is a solo of girl:
she is born in a transparent sphere
and she flights suspended
She is the soul, created by God
with free will to choice good or bad,
heavens or earth.
What makes the world of the Purgatory different from the one of Hell
is its strong mystical connotation and natural mode of representation.
The passage from day to night marks the rhythm of the otherwordly voyage,
inserting elements of human daily life.
The figures populating the second Cantica are portrayed in natural situations,
in which the the character’s psychological features are stressed.
Dialogues are marked by delicacy of sentiments and elegance of intellectual themes,
inserted in the courteous environment of the time.
Theological issues intertwine with political ones by way of philosophical mediation.
Settings are strongly allegorical, like many a character.
Every scene of the work is constructed with attentive details -cloths,
objects- always possessing a strong spiritual connotation.
Our reading of the second stage of Dante’s spiritual ascent
is then founded on the representation of a world which is
delicate (white, soft, semitransparent cloths)
but concrete (everyday life represented by stairs, doors, etc.) and highly symbolical.
If in Hell the space of the damned was empty,
architecturally built around the naked bodies of the dancers, …
… in the second Cantica it is full of objects: giant balls, large flying skirts.
Costumes rise, hence, to play a crucial role in the show.
Their function is not just one of visual enrichment:
they are endowed with a strong conceptual value,
because they “indicate” characters,
manifesting their civic and social role or allegorical dimension.
In other words, they characterise the stage, configuring its context.
The stage outfit is an instrument which adds to the the body,
a prosthesis allowing the homo faber
an empowered action on and in the world.
Man’s condition in the second Cantica is no more that of the damned,
reduced to its primitive fundamentals,
human being begotten in raw nature and brought back to it.
What we have in the second Cantica is the civilised,
socially integrated, superstructured man.
If in Hell choreographies developed the overall vision of bodies
with the purpose of creating human architectures
and evoke medieval spatial geometries, …
… what comes to the fore in the second Cantica
is the dimension of the single dancer as an actual character.
Every individual, beside being enriched by costumes,
expresses itself with great dramatic power,
concentrating on faces and mainly realised in the control
of the upper section of the bust.
The choreographies of arms, in particular,
bestow great expression to the bodies
and identify the characters with force and rhythm.
The second Cantica represents an evolutionary step
in the spiritual ascent of the medieval religious man,
whose path is accompanied by the music of medieval masses,
by courteous songs and poems and by the sacred choirs’ voices.
Through a sound-track composed of classical and contemporary music
we attempted to reproduce in a modern key
the delicacy and complexity of these atmosphere.
The introduction is a solo of girl:
she is born in a trasparent sphere and she flights suspended inside there.
She is the soul, created by God with free will
to choice good or bad, heavens or earth.
The ethics, in Purgatory, has a fundamental role
of link between man and God.
The medieval society, in Dante’s mind,
do not represent simply the human community,
but it is the results of a divine project.
The man is a mere tool.
Neverthless, the single man is an active creature,
thanks to his free will,
and his choices has an impact on the entire society.
The more that you go up in social hierarchy,
the more the personal actions has social and historical importance.
The ethical good coincide with the Absolute Good.
The first scene goes on this theme.
Scene II – p. 1/2
The “anima semplicetta” (the simple soul) is embodied.
The scene begins with the solo of the dancer
who plays with the sphere and follows a “passo a due”
with two boys involved in the same action.
The game with sphere means to play with good:
it represents through a transposition, a ludic analogy
for the moral and philosophical dynamic
that is implied in the ethic framework of the Purgatory.
Depending on how the ball is used, accepted or rejected,
offered or stoled and we have the representation / implementation
of human dispositions according to the dantean trces.
We represent the linguistic game according the ludic analogy.
The music is soft and tender: a piano solo of Satie (Gymnopedy n°1)
Scene II – p.2/2
An entrance to bridge, as in the Hell:
a door to cross over with the assistance of a series of allegorical female
characters and through symbolic rites.
The white frame of a door hanging in the empty space:
a painting with blank canvas.
Inside, angels appear and disappear, by forming symbolic figures
(including the P of Peccato, eg Sin..).
Dante himself appears and disappears and leaving room for new characters:
Matilda, S. Lucia, and metamorphic figures drawn from dantean visions.
They divide symmetrically the painting, like a playing card, a card of the Tarot.
The music is simply an enchanting voice of a woman.
Adam and Eve are central characters of Christianity
and of the dantean theology described in Purgatory.
They represent the first sin, eg. the beginning of human history,
the beginning of every sin ….
