lunedì 17 maggio 2010

Macadamia Nut Brittle

Teatro Piccolo Eliseo Patroni Griffi, Roma. 18-30 May

George Orwell in one of his most famous works '1984' had foreseen the effect of 'Big Brother' on today's generation however he hadn't had the smallest idea that we would be this eager to get 'Big Brother' watch us; updating our status every 5 seconds, archiving all our acts with tagged pictures, chatting with people of different cultures, of different ethnics, of different characters all thanks the wonders of social networks in the internet. Is this seek for attention necessary for our own existence? Stefano Ricci states that we exist in each other's gaze; once the gazes turn elsewhere, we lose our role in the society and we die into the inexistence.
'Macadamia Nut Brittle' by Ricci / Forte was one of the plays that I was dreaming to watch for a long time now; but thanks to the excess of attention the play gets every time it hits the stage, it was almost impossible to find tickets, which was what happened at PIM, Milano. When I arrived to the ticket counter to get two tickets for the next night's play, I was informed that all the tickets for each and every five show were already finished. However, once one sets his mind onto doing something, there's little that can stop him. So using up my passion and my social network skills, I contacted them and they were so kind to have me as their guest for the play.
The show starts off with three actors doing a kind of a choreography that resembles the general indications that air hostesses show to the passengers right before the plane takes off. It was a perfect play, even right off the start because the metaphor of a plane taking off as the first scene was an exact trailer of what was to happen in the following hours; Ricci / Forte took us on a plane ride to unknown destinations in the land of consumer culture, identity, passion, sex, violence and above all... love. At each stop, we jumped from one feeling to another. I found myself laughing with tears in my eyes, crying up a well, hopping in my chair with fear, closing my eyes hard to avoid certain scenes, opening up my ears to hear what the actors were to say... At the end of the play, I was about to drown in the river of feelings; I was happy yet very depressed, confused but also relaxed, anxious yet excited, sad but hopeful... Those two great minds Ricci / Forte and their amazing cast knew how to amaze the audience and not let them remain as passive voyeurs but active participators.

The next day I met Stefano Ricci for a small interview since I had some questions that were bugging me. After the play, having seen all characters in search of affection, waiting for a call from their one night standers; I was wondering if love did really exist or did we hopelessly dream that it did so that one day all our broken heart stories would be mended and our story would reach that happy ending? Ricci answered my question in a way that it made me think even more on this issue: 'Love does exist, of course it does but it depends on how you define love. What is love for you? Is it a Walt Disney movie? Is it someone that brings you breakfast to bed every morning? Or something totally different? The problem is not that love doesn't exist, it is just that sometimes our definitions of love don't really match. And sometimes we just want to love so we decide on compromising; maybe we don't really find the one that makes us breakfast but the one that makes us tea. Not the one we were dreaming of but someone in a way close to that picture we have in mind. Love is all about corresponding to each other's needs at the same moment. If both are looking for the same thing and decide to settle, then this can be considered love.'
Then another question would be: how come all four protagonists suffered from the same thing? Of not being called from their one night stander? If everybody expects a call, how come nobody receives it? Ricci was clear on this: 'Because as much as we love desiring a person, we love being desired as well. They were suffering about not being called but then again they weren't calling either! They were passively waiting for the call rather than asking for his number to call him afterwards.'

'Macadamia Nut Brittle' leaves a sour taste on your tongue; it turns the mirror to the audience and rather than creating a tale of fantasy, it uses the truth that we hide inside ourselves, in our consumer culture without which we don't know how to survive. After all, we shop therefore we are. I thought about the different generations of youth throughout the years; when I was a small kid, the elderly was complaining about the youth that was not producing anything but rather killing time in front of the tv. I've grown old and I hear them whining about how they never leave the pc screen and how they kill time online. But the thing is, the passive tv youth is now grown into an active blog nation: they write, they produce, they are always in action. But is this really considered a production?
Ricci said: 'The social networks are important in our life. There are certain advantages and certain disadvantages to it; it all depends on how you use it, for what purpose you utilize those networks. We use myspace and facebook that keep us in contact with our audience. But then again I don't see writing a blog as a production. The truth remains always hidden. It's so easy to write on the net, chat with tens of people simultaneously... We'll never know who the person behind that blog is, or who is chatting with us. You can be anyone and everyone on the internet. This puts us away. TV was a cuddling service for us. You know, you could pick up a certain episode of Sex & The City and cry with the protagonist, just relax watching other lives. If we felt down, there was tv to cheer us up.'
One of the scenes that truly sent shivers down my spine was when one of the protagonists talked about a woman that was about to die and her cat would die away with her, he would lose all nine lives at the same time because he was existing in her glaze and with her death, he would just sweep into inexistence. And her son would lose his role as 'a son' and given that he didn't know any other 'role' to fit into, he would die as well. I asked if we would ever be able to choose our roles and if we were destined to play along with those given to us by the society. He told me that sometimes we found it easier to accept the roles we were given rather than creating one for ourselves.
At the end of the day, the play was amazing in every single sense. I would even dare to say that it was better than any classic theatre I saw on stage; because 'Macadamia Nut Brittle' in its innovative, aggresive, depressive, not pornographic but utterly graphic nature is a tale of our everyday lives, our delusions, our expectations; it's a mirror turned at us to face our own truth. In a world where the value is measured by the length, success by the money and love by the sexual scores in bed, where did we hide our feelings?
Returning back to the fashion world, Ricci's view on this was clear: fashion should never be a way to hide oneself in a pre-decided confection. Each brand has a certain image that is associated with itself, one who wears it should know that he'll be associated with that but should never be described solely by it. It's like a seduction, it's a way to get yourself known to another. Fashion is a way that uses this.
Then I held another small interview on seduction with the director and the actors. It was so much fun.
- Which of the five senses is the most important one in seduction? Taste
- Can one seduct with art as well? Not using the known methods of body interactions? Sure, seduction is when you don't fake, when you are who you are and that's more than enough.
- If seduction were to be a place? Shopping Mall
- If seduction were to be a song? This Love - Craig Armstrong
- If seduction were to be a person? A priest
- If seduction were to be a public transport? Train
Ricci / Forte will be going first to London then to Rome with their plays and then this summer they're starting to work on a new play about Grim Brothers Tales. The pictures used are a courtesy of Mauro Santucci.

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