Songs of Exile in the Divine Comedy
A Poetic Performance in Song across Dante’s Castle
This free stage composition has dipped into the three Books of the Divine Comedy and taken some of Dante’s lines dedicated to the theme of exile, with the wish to have them vibrate throughout an itinerant play about Journey, Transition and Change, and this, not only from one part of the castle to another, but also from one part to another of Dante’s work, and from one part to another of the essences of the two protagonists: Bastiano and Frizzy-Rizzy. Actually he, well set as the matador of traditional theatre, in the beginning is only good at acting, and she, street-lady with the innocent childish spontaneity of the world of nature, is only able to sing.
Once they are faced with – and affected by – the sonority of Dante’s poetry, along with the castle’s power and their own mutual differences, Bastiano and Frizzy-Rizzy get to meet, get lost, get stripped bare, and be found again, renewed and transformed. Their playful curiosity leads them to unexpected dark forests full of mystery and otherness, fruitfully exiled from their usual perceptions and expressions.
Bastiano and Frizzy-Rizzy were born from the creative imagination of Lenny Graziani and Roberta Soldani, stimulated and guided by Viewpoints, an American technique of improvisational composition, and by Michail Cechov’s character work. The sung parts are original, and all composed by Lali Mishvelia for this very occasion. Also, on stage will be Dante’s Castle personified, a creation of the young Francesco Santini, which adds a touch of surprise and wonder, able to whisk the spectator into the magic world of fable. Stefania Maggini
Like all great books, and like every lifetime, Dante’s Comedy is a Journey. A hard journey, perhaps an impossible one, but necessary: a pilgrimage towards salvation, moving from a loss. The Comedy is born of exile, an experience of total deprivation: and furthermore this journey through the three worlds of the afterlife is nothing but a return: this is the street to bring me back home. But what home? That beauteous sheepfold Florence?
Proceeding along his journey, the poet-pilgrim comes to consider his life, our life, as a painful exile. So our real homeland, our common homeland, is the heavenly homeland, communion in God; such is the destiny of all beings, such the final goal of the journey.
Within the unique framework of Dante’s Castle, a documented way-station in Alighieri’s exile, a poetic, scenic, musical itinerary will guide us with a reading for three voices of extracts of the Comedy explicitly referring to exile.
Every song we will hear will come from the Comedy; not a line of verse, but it be Dante’s. The love interest that unfolds in the actors’ bodies and their voices, ‘twixt male and female poles, retraces the steps of the pilgrim’s voyage: from the Heaven of the Fixed Stars, homeland newly reconquered, where we find the very progenitor Adam pointing out the cause for the exile of humankind
– “now, my son, not the taste of the wood …” – all the way down to the Hell of the Guelph City Council, where the dark regret of the stepmother-city, loved and hated in extremis, paternal, dignified, the voice of Brunetto Latini is heard:
“if you follow your star …”
The show “Wayfarers” will end where the poem was born. This is no accident, nor is it random: the path of an afflicted soul, the poem of human brotherhood, the destiny of an individual forced to leave behind everything just in his hope to survive; these are events that, tragically, won’t stop starting again. And which will never cease to concern us. Lorenzo Bastida
Texts from Dante Alighieri
Par XXVI 109-117, Par XXV, 1-9, Par X, 124-129, Par XXIII, 133-135, Par XVII, 46-69, Par VI, 127-
142, Purg XXI, 16-18, Purg VIII, 121-132, Purg II 43-48, Purg XI, 133-142, Inf XV, 55-77, Inf X, 79-
81, Inf XV, 55-78, Inf XV, 49-56, Inf VI, 58-75, Inf. I, 1-60
Paradise XXVI, 115-117
Well, my son, it was not the tasting of the tree
That was the reason for such long exile
So much as the failure to heed the interdiction.
Inferno XV, 55-57
If you follow your star,
you cannot fail to reach a glorious harbour,
if I discerned aright in that lovely life
Vocal Scoring – Lali Mishvelia
Director – Stefania Maggini
Bastiano – Lenny Graziani
Frizzy-Rizzy – Roberta Soldani
Dante’s Castle – Francesco Santini
Text Advisor – Lorenzo Bastida
Assistent Director– Grazia Mazzoli
Stage Costums – Matelda Bigi
Light – Alberto Artusi
Grafic Design – Casentino Promotion e Roberta Soldani
Video Recording– Luca Occhini
Set Photos – Enrico Gori
“We sing what we lose”