Once again this year, on 4 and 5 of November, the Romaeuropa Festival staged the winning performance of the competition Vivo d’Arte – Performing Arts, the award promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to foster collaboration between and interweaving of Italian artists living abroad and the cultural fabric of their host countries, favouring works capable of integrating the different disciplines of music, theatre and dance.
The work of the young Italo-Belgian company bolognaprocess, founded in Brussels in 2019 and made up of Paola Pisciottano, Michele De Luca and Olmo Missaglia, is the result of a social and political investigation which began in May 2018 to analyse the influence of far-right rhetoric on the younger generations. Paola Pisciottano, the Italian director who has been living in Brussels for more than ten years, said this of her work’s recognition:
The Vivo d’arte award represents an opportunity to share for the first time with an Italian audience a performance that is the result of a long research which seems imperative to me, now more than ever. In my latest creation “EXTREME/MALECANE”, four performers from Belgium, Italy, Greece and France take the audience on a journey through Europe, painting a picture that combines theatre, dance and poignant current affairs.
In the show, in a white ring, four young people confront each other. On the one side of the ring, they listen to rap, dance, play sport, watch Netflix and fall in love, just like many other young people do; on the other side there are fear, hatred, insecurity, instability, the search for meaning and young people’s need to belong to a community. In her four years of in situ investigation, Paola Pisciottano travelled through several European countries with different socio-economic contexts such as Greece, Italy, France and Belgium, meeting 130 students and young workers as well as activists of movements such as CasaPound in Italy, Schild & Vrienden in Belgium, Aube Dorèe in Greece. These meetings were the basis for the composition of the dramaturgical material and its development in the subsequent stage form.
Paola Pisciottano’s latest creation crosses the boundaries of research and becomes an invite to the spectator to question their own conscience and experience doubt together with the performers on stage. What power of fascination do extremist discourses have over us? Can we end up adhering to these discourses despite ourselves? And is their influence already at work in our consciousness? Integrating the interview material collected with the personal experience of the actors and actresses, EXTREME/MALECANE traces the trajectory that led to the emergence of new identity and nationalist movements in each of the four countries examined, causing the viewer to derail, forcing them to question the meaning of individual responsibility in the spread of these movements.