LA MAMA TO PRESENT “FOLLIES IN TITUS,” INSPIRED BY SHAKESPEARE’S “TITUS ANDRONICUS,” DEVISED AND DIRECTED BY DARIO D’AMBROSI (PATHOLOGICAL THEATER), PERFORMED BY ACTORS WITH DISABILITIES FROM THE ENSEMBLE OF INTEGRATED THEATER OF THE EMOTIONS (ROME, ITALY), NOV. 30 TO DEC. 9
NEW YORK — In “Follies in Titus,” Italy’s Dario D’Ambrosi, originator of the theatrical movement called Teatro Patologico (Pathological Theater), re-imagines Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” retelling the bard’s bloodiest and most violent work through the voices of the patients of a psychiatric hospital. The play is devised and directed by D’Ambrosi and is performed by actors from the Integrated Theater of the Emotions, an Italian university program in performing arts that he founded for people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. La MaMa will present the play’s American premiere November 30 to December 9 in its Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 East Fourth Street.
Mr. D’Ambrosi, one of Italy’s most distinguished theater artists, has made a career of plays and films that are with and about people with psychiatric disabilities, creating productions that portray their unique perspective on life. “Follies in Titus” was influenced by the intrinsic confrontation with human violence that “Titus Andronicus” evokes in both its audience and its interpreters. This 16th century tragedy, Shakespeare’s first and bloodiest, is the fictional story of Titus, a general during the late Roman Empire, who engages in a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths. Titus’ murder of Tamora’s eldest son in a ritual of war leads to the rape and mutilation of his own daughter, Lavinia. As his revenge, Titus murders Tamora’s remaining sons, bakes them into pie, and serves them to her at a feast. Through a careful exploration of the pathological and psychotic behavior of the protagonists of the play, D’Ambrosi and his collaborators reduced the original text to its essential elements, giving space to the creativity of its actors, who re-tell the play in a fantastical narration through the eyes of psychiatric patients.
The focus of the production is not on Shakespeare’s mixture of horror and vengeance, but rather on the alternation of true and feigned madness. D’Ambrosi holds that the ferocity depicted in many of the scenes of this first Shakespearean tragedy reflects the perpetual political and social struggle that many people face daily. The creative process behind the production involved the creation of a “canovaccio” (an Italian term borrowed from Commedia dell’Arte, which roughly translates to “plot outline”). After the assignment of each role, the performers were asked to “let the characters speak.” That is how the script, comprising original and devised text, was born.
The performance was first presented in Rome as the annual culminating project of D’Ambrosi’s Integrated Theater of the Emotions. Dario D’Ambrosi and his Teatro Patologico are internationally-recognized, with a strong ties to New York’s La MaMa E.T.C., founded by Ellen Stewart. Every year students with disabilities who attend the association’s theater therapy classes take part in international productions. Their 2017 tour also includes other prestigious venues in major cities around the world, including Los Angeles and Tokyo.
The acting ensemble are Paolo Vaselli, Cristiana Saporetti, Emanuele Antei, Marco Antonazzi, Fabio De Persio, Andrea Ferrari, Nicolò Fronticelli Baldelli, Paolo Giliberti, Sara Naso, Silvia Sorcini, Andrea Scrimieri, Claudia Terracini and Daniele Tortosa. Original music is by Francesco Santalucia. Choir coordination is by Papaceccio. Costume design is by Raffaella Toni. Organization is by Valeria Gaveglia.
WHERE AND WHEN:
November 30, 2017 – December 9, 2017
La MaMa E.T.C. (Ellen Stewart Theatre), 66 E 4th Street, 2nd Floor
Presented by La MaMa E.T.C.
Thursday to Saturday at 8PM; Sunday at 4PM
Box office 212-352-3101, www.lamama.org
Runs: One Hour. Reviewers are invited on or after November 30.
Photos are available at https://photos.app.goo.gl/Syz1zUMTQCOcaP4t2.