Adam is asleep beside the tree of Good.
Eve is created from Adam’s body like a shadow that materializes itself;
intrigued, she approaches the barren tree, the arid and the parched tree.
They play: a sensual solo that leads into a magical flowering of the tree.
The bloom represent the spring of the man through the woman,
the knowledge of the world that makes man a privileged being,
but at the same time condemned to survive in this world.
Adam wakes up, reaches Eve: she flees and he picks a flower
that falls from the tree. Eve is back, and comes close to Adam:
the gift of the flower is accepted. She is not the salving woman now,
but the sensual and loving protagonist of the Song of Songs.
In the following duet, the original sin is represented in the sexual act
that will lead them to ascend into the sky and then fall to the ground, in sin.
The original sin coincides with the sex,
according common contemporary references.
Music by Debussy, A pres midi.
Politics is a recurring theme of Purgatory from the valley of reluctant
and inept princes in the antipurgatory to the prophetic allegory of the last canto;
politics is the key for interpreting all sins and sinners.
Every personal negative action harms the community.
The personal ethics is inextricably linked
to the construction / destruction of the Polis.
In this context we represent the arrogance and cruelty of the politicians,
without any ethics, used to work for the evil pleasure
of their interests against the general interests.
The symbol of the political evil is a woman:
a giant, black, baroque figure.
She dominates the weak and humble figure of the commoner,
a puppet whose fate hangs by a thread,
as in the disproportionates characters of the medieval depictions…
the scene ends with the disconsolate words of the poet.
Music by Die Zueberflöte of Mozart,
the scene is the topic of the evil:
the Queen of the night in Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen.
The purgatorial mountain is divided into seven circles
representing the 7 deadly sins.
The punishments follow the rule of retaliation.
The purification instead claims different dynamics from the penance:
it deals with the education of the soul.
Six dancers, inspired by dantean exempla and by tableaux vivants
grounded in ancient history, in mythology and in the Bible,
construct and melt with their bodies seven giant figures
for seven times in representing the 7 deadly sins.
The rock on the shoulders of Sisyphus represents the prouds:
the bodies dissolve their figures
and recombine to form the A of Avarizia (Greed),
then turn into a great eye to symbolize the Envy.
The following scenes ormed by the bodies of the dancers
represent the tree of the gluttons, the penalty in the air of the slothful,
tied for punishment, the triggering of a rabid irascible trapped
between the bodies of the dancers
and finally the birth of the flame of the lustful.
The music follows the transformation of the figures
with a circular and haunting rhythm.
The dantean political discourse reaches its climax
with the description of the italian situation.
A dancer with tutu is Italy, following the textual metaphor:
the country is described by Dante as a young girl
in the hands of corrupted politicians,
symbolized by rapacious monsters and killers.
The inexperienced young girl, among lascivious criminals
and avid murderers, will fall into the arms of monsters
with white masks (the politicians): they will rape the miss,
leaving bare on the ground.
The scene ends with the famous words of the Poet (voiceover):
VI 76-78 Ahi serva Italia, di dolore ostello,
nave sanza nocchiere in gran tempesta,
non donna di provincie, ma bordello!
The initial choreographic moves,
parodies of the academical movements,
contrasts with the scene.
Plyaful allegro of Gazza Ladra (Rossini).
The last circle of Purgatory is the purgatorial fire.
It is a central theme of the medieval imagery,
related to the famous Pauline verses (1 Corinthians 3.11 to 15).
Dante puts this images at the end of the path of purification,
representing it as a real ordeal, according Paul.
At the same time the flames have a metaphysical value
in which the physical element is transformed, by analogy,
in the dynamics of feelings:
the flame purifies, the flame is ethereal and subtle
as well the characters that Dante encounters, close to him
for their delicate intellectual thoughts and their poetical feelings,.
This complex view is summarized in the show by a bright white fabric “sea”,
in which the naked bodies of the dancers swim.
The scene is introduced by a large living tear drop,
made up of a shiny falling fabric and then melted,
by the body of a crying woman, in the fire-matter.
The music is taken from the Rite of Spring of Stravinskj.
The final circle concentrates a variety of central dantean themes
that was not possible to summarize in a single framework.
Dante meets here the major poets both of the ancient era and contemporary
to him and discusses with the state of the art of the poetry.
He enhances the Stil Novo, considering himself the founder;
recalls the great season of the Provençal troubadour poetry and mourns,
for his exile, the courtly world of his youth and
emphasizes the erotic atmosphere.
