Castellucci on film, in person

The film interpretation of the epic 10-city performance cycle

Romeo Castellucci's Societas Raffaello Sanzio has astonished Australian festival audiences, lovers of contemporary performance above all, with Giulio Cesare in Adelaide and Perth in 2000 and Genesi, from the museum of sleep in Melbourne in 2002. The company is returning to Australia for the 2006 Melbourne International Arts Festival, bringing with it the unique opportunity to see films of the whole cycle of Castellucci's most recent work and to hear him speak about it at the end of the Sydney screenings at NIDA and in Melbourne at ACMI.

In “Castellucci: theatre of remnants” (RT66, p37), Max Lyandvert wrote that “in 2001 Societas Raffaello Sanzio embarked on a major new project, a cycle of 11 episodes/productions called Tragedia Endogonidia, an open system of representation that, like an organism, changes and evolves with time and geography, with the name ‘Episode’ assigned to each phase of its transformation. This system forces a radical re-thinking not only of creation, but also of the whole theatrical system. The aim is to represent a tragedy of the future….Tragedia Endogonidia has developed over a period of 3 years with a total of 11 episodes in 10 European cities, each an interdependent episode but a complete production in itself. …Tragedia Endogonidia connects with each city where the work is presented, the focus being on the tragic remnants of the community’s relationship with life on Earth, and even the possibilities of a future on a new world.” The 10 cities are Cesena, Avignon, Berlin, Brussels, Bergen, Paris, Rome, Strasbourg, London and Marseilles.

The makers of Tragedia Endogonidia film cycle, Video memory, Cristiano Carloni and Stefano Franceschetti studied animation and painting in Urbino. Since 1993 they have been working together in the field of electronic arts by making videos and video-installations. They have said that they are not out to document Castellucci's vision but have used their “digital marquetry technique” to capture the essence of the work, “to create other objects of contemplation.” They have been described as involving Castellucci's works in their videos “by means of an artisan technique very similar to [using] the chisel: every single frame passes under their hands in order to be carved and assembled.” The films stand on their own but also serve as a document of a remarkable series of creations.

Max Lyandvert tackles the difficult task of describing the effect of Castellucci's work when he writes: “The arresting power of the imagery and the sound of Castellucci's theatre invites rich psycho-emotional reaction, happily bypassing rationalism, plunging the viewer into a space which is at once foreign and familiar, a space which is a type of core, a fundamental where the intellect and the senses are neutralised.”

Sydney performer Jeff Stein (who has worked with Max Lyandvert and others on their performance collaboration, Ilya in Castellucci's studio) has formed a partnership between Performance Space, RealTime, NIDA, UNSW Media Film & Theatre and the Italian Institute of Culture in Sydney to bring the films and Castellucci himself to Sydney with the support of the Melbourne International Festival of Arts.

Although many members of Sydney’s performance community will make the pilgrimage to Melbourne to see the Brussels episode of Tragedia Endogonidia, here’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the epic cycle to which it belongs. RT

Tragedia Endogonidia, video memory by Cristiano Carloni and Stefano Franceschetti, music Scott Gibbons, director Romeo Castellucci, Societas Raffaello Sanzio,
www.raffaellosanzio.org, Parade Theatre, NIDA, 215 Anzac Pde, Kensington; Session 1 (Films 1-6), Thurs Oct 5, 7pm; Session 2 (Films 7-11), Fri Oct 6, 7pm,; Sat Oct 8, 8pm, Romeo Castellucci talk

RealTime issue #74 Aug-Sept 2006 pg.

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 August 2006