romeo castellucci & societas raffaello sanzio

Societas Raffaello Sanzio, BR#04, Tragedia Endogonidia IV Episode

Societas Raffaello Sanzio, BR#04, Tragedia Endogonidia IV Episode

Romeo Castellucci and his Societas Rafaello Sanzio collaborators have produced some of the most seductive and enigmatic performance masterworks of recent times, epic conceptions and disturbing realisations on a scale not experienced since the first showings of the Robert Wilson “operas” with which they share a totally immersive sense of dream, if in radically different ways.

My first encounter with the company was the 2000 Adelaide Festival showing of Giulio Cesare, a nightmarish re-working of Shakespeare, Plutarch and other sources in which the oratory of Mark Antony and Brutus is hampered by the very real disabilities of the performers and the wasteland of the post-assassination civil war is a junked-out, anorexic apocalypse for our own times. Genesi: From the Museum of Sleep, at the 2002 Melbourne Festival, grimly reviewed our origins in terms of Madam Curie’s discovery of radium, a child’s Auschwitz (Castellucci’s own offspring performing) and an account of the Cain and Abel story. Richard Murphet wrote: “It is the lasting power of Genesi that its response to the ‘destiny of the inhabitants of the world’ (Castelluci, festival program) is so tough-minded, so terrifyingly lyrical, so unpredictably indirect in its creativity and so openly and quietly scandalised by the tragic consequences of the original act of creation” (RT52).

Hey Girl!, Socìetas Raffaelo Sanzio

Hey Girl!, Socìetas Raffaelo Sanzio

Hey Girl!, Socìetas Raffaelo Sanzio

Hey Girl!, a production on a smaller scale seen at the 2008 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver, was typically visceral and visually inventive, if relatively literal for a Castellucci creation. Its apparent sexism was much debated during the festival (our RealTime-PuSh workshop yielded five reviews). Other works seen by RealTime writers have included Purgatorio at the 2008 Avignon Festival and Tragedia Endogonidia, BR#04 Brussels (three brief reviews, two from the 2005 Melbourne Festival and one from the 2003 KunstenFestivaldesArts, Brussels).

Max Lyandvert and Jonathan Marshall provide detailed backgrounds to Tragedia Endogonidia and Genesi respectively. Sydney-based composer and sound designer Lyandvert, who has worked with Societas Rafaello Sanzio here and in Europe, describes in fascinating detail the origins, images and meanings of the 11 Tragedia Endogonidia works and their associations with particular cities. Marshall interviewed Castellucci about Genisi, covering a range of subjects, including the director’s use of non-professional performers: “In truth, every body is worthy of being on stage. For me there are no deformed bodies, but only bodies with different forms and different beauties, often with a type of beauty that we have forgotten.”

Marshall also explores with Castellucci the pivotal relationship between image and sound in his work: “[Composer Scott] Gibbons has developed sounds using a numerical technique called ‘granular synthesis’ which he applied to various photographs I sent him every week from my home…[He] has thus been able to give voice to certain images which I felt were intimately connected with the show. From this, some scenes were born with sounds, and other sounds were born from certain scenes.”

In a revealing discussion about violence, creativity and tragedy in his work, Castellucci comments: “Genesis frightens me much more than the Apocalypse. The terror of pure possibility is there in this sea open to all possibilities.” The sentiment resonates with the experience of witnessing a Castellucci creation—awe at what can still be realised on a stage, “so unpredictably indirect in its creativity.”

Castellucci’s Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, superbly filmed by Don Kent, is now available on an arte editions DVD. The cast includes Sydney performance maker Jeff Stein, who invited Societas Rafaello Sanzio member Chiara Guidi to Campbelltown Arts Centre recently to speak about theatre and childhood and run a workshop involving local artists and children. Bryoni Trezise, who reports on the event, in 2009 experienced Guidi and Scott Gibbons’ sonic performance installation Augustinian Melody at the Santiago a Mil festival in Chile. For more on Castellucci and his collaborators there’s also the book The Theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio by Claudia Castellucci, Romeo Castellucci, Chiara Guidi, Joe Kelleher and Nicholas Ridout (Abingdon and New York, Routledge, 2007).
Keith Gallasch

reviews

a childhood of theatre
bryoni trezise: chiara guidi, campbelltown arts centre

history’s imprints
bryoni trezise: chiara guidi

hey girl! dark discoveries
eleanor hadley kershaw

hey girl! ache and awe
alex ferguson

hey girl! art object
andrew templeton

hey girl! the painted stage
anna russell

hey girl!:evolving symbols
meg walker

the art of punishment
carl nilsson-pollas: romeo castelluci’s purgatorio, avignon

kinds of truth
john bailey: tragedia endogonidia, br#04 brussels

images that hold
adam broinowski: tragedia endogonidia, br#04 brussels

castelluci on film, in person
realtime

theatre of remnants: castelluci
max lyandvert: tragedia endogonidia

time, intimate and epic
lucy taylor, tragedia endogonidia, br#04 brussels

genesi: from the museum of sleep
richard murphet

[email protected] adelaide festival: giulio cesare, oratory & suicide, RT36, p22
keith gallasch

interview

the castelluci interview: the angel of art is lucifer
jonathan marshall

22 November 2010