We wanted to represent these contradictory feelings of regret
of the joyful past world and of creative ecstasy:
we have created a scene divided in playful moments
and meditative moments, group scenes and solitude.
Dante appears with a feather in hand, dressed as a naked body
with his texts sketched on flesh:
the body is tattooed because he embodies the writing.
The plume prevails over Dante and commands him:
the gods, or God, speak and the poet is only a medium.
This is a classic theme often repeated by Dante throughout the work.
A girl become visible. Dante runs to hug her but the vision
is fluctuating and crosses over.
Scene IX – p.1/2
We not only wanted to recall a famous passage in the Divine Comedy,
but we wanted to imagine and represent the theory of physical souls described by Dante.
The souls in Purgatory are immaterial but the same Dante’s body can act
miraculously in time and space.
So he vanishes and then reappears on a ladder.
The girl approaches Dante, the embrace is now real as well their bodies.
We do not know whether this is a memory or a dream:
the two levels are confused. They play each other creating a circus situation:
he wants to remember the playful poet’s youth.
The game is over and the girl goes away.
Dante is just playing alone, with the ladder as a tool.
It’s an athletic game, paradoxically reflective and solitary,
who wants to analogically reproduce the flights of fancy
and the intellectual exercises of the poet as a young man,
the effort of studies and the loneliness of the man of letters
but also the enthusiasm and the incredible vitality of ideas.
The music is composed by a mix taken from Monteverdi’s Orfeo
with intervals of a renaissance guitar accompanied
by the soft voice of a woman who plays the famous poem
in honor of the langue d’oc Provençal poet Arnaut Daniel
Scene IX – p.2/2
We are at the end of the journey of Dante in Purgatory.
It a laborious and at the same time easy ascent.
The laws of purgatorial physics impose precise rhythms.
A path that was shut down every night and resumed every morning,
according to the laws governing the Dante’s Purgatory.
Dante has traveled the road in a few days but that road measures centuries
for each penitent and every repentance.
The groupes are circular and finished routes;
Dante runs quickly while the penitent complete their journey in a very long time.
The purgatorial physical has specific rules and that do not correspond
with the terrestrial one.
The strength of the spirit overcomes the gravitational force.
This straight road that has a beginning and an end;
at the same time it runs in eons, in a circular and repetitive rhythm.
Scene X – p.1/2
The road was represented by reproducing a famous image of Escher.
4 scales in front of us intersected in the air.
4 dancers walk the stairs in every sense,
both ascending and descending, straight or upside down, against the force of gravity.
The top and bottom are eliminated.
The symbolic gestures of the dancers represent the steps of the path
of repentance, according to a syncopated choreography of the arms.
The silence falls, in the middle of the scene and a thunder explodes.
Lights out, the dancers jump away and disappear.
This is an invention grounded in the extraordinary dantean imagination
it happens every time a soul is purified
and changed from one group to the next.
The music is from Bach, and is a perfectly circular geometry.
This is the famous Concerto in D BWV 1052 for harpsichord and orchestra.
Scene X – p.2/2
When Dante crosses the threshold of Eden meets a mysterious girl:
the incarnation of Nature, as the most scholars says.
It seems that this scene has inspired Botticelli’s Primavera.
The harms and hands of the dancers multiplied by mirrors turn into flowers
from which blooms living human heads.
Nature appears and walks among the flowers.
The human heads are closed again and the flowers fade.
We will see a living tree made with the bodies of the dancers.
The deity of Nature plays with the living tree which moves at his every move.
The tree magically turns into a flock of birds flying away.
Nature is transformed into a large flower flying hovering in the air.
The music shows explicitly the theme: Vivaldi, Primavera
the second concerning the Apocalypse of John,
and the prophecy of Ezekiel, political key against the church and the empire.
We have divided the two allegories in two parts.
In this first part we’ll see a visionary procession, perhaps real, perhaps a dream,
where are symbolic figures (dancing girls, candlesticks, etc..).
The scene begins with a melanchonic moment related to the theme of exile
VIII 1-6 Era già l’ora che volge il disio/ai navicanti e ‘ntenerisce il core/
lo dì c’ han detto ai dolci amici addio/e che lo novo peregrin d’amore/
punge, se ode squilla di lontano/che paia il giorno pianger che si more.
A necessary step, for the dramaturgical point of view,
to enter in mystical dimension and to underline
the subjective horizon of the allergorical visions.
IX 12-19 Ne l’ora che comincia i tristi lai/
la rondinella presso a la mattina,/
forse a memoria de’ suo’ primi guai, /
Scene XII – p.1/2
e che la mente nostra, peregrina/
più da la carne e men da’ pensier presa,/
a le sue visïon quasi è divina.
