Le sorelle Macaluso

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The 2014 archive

Emma Dante

Palermo - Napoli / Created in 2014

Le Sorelle Macaluso © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


Seven sisters, stuck between life and death, bicker and reminisce. Ghosts of Sicilian spinsters as well as modern Pleiades, they seem to be forever reenacting the same stories. One of them in particular seems to be the tragic centre around which their lives revolve. Two sisters at the beach, playing in the water; one drowns, and the other, deemed guilty, is excommunicated. This tragedy throws all their lives off course and condemns them forever to wander, to repeat the same cycle punctuated by funerals and rehashed memories. This opening scene, like all the anecdotes the seven sisters recount, mime, or vituperate, is at once farce and tragedy. Alternating between frivolity, fury, and irony, the sisters let their bodies speak and become the solidarity and rancor that unite them. Their perpetual youth is both innocence and perversity, and prevents them from turning into the women their mother wants them to become. Emma Dante's Le sorelle Macaluso is a social fable in which the characters are just as likely to throw secrets into each other's faces as they are shoes or crucifixes, stuck in a Sicilian interior they claim they want to escape but never cease to inhabit. Written entirely in Palermitano dialect, Le sorelle Macaluso is a poetic tribute to southern Italy, as well as an empathetic and uncompromising look at poverty and tradition.

Palermo is the main character of Emma Dante's plays. She moved back there fifteen years ago, after training and beginning her career in Rome. With her company, she's taken up residence in a cellar, La Vicaria, named after an old prison where witch trials used to be held. Far from an innocuous decision, given the interest she shows, in her plays, to outcasts and freaks, to the plagued and the possessed. The characters that make up Emma Dante's plays don't quite fit our modern European and globalized standards, but instead desperately cling to and get stuck in their time and their traditions. They most often speak a Palermitano dialect that echoes through the actors and actresses of Dante's company in the most prestigious of Europe's theatres. Inspired by traditional theatre forms, such as popular operetta or puppet shows, Emma Dante's plays show a subtle balance between melancholy and an often biting humor, between the grandest mythologies and the smallest of daily victories. Over the past few years she's directed her own plays, including Le Pulle, an amoral operetta, and the Trilogia degli occhiali (Trilogy of the Glasses), which have been shown all over Europe. She's also directed a production of Bizet's Carmen at La Scala in Milan, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Renan Benyamina, April 2014


Text, direction and costumes Emma Dante
Lighting Cristian Zucaro
Armors Gaetano Lo Monaco Celano
Direction assistant  Daniela Gusmano

Serena Barone Lia
Elena Borgogni Antonella
Sandro Maria Campagna Père 

Italia Carroccio Gina
Davide Celona Davidù
Marcella Colaianni Cetty
Alessandra Fazzino Maria
Daniela Macaluso Pinuccia
Leonarda Saffi Katia
Stéphanie Taillandier Mère



Production Teatro Stabile di Napoli
Coproduction Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre National (Bruxelles), Folkteatern (Göteborg)
In collaboration with Atto Unico, Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale
In partnership with Teatrul National Radu Stanca (Sibiu)
With the support of Programme Culture de l'Union européenne in the framework of the project Villes en Scène/Cities on Stage

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