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#PlayBack: "Vangelo" by Pippo Delbono




conceived and directed by Pippo Delbono


Pippo Delbono / / Vangelo (2016) from Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione on Vimeo.


Pippo Delbono has been experimenting on stage for many years now, exploring the fertile ground between public and personal, between autobiography and history, shaping works that stand out on the international scene for their originality. Vangelo (Gospel) marks a further step along this path.
In recent years, his experimentation has developed into an unusual form of musical performance: an investigation into voice and words which has taken Delbono to meet musicians such as Enzo Avitabile, Alexander Balanescu, Petra Magoni, Antoine Bataille and Piero Corso. Together with these artists, he has created performances and concerts that tour in parallel to the Delbono group's repertory productions.
His research delves into creation of a new personal language in cinema, and the commitment already revealed in his films (Amore Carne, Sangue, La Visite, Vangelo) can also be found in his more recent productions, Dopo la Battaglia, Orchidee and Vangelo, which are strongly influenced by this musical and cinematographic exploration. Vangelo is a choral work, which began as a contemporary opera: it first took shape in Zagreb, performed by the orchestra, choir, dancers and actors at the Croatian National Theatre together with the acting company that has been working with Pippo Delbono for many years.
Vangelo takes its cue from the atmospheres of Enzo Avitabile’s music. It is rich in poetic overtones but also markedly reveals the memories of its Croatian performers who lived through the traumatic events of a cruel war that has reshaped the history, places and boundaries of their native land. Boundaries that even during the creation of Vangelo were shaken by the arrival of ten thousand men, women and children desperately seeking a Promised Land.
More than a theatre group, Pippo Delbono's company is a wandering community that has been creating a new language for the stage and for life, or rather, for that inextricable knot between art and life that only a few have the courage to tackle. This group of artists, which includes Delbono himself, is made up of people who first and foremost share a similar nature, in continuous precariousness where loneliness and isolation are prominent, and who have gravitated towards the theatre for its great scope for sharing.
Pippo Delbono's theatre life, which is both aware and unpredictable, draws vital energy from the experiences he has tasted with Odin Teatret and Pina Bausch, and from studying oriental disciplines.
Yet his true edge comes from avoiding rules and methods in order to instil a new level of honesty − that of feeling. A way of feeling governed by introducing distance, so that his theatre pieces emerge from stumblings, from feverish interpretations, from dreams. And they feed on mutual listening, improvisation, exploration of personal experience. This is the weft into which Delbono inserts – either dagger-like or as if they were delicate flowers – texts that are often well-known, thus generating new origins.
Words reveal themselves like chasms through dance, they echo in silence, in a mute gesture. Instead, the dance measures space and sparks the rhythm that permeates it. Emptiness then concludes the text’s boldness, its courage. This is how physical dramaturgies take shape, where ‘bodies without lies’ write and where the codes of dance and theatre intertwine without losing fluidity. A fundamental role is played by music, whose absorbing grip transports onlookers away from their reality, to a disarmed state. Similar theatre precedents do not exist, and copying is not feasible. Delbono’s act of creativity is unique, effected through ‘reverse’ movement: he takes life, its fullness and its redundancy; he undresses life, throws it into disarray and plumbs it until he finds the crux of beauty hidden within its darkest parts. And then he looks at this, fearlessly. And it is always an act of resisting death.

With: Gianluca Ballarè, Bobò, Margherita Clemente, Pippo Delbono, Ilaria Distante, Simone Goggiano,
Mario Intruglio, Nelson Lariccia, Gianni Parenti, Alma Prica, Pepe Robledo, Grazia Spinella, Nina Violić, Safi Zakria, Mirta Zečević
with the participation - in the films - of the refugees of PIAM reception centre in Asti (Italy)
Images and films Pippo Delbono
Original digital soundtrack for orchestra and polyphonic choir Enzo Avitabile
Set Claude Santerre
Costumes Antonella Cannarozzi
Lighting designer Fabio Sajiz
Set and costume workshops Hrvatsko Narodno Kazalište- Zagabria (Croatia)
Photos: Luca Del Pia

