A. semu tutti devoti tutti?
10 year from its première, on 6-10 February 2019 the production will be taken back in repertory for the project Anthology by Roberto Zappalà
in coproduction with Teatro Stabile of Catania
other music Dire Straits, Rosario Miraggio, Gustav Mahler, Burt Bacharach
A.Semu tutti devoti tutti? [A.Aren’t we all devoted?] is a piece dedicated to the patron Saint of Catania, Saint Agatha一deprived of her breasts as a punishment for her refusal to get married with the city Proconsul and executed in 251 A.D.一and to the huge feast and procession in her honour, among the largest in the Christian-Catholic world. Adopting an iconographic apparatus, extremely contemporary, the dance work tackles, with a universal language, current issues such as violence against women, and religious and economic fundamentalism.
Sicily is depicted in between fascination, mysticism and harsh reality. The Saint, whose devotional image bordering eroticism and sadism (the pincers, the mangled breasts) is universally known in the catholic world, is a ‘mere’ starting point. The archaic and, concurrently, contemporary setting of the religious celebration shows the contradictions of a world where Saint Agatha’s martyrdom symbolises a more universal martyrdom and that identifies the martyr with its city and its people. While the performance has neither the presumption nor the capability to “investigate all aspects… all angles…, from all perspectives”一as in Borges’ novel, El Aleph一it does aim at showing who we are, we were and we risk to become.
The pure and powerful dance of Roberto Zappalà portraits the ambivalence of the procession of Saint Agatha, between sacred and profane, spirituality and illegality, fiction and devotion, love and fury, redemption and exploitation, all aspects that coexist and in which the individual blissfully loses itself inside the crowd.
A.semu tutti devoti tutti? arises from the need to deal with a series of crucial aspects of what living in a community and being part of it means, investigating and eviscerating the feeling of belonging that a secularised and media-obsessed society expresses towards God, religion, religiousness, and the transcendental. This relationship is revealed in two opposite and complementary aspects: a private and a public one. Two faces of the same coin revealing a deep ambiguity hard to clarify. Believers (Sicilian or not) seem to be doomed by the paradox of publicly showing their mystical fervour and devotion as the only way to prove their belief. In doing so, however, their very own belief is jeopardised: misrepresented or denied.
The piece’s container is the project Re-mapping Sicily一a personal re-reading of Sicily through Zappalà’s unique artistic vocabulary一 that does not leave out of the picture popular belief, an aspect that permeates Sicily and Italy itself, becoming the key to understand nearly everything in the society.
In light of the recent success of the new 2019 staging in co-production with Teatro Stabile di Catania, ten years after the premiere, the piece confirms the newness of its content, still actual when addressing the power dynamics behind the Catanese feast.
Live music played by Lautari, an evocative backdrop consisting of 1,600 bras stitched and hanged, and seven men carrying the body of the Saint in triumph, are the background to the paradoxical message contained in the title A. Semu tutti devoti tutti?: a lay reflection upon fundamentalisms that obscure society and faith. A pop show, “physical and macho in the language, full with stamina, willingly wild, obsessive, and a very energetic dance” (Anna Bandettini) but also lyrical, philosophical, and socially committed.