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Alcesti

I have an Other-ache – part I

Euripide/Rilke

running time 65’ - created in 2002

by
MICHELE ABBONDANZA and ANTONELLA BERTONI

performed by
ELISA CUPPINI, ANTONELLA BERTONI, MICHELE ABBONDANZA

musical director
MAURO CASAPPA

set and light design
LUCIO DIANA

project assistant
VERONICA MELIS

collaborations with sets
ALESSANDRO BEDOSTI, PATRIZIA CAGGIATI, PAOLA CRECCHI

lighting technician
ENRICO PECO

sound technician
MAURO CASAPPA

organization and press office
LUISA COSTA, CHIARA BILLE

produced by
COMPAGNIA ABBONDANZA/BERTONI, REGGIO EMILIA DANZA

coproduced by
CENTRO INTEATRO/POLVERIGI, DRODESERA/CENTRALE FIES,BOLZANO DANZA,
CSS UDINE, CENTRO S. CHIARA/TRENTO

with the support of
MINISTERO PER I BENI E LE ATTIVITÀ CULTURALI – DIP. SPETTACOLO
PROVINCIA AUTONOMA DI TRENTO - ASSESSORATO ALLA CULTURA

special thanks to
TEATRO LA NUOVA FENICE DI OSIMO, TEATRO COMUNALE DI CAGLI,
TEATRO PETRELLA DI LONGIANO

 

Alcesti deals with a classic folk tale theme: the sacrifice for love. One of two lovers, or betrothed, agrees to die for the other. In Alcesti it is the woman who makes the sacrifice. Acceptance of her fate coincides with its fulfilment: on the wedding day the wife gives up her life and dies.

After a number of more or less legitimate forays into the world of prose and music, this is a return to ‘form’ and the simple poetic ambiguity it offers as one of the most powerful, coherent and direct elements of theatrical communication. Taking advantage of our own personal artistic growth and our experiences as a couple, it is an ode to ‘endurance’, or the force which gives shape to that which tends to fade away. It is a falsely autobiographical performance with the necessary detachment that theatre and drama must provide.
Alcesti can also be seen as the second stage of a journey that began a decade ago in Terramara: a once naive, bucolic romance between two now inveterate lovers.

 

M. Abbondanza and A. Bertoni have created a poetical, powerful and dazzling dance-theatre performance […]. Interwoven with artistic (Chagall) and cinema (Kusturica and Tarkovskij’s “flying brides”) references, “Alcesti” represents another highly successful accomplishment in the production of one of the most interesting Italian dance companies.

Sandra Campanini, "La Gazzetta di Parma", 17 June, 2002



Rarely does a performance leave the audience speechless. With its refined play of self-exposure and partner empathising that spectators cannot help but identify with, “Alcesti” does just that. Abbondanza and Bertoni manage to infuse the dancing bodies and their pulsations with a meaningful context, path and story, highlighting serious dramaturgical research that is as much needed in dance as it is rare.

Cristina Ceretti, "Ultime notizie", 17 June, 2002



“Alcesti” tells of the sacrifice of Pelias’ most beautiful daughter, betrothed to Admetus after many other princes have vied for her hand in marriage. The story comes to us from Euripides and was later the theme for a lengthy poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. Both texts appealed to the choreographers and served as inspiration for a pièce rich in artistic references. Amidst poetic echoes, associations with painters such as Francis Bacon and Chagall with his “flying brides”, silhouettes move behind a transparent screen.

Elena Franceschini, "L’Adige", 25 July, 2002



The Teatro Studio del Nuovo Comunale (in Bolzano) was packed for “Alcesti”, with people even sitting in rows on the floor. The religious silence maintained by the audience was interrupted only by long applause at show’s end, like a warm embrace for the whole Company.

Sandra Matuella, "Trentino", 25 July 2002



The wedding begins, the music is rousing, the couple celebrate, yet they are even more puppet-like than before. […] Theirs is a sorrowful dance made up of rapid, jerking movements, a dance rich in love and exertion already overshadowed by a feeling of something uncontrollable. […] The image is simple but (a rarity nowadays) goes straight to the heart. […] The skill of the two choreographers lies in their ability to entrust messages of the soul to specific, concentrated linguistic choices.