Pippo Delbono, author, actor, and director, was born in Varazze in 1959. He begins training in traditional theatre, then, in Denmark, he studies the principles of oriental theatre, through a rigorous work on body and voice. Later, in Germany, he’s invited by Pina Bausch to follow her work.
At the beginning of the 1980s he founded Pippo Delbono Company, creating most of his works with this group, from Il tempo degli assassini (1987) to Vangelo (2015). He does not stage plays but, rather, total creations, devised with a stable group of actors whose number has grown through the years.
The encounter with socially rejected people determines a turning point in his poetical research: that’s how Barboni (1997) was born. Some of these actors – among them Bobò, deaf-mute, who had been kept in an asylum in Aversa, near Naples, for forty-five years – have kept working with the company and are still a central part of this experience. The works that followed – La rabbia dedicated to Pasolini, Guerra, Esodo, Gente di plastica, Urlo, Il silenzio, Questo buio feroce, La menzogna, Racconti di giugno, Orchidee – like the ones before- have been performed worldwide in more than fifty countries, in theatres and festivals, including Festival d’Avignon (where almost all of the company’s creations were presented), Barcelona’s Grec, Theater Spektakel in Zurich, Venice Biennale, Wienerfestwochen in Wien etc. Several theatres, including Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris, have shown retrospectives of his work and co-produced his creations in the past years and every year present the new works of the company. Enrico V – his only creation based on an existing play – is the only Italian production of Shakespeare that has ever been invited to perform at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Pippo Delbono has also been investigating the language of film for many years now. In 2003, following a tour in Israel and Palestine, he shot Guerra, presented at the Venice International Film Festival and winner of the David di Donatello award as best documentary. His second film, Grido (2006), has been shown at the Rome International Film Festival and won the award as best interpretation for Delbono and Bobò at cinema Festival of Reel in Lecce.
In 2009 he directs La paura filmed entirely with a cellular phone, transferred to film by Bologna Cinematheque and presented in the official selection at the 2009 Locarno Film Festival, alongside a retrospective of his work, including film versions of Il silenzio and Questo buio feroce. In June 2013 his film Amore carne, (grand prize at the Nyon Film Festival, in Switzerland in 2011), was distributed in Italy and France, after a preview at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in 2011, in the section Orizzonti. It has been reviewed by Le Monde between the best films of the year 2011. His short film Blu Sofa, co-directed with Lara Fremder and Giuseppe Baresi, was awarded the grand prize at the Clermont Ferrand festival.
Sangue was the only Italian movie presented at the 66th Festival of Locarno in August 2013, where it won the International Federation of Film Societies award, at Lisboa Doc Festival where it won the Honorable Mention and at the Zagreb Film Festival where it won the Grand Prize of the audience. The short film La Visite with Michael Lonsdale and Bobò, completely shot in Versailles for the Ministry of French Culture, has been presented at the International Days of Films on Art at Louvre (Paris) in 2016 and won the most important awards at Cinema Festival of Reel in Lisboa and in Rio de Janeiro.
The Rochelle Festival has dedicated in 2014 an homage to his cinema showing all his films and Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture for 2016, has presented the same retrospective in July 2016.
As an actor, he appears in Io sono l’amore by Luca Guadagnino, Io e te by Bernardo Bertolucci, Goltzius and the Pelican Company by Peter Greenaway, Henri by Yolande Moreau, Un Chateau en Italie by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Henri by Yolande Moreau, Pulce non c’è by Giuseppe Bonito, Transeurope hotel by Luigi Cinque, Cha Cha Cha by Marco Risi, Più bui di mezzanotte by Sebastiano Riso, Gli Uraniani by Gianni Gatti, United Passions by Frédéric Auburtin, Le ombre della sera by Valentina Esposito, La casa delle stati lontane by Shirel Amitay and others. For Teatro Sperimentale of Spoleto, he directed the opera Studio per obra maestra (2007), for Théâtre Wielski in Poznan (Poland) Don Giovanni (2014) and for the Teatro San Carlo of Naples, Cavalleria rusticana (2012) and Madama Butterfly (2014).
In 2011 he devised Rosso Bordeaux, presented at Place de la Comédie in Bordeaux as part of Evento, a festival directed by Michelangelo Pistoletto with the choir and the orchestra of the city and films projected on the walls of the palace on the square. In the same year, Residenztheater in Munich calls him as a guest director: Erpressung (blackmail) is the first creation with actors that are not part of his company. It premiered in Munich on January 14, 2012 and has become part of the theatre’s repertory.
With the violinist Alexander Balanescu he conceives the concert Amore carne, with the Italian singer Petra Magoni and the musician Ilaria Fantin Il Sangue, on Oedipus by Sofocle, with the singer from Naples Enzo Avitabile the concert Bestemmia d’amore, and La notte with texts from Francois and Bernard-Marie Koltès and François Koltès and with the guitarist PieroCorso.
He published Barboni – Pippo Delbono’s Theatre with Ubulibri. For Actes Sud editions he published Mon Theatre (published in Romania with the title “Teatrul Meu”), Récits de Juin and Regards. For the editor Les Solitaires Intempestifs Le Corps de L’Acteur; for Punto Aparte El teatro de la rabia; for Garzanti Racconti di giugno and for Barbès Corpi senza menzogna and Dopo la battaglia – poetical/ political writings; for Edizioni Clichy Sangue. Dialogo tra un artista buddista e un ex terrorista tornato in libertà and L’uomo caduto sulla terra; a lot of books have been written and published by other authors on his theatrical and cinematographic experience. He regularly publishes articles in different newspapers such as Liberazione and L’Humanité and magazines, such as Il Venerdì di Repubblica. He has been awarded, among other prizes, the special Ubu prize for Barboni, the Critic’s Prize for Guerra, the Olympic Prizes for Theatrical Innovation for Gente di plastica and Urlo, and in Wroclaw, Poland, in 2009, he received the Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities. The performance Dopo la battaglia, with the participation of the violinist Alexander Balanescu and the Paris Opera Étoile Marie-Agnès Gillot, won the 2011 Ubu prize as best play.
His creation Orchids premiered in May 2013 at Luciano Pavarotti Theatre in Modena as part of the 9th edition of VIE Festival and it’s still on tour in Italy and abroad. He presented at Maison Rouge in Paris, an important contemporary art gallery, his exposition Ma mère et les autres that will be presented at Beaubourg Centre Pompidou together with all his films.



Date: Da Monday, July 06, 2020 a Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Entrance : Free