Castellucci, Monica Demuru
Prop : Carmen Castellucci
Make-up : Michele Guaschino
Production : Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Cesena), Festival d'Avignon, Hebbel Theater (Berlin), KunstenFESTIVALdesArts (Bruxelles), Bergen International Festival, Odéon - Théâtre de l'Europe avec le Festival d'Automne à Paris, Romaeuropa Festival (Rome), Le Maillon - Scène nationale de Strasbourg, LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), Théâtre des Bernardines avec le Théâtre du Gymnase à Marseille
En collaboration avec : Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Modène)
Avec le soutien : du Programme Culture 2000 de l'Union européenne