To imagine, conceive and create a performance on Saint Agatha and its huge procession and celebration in Catania (among the largest in the Christian-Catholic world) is to suggest an identification between the saint and the city/its people; Catania being a place where this connection is inextricable present. It shows also the desire to deeply analyse a fundamental aspect of today’s world, the relationship with the sacred, religion and religiousness. Saint Agatha – a 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. A traditional iconography is married with the modern, the contemporaneity, to originate contrasts and shortcuts; the archaic and contemporary setting of the religious celebration shows the contradictions of a world where Saint Agatha’s martyrdom symbolises a more universal martyrdom of human types and ideals.
While the performance has no ambition nor ability to “investigate all aspects…all angles…, from all perspectives” – like Aleph in Borges’ homonymous novel – it nonetheless aims to show whom we are, were and risk to become. The starting point is the mythological and historic figure of Saint Agatha, its religious and popular celebration, where fiction and devotion, love and fury, redemption and exploitation coexist and in which the individual blissfully looses itself in the mass.
Its mission: A. arises from the deeply felt need to deal with a series of crucial aspects of what living in a community and being part of it means; to investigate and eviscerate the feeling of belonging that a secularised and media-obsessed society expresses towards god, religion 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. The believer (Sicilian or not) is doomed to the paradox of publicly showing its mystical fervour and devotion as the only way to show its religious belief. In doing this, however, there is the risk of misrepresent or deny that very own belief. Re-mapping Sicily – a personal re-reading of Sicily through Zappalà’s unique artistic vocabulary – fails not to leave out popular belief, an aspect that permeates Sicily and Italy itself, becoming the key to understanding nearly everything; a series of actions that take on and summarise all the aspects of being part of a society.
choreography and direction: Roberto Zappalà | original music (performed live): Puccio Castrogiovanni (Lautari) | music: Dire Straits, Rosario Miraggio, Gustav Mahler, Burt Bacharach | dramaturgy: Nello Calabrò e Roberto Zappalà | set and light design: Roberto Zappalà | costume design: Marella Ferrera, Roberto Zappalà | script: Nello Calabrò | repeating assistant: Ilenia Romano | realization of scenes and costumes, assistant: Debora Privitera | dancers, interpreters and collaborators: Adriano Coletta, Maud de la Purification, Alain El Sakhawi, Roberto Provenzano, Salvatore Romania, Antoine Roux- Briffaud, Fernando Roldan Ferrer, Massimo Trombetta | music performers: Lautari: Giovanni Allegra (bass), Puccio Castrogiovanni, (strings, marranzani and accordion), Salvo Farruggio (percussions), Peppe Nicotra (guitars) | video – direction: Nello Calabrò e Roberto Zappalà | interpreter: Carmen Consoli | technical director: Sammy Torrisi | sound engineer: Gaetano Leonardi | production director and tour manager: Maria Inguscio | co-production: Scenario Pubblico/CZD e Teatro Stabile di Catania | in collaboration with: Festival MilanOltre | with the support of: MiBAC e Regione Siciliana Ass.to del Turismo, Sport e Spettacolo