by Flavia Mastrella, Antonio Rezza
with Antonio Rezza
and Ivan Bellavista and Giorgio Gerardi
habitat: Flavia Mastrella
(never) written by Antonio Rezza
freely associated with Manuale di zoologia fantastica by J.L. Borges and M. Guerrero
collaboration to the inspiration and direction : Massimo Camilli
lighting design: Mattia Vigo
(lighting design: Maria Pastore, 2006)
organization: Stefania Saltarelli
photographic documentation: Stefania Saltarelli
stagehand: Andrea Zanarini
Sartoria Silvana Ciofoli
TSI La Fabbrica dell’Attore Teatro Vascello
press office: Chiara Crupi
comunication web: Silvia Vecchini
Three prologues, one body
A man lying down substituting the tyrant. And giving way to God’s athlete doing acrobatics on the bars with the arms of desperation. And then a midget, shorter than his ambitions, using the dark to do and the light to say. Meanwhile someone falls from high their feet piercing his throat.
And thus the figurative reality of the victims of poor consumption, characterised by the absence of abstraction, with the boss’s palm greased by the authority of money.
But Bahamuth, the supreme being, appears and after a brief appearance he escapes time and judgement. While the merchandise blends with bodies chopped to bits. Bits of man still to be born but already sacrificed to the constituted meanness. And travellers of the soul with weary bodies, residing like animals to copulate in the great hotel of mutilated flesh. Meanwhile the parades of vanity on bodies lame and deceased.
And a friend who speaks without voice and hears without ears. But the sense of life is met only in the infinite where man ends up like the goat to be slaughtered. Pimples and depressions sadly combined with drinks that freeze words in the throat. But the rush to dress the naked, worm-like body leaves the pilgrim no respite, while the arms of the boss, camouflaged as a proletariat, jump to the rhythm of a classy dance. And the clock always strikes the hour when a castrated sparrow appears shouting its costernation in the form of a cuckoo, to then return diligently back into time’s snare. Edicts in favour of those who have not. Shuddering screams by those who are not. Shouting like Indians, shouting that is not understood because no-one wants to understand. But just as Bahamuth sustains the world, so the images overlap. And the grand finale, with characters playing the part of dogsbody while the author who moves them is the hierarch with the forked tongue. The author is the evil of the piece.
From toy to Bahamuth
In a lightly outlined box, a man goes through the agony which is to bring him a new life made up of tribal regurgitations and past stories, polluted by contemporary issues.
It took two years to conceive the scenic space. I conceived the box and the other sculptoral elements for the staging of Bahamuth imagining a large toy, developing the idea of pocket sculptures* ( a research into microsculpture that I’ve been working on since 2004).
The set consists of few elements – the pink dress, in cloth and metal, depersonalizes the matter man, giving life to an anthropomorphic character who moves about on the stage with the charisma of a mythological being inclined towards conservative issues.
The flight is an element similar to an enlarged fan, light blue and orange cloth and wood: the sculpture cannot take off for spacial reasons and becomes an aesthetic component, emblematic of ignored potential…. the changing scenes fragment the reciting body which multiplies through movement and tells of a contaminated self, exhaustingly reactive.
The objects are reduced to a minimum…Bahamuth lives on atmosphere and doesn’t consider as toys the tinsel and glitter that humanise the situation, directing perception towards an easy comprehension.
The box, a toy of metal, wood, green material and air, determines a formal bond provoking the urbanisation of the space composed of levels of air, defined by straight lines that are rarely parallel. The fluorescent yellow of the poles, the disproportionate dimensions, the distorted equilibrium ratio, give the man of gold who lives in this environment the possibility to exhaust himself in his immobility and then to stretch himself and jump beside the two blue boys, intended as dynamic elements.
The two youngsters set in motion the structure’s mechanical possibilities, rotating the light, fluttering wings that close the box and busying themselves around the bundle man, entering the scene and breaking up the solitude of the protagonist and the static nature of the sculpture.
The box, a threadlike element with a bizzarre equilibrium, has just an illusion of closure; it’s vibrant in space and, above all, dependent on human stimulus. Antonio set out from the immobility of a lying man. The story of the show is in the rhythm: the steps, the phrases, the narrated fragments, are held together by the body-word. The succession of events is a construction created using the rules of cinematographic editing; Bahamuth takes place in an external-internal space which wears out the perception of time and re-sets it. The dramaturgical sequence is constructed by relating fragments of stories to the movements and sonic rhythms of the word recited while running. The word-body-space triad appears as forked, at times synthetic and metaphoric and in other moments extremely representative. The succession of events in the toy setting deviates the perception of reality through the persuasive image.
The scenic set of BAHAMUTH is as quick to set up as Pitecus, IO and Fotofinish.
Cloth and metal are the materials that respond best to my needs of lightness.
In Bahamuth I have also put some elements of wood to strengthen the stability of the box.
This innovation in material has been great fun and was necessary in order for the shape of the toy to emerge with all its zest.
The space-eating structure and the staging of the show’s setting, are for me two opportunities that I discovered in 2003 with the birth of Fotofinish.
Bahamuth has enabled me to develop these two intuitions, but while I used to speak of linear extension I am now looking at the spatial capacity of the single sculptural element.
*the pocket sculptures are matter barely hinted at, composed with the criteria of the sea… with irony. They speak a language coded in details and distorted in size.
As a body I thought
As far as the flesh is concerned I thought I knew myself. Instead I still surprise myself as to how the mind sends the body to suffer and then holes up once more in the facility of thinking.
For a long time I’ve moved with my limbs, wearing myself out, so I should have understood the nature of suffering. But in the case of Bahamuth I discovered that our internal organs have a vital awareness if they are subjected to a jerky, vertical pace. In previous works my gait was slow in its difficult harmony and then fast in the circular, incessant oscillating. But that which in-ceases hardly ever de-ceases; I mean, any flesh with bones attached will become accustomed if well trained. And so, after “Fotofinish” I was sure I had reached the maximum of movement. Creating something more strenuous was hard work and not very intelligent.
But in the box I forbade myself the sideways runs from the start. Flavia Mastrella’s setting suggested hazardous solutions. And I began to make my body into an absolute vertical, with progressive standing jumps that give rhthym to my guts. And I perceive that while performing. I can feel my heart strained and my spleen becoming tender, my stomach in a turmoil but by no means offended by a task that’s not its own. In short, I sense a body that is different, subjected to vertical traction that exalts not the lengthening of life but at least that of all my limbs. And I’m still surprised by how, while the body comes to an end, the mind compels it in unhoped-for, vigourous spasms. And that’s why thought is inferior.
As a shout I heard
Adding shouting as the sound constitutes the new ear of a show made only for eyes. The privelege of those who see is the not understanding what another does. Words help in the squalor of standard comprehension. The shouting makes music without hands. The throat is not played with fingers unless you want to suffocate. And no shout can be reached by hands, or pulled out and shown to those who are watching. In short, with shouting the gallows are shortened. But this sounds like the pessimistic attitude of one who doesn’t love life enough. Yet no, it’s not – I love doing what cannot be understood. In this latest work the shouts unify the whole words: the shouts are made only of elongated vowels that surround the prey that is the concept, sending it to die in the head of the ignorant who are slow in understanding. I am my drum and I play myself at my rhythm.