The scene proceeds with Dante and his shadow, his double.
Dante looks in the mirror and its identity is constantly
changing into male and female gender.
Finally is transformed into a woman with ghostly appearances.
The figure of the woman is dominant in Purgatory
and the allegorical female characters are a common thread
throughout the poem: the Woman represent the main interlocutor of the protagonist.
The ecstasy of Dante is represented by a fainting
(as well in the Hell. In Purgatory it becomes recurrent).
The female figure has its own life and chages constantly.
She is surrounded by silhouette figures that make up each time a series of symbolic images
(a throne, multi winged figures, animal figures with multiple heads,
a candelabrum with seven branches, and finally a human figure with multiple arms and legs).
The music chosen is taken from Waltz sad Sybelius
Scene XII – 2/2
The time in Purgatory governs the alternance of the days for the souls
(in Hell, eternally similar to himself into a timeless dimension, is inconceivable)
If Hell is denied the light, in Purgatory the day and the night marked
the life of the damned: the passing day as every sunset
are steps in the journey toward purity of soul.
Purgatory is geographically described by astral coordinates
and time warps are indicated by the movement of the stars.
Astrology was the science of that time.
Every step of Dante in Purgatory is marked by a celestial configuration
and his acts are influenced by the stars.
The astrological themes are therefore the focus of this framework.
Scene XIII – p.1/2
There is Dante in the scene. At the dawn.
A solo of a dancer marks the passing of time and the approach of the evening.
The daylight dies and the sunset magically born
from his hands together with stars, that fly in the sky.
Dante plays with the celestial bodies,
he commands over the stars to form patterns in the sky.
The will of the man has a power over his fate.
Sometimes the stars seem to overcome the human will,
‘entering’ in the human body to determine the character
(as astral melotesia, so each point of the body
is placed under the action of a star, planet, star sign).
Dante faints again. The stars come out from his body
and floating in the sky forming the constellation of the Dipper.
Scene XIII – p.2/2
Allegory is the last scene,
maybe the most intricated, as Dante himself says:
The interpretations of the final allegory of Purgatory
are not all in agreement,
but surely we must confront with the following themes:
the confusion between Church and temporal order harms the worlds;
the Church is corrupted,
Christ is denied and Satan is ready to win.
The theatrical painting reproduce,
through allegory of the ritual feast, dantean themes and symbols
with contemporary taste.
Scene XIV – p.1/4
It unveils a baroque stage
formed by a center table suspended in the air:
at its extremities, respectively,
a man (the emperor, the temporal power)
and a woman (the Church),
richly adorned with semi transparent sculpture-skirts.
They wear white masks as symbol of dissimulation.
A sensual woman
(the prostitute, symbol of corrupted Church) appears.
The eaters try to catch her:
she is the element who connect themselves
in their common filthly desires.
Steaming mad, they leap over the table, outside their clothes.
Scene XIV – p.2/4
The vision disappears
and they wrap back in acrobacy in cocoon.
A priest (the Spiritual church) become visible, invoking their resurgence
and the presence of Christ.
It is the last chance of redemption.
The eaters are launched on the table
and they drive away Christ and the priest.
The man and the woman change their seats.
The woman jumps on the back
and returns to the table as curvy fox
(allegorical beast symbol of the secularized Church);
the man jumps and flights with eagle wings
(symbol of the imperial power).
Scene XIV – p.3/4
The exchange of places seals the communion,
the unholy marriage between the Empire and the Papacy
The priest returns and order to rotate positions.
The sculpture-skirts and the table
compose the mystical figure of the mystical wagon,
on which travel the old church, the spiritual church and the emperor.
The priest invokes the heavens:
a tentacular monster, formed from the bodies
of naked dancers intertwined and suspended in the air, appears.
Satan has come. Is the end of the world.
The prophecy was fulfilled.
The scene is stopped with a last living painting.
The music emphasize the religious theme: is the St. Matthew Passion of Bach
Scene XIV -p.4/4
CHOREOGRAPHIES AND SCENES
EMILIANO PELLISARI E MARIANA PORCEDDU
RIELABORAION/MIX: RICCARDO MAGNI, EMILIANO PELLISARI
MUSICL CONSULTANTS: DOMENICO BULLA, EL SANDER, LORENZO TOZZI
LAURA AMADEI, CARLA ORTENZI E MARION CHIRIS
NOEMI WOLFSDORF, EMILIANO PELLISARI, YARI MOLINARI
TOOLS OF SCENE