Physical theater for six acrobats from Nairobi and anomalous dancers
Concept and Direction Michela Lucenti and Leonardo Pischedda
Choreography Michela Lucenti/Balletto Civile
Asamba Peter Willis Kuria
Were Stephine Odhiambo
Onaacha Erik Odida
Agero Nicholas Onyango
Raudo Hamphrey Omondi
Mboka Churchill Wandanda
Lighting Design Tiziano Scali
Sound Design Tiziano Scali, Michela Lucenti, Leonardo Pischedda, and Maurizio Camilli
Video Images Leonardo Pischedda, Emaunele Braga, and Uovoquadrato
Sets Michela Lucenti and Leonardo Pischedda
Costumes Federica Genovesi
Associate Choreographer Emanuela Serra
Associate Director Francesco Traverso
Produced by BALLETTO CIVILE/ARTIFICIO23
In collaboration with P.e.p.e Produzioni, Afro Jungle Jeegs, and the Teatro Piemonte Europa Foundation
The I Prodotti theatrical project involved a large number of individuals, including, most importantly, a group of young Kenyan acrobats, the Afro Jungle Jeegs. Thanks to the support of Artificio23 and P.e.p.e. Produzioni, the group brought their brand of engaging and sophisticated acrobatics to Italy.
Leonardo Pischedda suggested that the members of the Afro Jungle Jeegs interact with other artists, including those of the Balletto Civile, the Italian theatre company headed by Michela Lucenti. The work of the Balletto Civile has long privileged the language of the body, song, and dance, in an active and ongoing dialogue between life’s tensions and the contradictions of the modern world.
The result was a long process of work and training that continues to this day, a process that straddled Europe and Africa and which evolved over the course of two years. Its first concrete result is I Prodotti, a collaboration between Michela Lucenti and Leonardo Pischedda.
I Prodotti is a performance composed of individuals and their bodies, and it tells a story immersed in white—the color of things left in suspense. The performers dance and speak, motivated by a need to show themselves, to reveal what they are by means of simple, direct tools. I Prodotti describes a sort of background noise, which we can often hear when all else is quiet. It tells us about lives enveloped in the cold, even in Nairobi.
Leonardo Pischedda was associate director for the production of Hamlet in Carlo Cecchi’s Shakespeare Triology in Palermo. There, Pischedda met, among others, Spiro Scimone, Francesco Sframeli, and Valerio Binasco, with whom he was subsequently involved as associate director in three productions, Bar, La Festa, and Il Cortile, and with whom he continues to collaborate artistically.
He made his debut as a director in 1998 (Anfitrione with Fausto Paravidino and Franco Ravera) and soon after turned his attention to performances in public spaces and non-traditional venues. Since 1999, in fact, he has been the artistic director of the Andersen Festival and, since 2007, of the ARIA Festival, an international festival dedicated to performance in public spaces. In 2003, together with Marina Petrillo and Alessandra Traini, he formed Artificio23, an organization involved in festival and other productions that mix theatrical disciplines and cultures. Such projects as La Caduta Perfetta, Horror Vacui (co-directed with Michela Lucenti), and many others resulted, including collaborations with the Kenyan group Afro Jungle Jeegs, which led to the production of the performance and the documentary film, I Prodotti (2009).
Michela Lucenti was born in La Spezia in 1971 and began to study classical and modern dance at Loredana Rovagna’s Centro Studi Danza. Her encounter with the work of the Pina Bausch company played a profound role in her artistic choices. In 1990 she entered the two-year acting program of Genoa’s Teatro Stabile and, in 1991, she began the last phase of her study of the work of Jerzy Grotowski. In 1993 she was awarded a scholarship that allowed her to come into contact with Raffaella Giordano, Giorgio Rossi, Michele Abbondanza, Adriana Boriello, and Julien Anzillotti. In 1995, she joined Moni Ovadia at the Teatro Biondo in Palermo for its production of Diario ironico dell’esilio, directed by Roberto Andò. That same year, she formed the L’Impasto Company in Bologna with Alessandro Berti, and the company embarked upon its first long national tour with Trilogia. Between 1995 and 2003 the company produced a number of different shows. In 2003, the Balletto Civile project was established, a work team dedicated to production and training and created to explore the idea of “total theater,” favoring original live songs and movement based in the deep relationships between performers. The Balletto Civile experience gave rise to I Topi, KetchupTroiane, and many other productions, as well as to numerous educational initiatives in collaboration with the Universities of Turin, Milan, Brescia, Perugia, Bologna, Udine, Trieste, and Gorizia. Last year, Lucenti debuted as a choreographer in Turin in a production of Macbeth directed by Valter Malosti. In May 2007, she made her first appearance at the Andersen Festival in Battesimi and, the following month, she was asked by Ismael Ivo, the director of the Venice Biennale’s Dance Programming to join him for a production of Il mercato del corpo. In the summer/fall of 2007, with the assistance of Artificio23, work began on the project that would become the installation Creature.
In June 2008, Creature premiered at the Venice Biennale Dance Festival, conceived and choreographed by Lucenti with the collaboration of Uovoquadrato Mediadesign and the painter Mirko Baricchi.
Together with Leonardo Pischedda, Lucenti co-created and co-directed Horror Vacui (2008) and I Prodotti (2009), for which she was also responsible for the choreography.