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#PlayBack: "Acqua di Colonia" by Frosini-Timpano Theatre Company




Today we are launching a new review that will keep us company over the next few months, #PlayBack: it’s the first review dedicated to Contemporary Italian Theatre, and has been inspired by the theatre company of the first show we will present to you, the Frosini-Timpano Theatrical Company.

From Monday 4 May, for a month, we will present the show Acqua di Colonia by the Theatre Company Frosini-Timpano.

“Are we Colonialists? Have we ever been? What do we know about colonialism? And what has it got to do with us? And now, what are we exactly?

A performance about Colonialism: ‘Acqua di Colonia’ deals with the theme of Italian colonialism, challenging the dominant ideology with stage-writing capable of describing the present by plunging roots into the historical fabric of Italian society. Italian colonialism began in the 19th century and continued for more than 60 years, although commonly believed only to have lasted the five years under Fascist government. A series of buried events still affect the way we see the world today, insinuating themselves in sayings, figures of speech, songs, literature and even comic books and cartoons.

It’s water under the bridge, toilet water, what’s it got to do with today? And yet it has stuck to us like fly paper, through proverbs and commonplaces, through our own vision. Seen from Italy, Africa looks all the same to us, abstract and mysterious just as we imagined it in the 1800s; Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia are names, not real countries, and any way “we” have nothing to do with “them”.

How did we and do we continue to represent Africa? Somalia, Libya, Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Italian ex-colonies, are just a mass of oases, all the same, scattered over a huge desert? How can we relate to the strangers knocking on Europe’s doors if we know so little about them? Starting with the much-abused and misunderstood myth of a Pier Paolo Pasolini “à la mode”, Frosini/Timpano flood the stage with historical facts, documents and contemporary myths, shattering the (already fragile) utopia of a post-racial society. Just as during colonialism, Italians saw Africa as just a concept, or a pure abstraction, today the duo tells us that: “The refugees, the immigrants, who we see around us, on the bus, on the street, are abstract, images, bodies, unreal realities: we can’t manage to justify them in our present”. The aftereffects of colonialism appear to us: “Like an old, incomprehensible nightmare coming back, crushing us like a millstone”.


Text, Direction, Interpretation / Elvira Frosini, Daniele Timpano
Advice / Igiaba Scego
Voice of the child Unicef / Sandro Lombardi
Assistant director, Dramaturgy / Francesca Blancato
Scenes, Costumes / Alessandra Muschella, Daniela De Blasio
Lighting Design / Omar Scala
A show by Frosini / Timpano
Production / Accademia degli Artefatti, Kataklisma teatro
Productive contribution / Romaeuropa Festival, Teatro della Tosse
With the support of Armunia Festival Inequilibrio
Thanks to Teatro di Roma
Graphic design © Valentina Pastorino

Elvira Frosini and Daniele Timpano are authors, directors and actors of the Italian contemporary scene who share since 2008 a common artistic path. In the several works produced in recent years, Frosini/Timpano bring to the stage their bodies that defuse, deconstruct and embody the narratives of history, analyzing the anthropological drifts of society from a vast material of various references, from academic to popular, which constitute the contemporary imagination and consciousness. Their texts bring to the stage a complex theatrical mechanism in which the actors authors are always in dialogue with the public and in the balance between the incarnation of characters, contemporary and cultural mythologies, topoi of History, and the simple being on the scene putting into play their perturbing relationship with History and culture, in a game of disorienting slides that desecrate all rhetoric without making discounts, not even to themselves. "Our dialogue with the audience is based on coexistence with the spectators, on what we share with you, here, today: the same hypocrisy, the same clichés, the same fears, the same neurosis, the same fate".

Their works have been performed in many theatres and festivals in Italy and abroad, among others: Romaeuropa Festival, Teatro Argentina in Rome, Teatro Metastasio in Prato, Teatro Elfo Puccini in Milan, Bassano Opera Estate/Festival B.Motion, Festival Inequilibrio/Armunia in Castiglioncello (Li), Teatro della Tosse in Genoa, Festival delle Colline Torinesi in Naples, Teatro Bellini in Naples, Teatro Biondo in Palermo, Festival Short Theatre Roma, "Face a Face" / Theatre de la Ville Paris, La Nuit Blanche in Paris.
Several works have been published by various editors and have been finalists and winners of many awards: Dux in scatola (2006) was a finalist in the Scenario and Vertigo Awards, published by Coniglio in 2006 and Hystrio in 2008. Reperto#01 (2006) was a finalist at the VDA Prize in 2006. Sì l'ammore no (2009) was a finalist at the Dante Cappelletti/ Prize. Dux in scatola, Risorgimento Pop (written with M. Andreoli) and Aldo morto make up a trilogy published by Titivillus in 2012 with the title Storia cadaverica d'Italia (Cadaveric history of Italy) and were translated and presented in Paris for Face à Face. The play Aldo morto was nominated for the Ubu Prize in 2012 as the best dramaturgical news, won the Critical Network Award 2012 and was republished by Cue Press in 2018, as well as being represented in France by director and actor David Lescot. Acqua di colonia (2016) was published by Cue Press, was a finalist in the 2017 Ubu Prize for Best Dramaturgy, Eurodram selection 2018 and was broadcast on Radio 3 RAI. The text Ottantanove received the Special Mention "Franco Quadri" as part of the Riccione Prize 2019.
Other shows include: Buffet (2007), Ecce robot! (2007), Zombitudine (2013, published by Cue Press in 2019), Carne, written by F. M. Franceschelli (2016), Gli sposi romanian tragedy, written by David Lescot, realized within the European project Fabulamund i. Playwriting Europe (2018) and finalist at the Ubu Prize 2019 as best foreign text. Frosini/Timpano have realized with the Teatro dell'Orologio in Rome and Fondazione Romaeuropa in 2013 the project Aldo morto 54 (54 days of replicas and auto reclusion of Daniele Timpano in streaming in a cell purposely reconstructed in a theatre similar to the one in which the Italian politician Aldo Moro was imprisoned). The project won the Nico Garrone Prize 2013.
They worked for Radio 3 RAI in the program "Rombi tuoni scoppi scrosci tonfi boati", made for the centenary of Italian Futurism, in "Diari di guerra", a series of readings for the centenary of the Great War, and for "Io vado via", readings from diaries dedicated in 2019 to the common traits of Italian emigration and immigration in Italy. In 2014 Rai5 made a documentary on them in the cycle "Roma: la nuova drammaturgia" (Rome: the new dramaturgy). In 2014 and 2015 they participated as authors and performers in the project "Ritratto di una capitale" by Antonio Calbi and Fabrizio Arcuri, realized by Teatro di Roma at Teatro Argentina.
For several years they have also been involved in training by holding their own theatre school in Rome and many workshops for actors and playwrights in Italy and abroad.



Date: Da Monday, May 04, 2020 a Sunday, June 14, 2020

Organized by : IIC Melbourne

Entrance : Free


IIC Melbourne