Francesca Pedroni, "Danza&Danza", July/August 2002



The ritual tension of Greek tragedy is represented in this case by a separate place, a square onstage cordoned off by transparent white curtains. Behind these the lovers’ blatant eroticism is enacted using comical stuffed prostheses of the relevant attributes and the exaggerated, mechanical gestures of silent movies. An ill wind causes havoc with clothes and the wedding veil, refrains of old songs and opera arias play, and an onstage general servant helps the main characters’ relationship, and destinies, unfold.

Elisa Guzzo Vaccarino, "Balletto Oggi 2000", July-August 2002



Abbondanza and Bertoni build up a dance rich in poses, as though wishing to fix the story of a couple ruled by that inevitability of events the Greeks call anàke (necessity) in the mind of the audience. […] In contrast with the Euripidean ending of the tragedy, no Eracles arrives to lead Alcestis back from the tomb to Admetus. Yet that modern sense of unrest, conveyed in the final verses of the Euripidean tragedy through the veiled, taciturn apparition of Alcestis restored to life, is also apparent at the end of the work by the two Italian choreographers in the return of the large gauze wall separating the living from the dead. Warm applause for the show’s excellent performers and creators.

Francesca Pedroni, "Il Manifesto", 8 December 2002



Having weeded out many Euripidean characters the protagonists Admetus (Abbondanza), Alcestis (Bertoni) and Thanatos (Cuppini) act out the four sections of the fascinating performance: meeting, marriage, sacrifice, separation. […] This “Alcesti” is one of manifold interpretations: in the weave of movements (from puppets to Japanese or Sicilian ‘pupi’ theatre) only Death is somewhat predictable, whilst the other solos stand out as significant moments of mysterious, poetically eloquent dance.

Marinella Guatterini, "il Sole 24 ore", 29 December 2002



Alcesti looks like a transalpine anomaly as you hardly ever see in France, it draws a sort of cruel fable in black and white between mute cinema and puppet theatre. […] On waves of lyrical music swollen like a tsunami, Alcesti keeps its droll and twisted view until the end, spreading a rare disquiet.

Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde, 6 October 2004

Narrative bodies
by Marco Balian

ITALY

2002 Reggio Parma Festival - Teatro Ariosto - Reggio Emilia (prima nazionale - 15 giugno);

Il Filo d’Arianna Festival - Teatro Comunale - Belluno; Bolzano  Danza - Nuovo Teatro Comunale di Bolzano - Bolzano; Drodesera Festival -  Centrale Fies Dro (TN); Enzimi Festival 2002 - Deposito Atac (Grottarossa) - Roma;  Teatro Comunale di Cagli - Cagli (PU); CRT-Teatro dell’Arte – Milano.

2003. Teatro Kismet Opera - Bari; Teatro degli Illuminati - Città di Castello (PG);  Teatro Zanon - Udine; Teatro delle Briciole - Parma; Teatro Comunale -  Monfalcone; Teatro Sociale Trento; Abbazia di S. Zeno - Pisa; Danza Estate – Ex  chiesa di S. Agostino – Bergamo; Teatro Solvay – Rosignano Solvay (LI); Teatro  Camploy – Verona; Auditorium S. Niccolò – Chioggia.

2004. In danza immersion - Teatro Bellini – Napoli; Festival Fabbrica Europa: A  tempo - Teatro Cantiere Florida – Firenze; Tracce Mediterranee - Teatro  Verdi – Sassari; L’altra danza, Le vie dei festival - Teatro delle Passioni –  Modena; Teatro dei Rozzi – Siena.

2005. Teatro Giuditta Pasta – Saronno (VA); ETI Altre Scene 05 – Teatro Vascello  Roma.

 

ABROAD

2002. Monaco Dance Forum - Salle des Varietés - Montecarlo (Principato di Monaco).

2003. Festival Unidram 2003 - Fabrik - Potsdam (Germania); Festival euro-scene - Neue Szene – Leipzig (Germania).

2004. Théâtre de Grasse – Grasse (Francia); Festival Schöne Aussicht  Theaterhaus Stuttgart (Germania); Festival DanseM  - La Friche la Belle de  Mai - Marsiglia (Francia).

2006. Internationales Theater Festival Glauben - E-werk – Freiburg (Germania).