Home News In Eden with the verses of Andrea Zanzotto – Mattia Palma

In Eden with the verses of Andrea Zanzotto – Mattia Palma

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In Eden with the verses of Andrea Zanzotto – Mattia Palma

It is to the Venetian poet Andrea Zanzotto, the cantor of the countryside, that Anagoor turned to for their latest show, Ecloga XI, staged at the Sociale in Bergamo and expected at various festivals in the coming months. The theatrical collective, born in 2000 in Castelfranco Veneto (the name takes up the story of Dino Buzzati The walls of Anagoor), finds strength in the contamination of languages: their shows are like guided tours along original paths of thought, with artistic-literary comparisons in which theater and narrative, performance and video, craftsmanship and technology are mixed together with real lessons, declamation of verses and much more. There is no doubt that poetry is one of the most suitable terrains for their composite language. But from Ecloga XI one should not expect a simple reading, the life and works of Zanzotto are not told, his poetics are not illustrated nor his compositions are commented on as one would expect in a normal tribute to a poet in the period of his centenary (Zanzotto was born in 1921 in Pieve di Soligo). So why Zanzotto? What about his enigmatic verses, which alternate Italian and Venetian dialect, neologisms and archaisms, attracted the attention of Simone Derai, the director of the group who also curated the scenes and lights of the show, as well as the complex dramaturgy together with Lisa Gasparotto? Let’s start with the title. The most famous eclogues in the history of literature are the ten collected by Virgil in his Bucolics. Zanzotto in 1962 recovered the same pastoral genre in his IX Ecloghe, not daring to match the number of the Latin poet in his “presumptuous homage”, as he himself defines the collection. The Anagoor also use the same formula as the subtitle of the show and the eleventh ecloga thus becomes the entire work of their fellow poet, whose prophetic voice has much more to do with the theater than it might seem.

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At the stage test, Zanzotto’s work becomes a sincere and passionate investigation into the language of the stage. One would think that it is this sort of archeology of the word that has attracted the Anagoor.

It is something that is felt while listening to Zanzotto’s verses one after the other, from the beginning of the show when, with the curtain still lowered, the hall is crossed by the Venetian Recitative (the voice is by Luca Altavilla) written for the opening scene of Federico Fellini’s Casanova, propitiatory appeal to the lagoon god during the carnival, obviously invented by the poet.

Then the curtain rises and you can see a canvas depicting the Tempest by Giorgione, but deprived of human figures. Two actors, Marco Menegoni and Leda Kreider, will repopulate the painted landscape, approaching the canvas with their backs to the public, illuminating it with caution before starting their unstoppable journey through verses, chants, stanzas and verses, but also prose texts, interventions, reflections by Zanzotto in which the public can, indeed must continually get lost and find themselves.

The turning point of the show lies in the outrage to the canvas, a very powerful symbolic moment due to its simplicity, when Menegoni scratches the landscape with a black paint roller. But in Zanzotto the outrage has a meaning that is anything but negative, if one thinks of the poetry with which one of his most important collections opens, La beltà, entitled precisely Oltranza outrage: a sort of manifesto in which the poet declares the need to to go further, “beyond” in both a physical and a metaphysical sense. After the original sin, the actors, now explicitly recognizable as the Adam and Eve of this staging, take turns undressing and dressing as if for an alternating challenge to the naked truth. An Eden takes shape on the stage, an iridescent and primeval garden into which the two have managed to enter – a scene that speaks to the environment much more than the rhetorical appeals of so many busy shows seen in recent years.

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In the finale, Kreider remains in dim light holding a bundled baby in his arms as in Giorgione’s painting, reciting verses in petèl, dialectal words with which mothers speak to babies and mimic their inarticulate sounds. Zanzotto’s is a poem that he observes and listens to, rather than saying something: it is a poem that “exists”, to use Heidegger’s words. The challenge, therefore, was not so much to dissolve the abstrusities of the verses, but to put them in a position to give themselves to the public in all their contradictions: this is the virtuosity of the show. Unforgettable is the moment when Kreider candidly admits: “I am suited to my era”. Precisely this, with the pandemic, the economic and environmental crisis, the war. When we ask ourselves “why the poets” (again Heidegger) it is because in their verses the present emerges: or rather, in their verses the present happens. This happening, the Anagoor are able to represent it.

Ecloga XI, by Anagoor, texts: Andrea Zanzotto. Direction, sets, lights: Simone Derai. With Leda Kreider and Marco Menegoni. Music and sound design: Mauro Martinuz. Tour: OperaEstate, Bassano del Grappa, 5 August; Vie Festival, Vignola, 13-14 October; Festival of the Turin Hills, Turin, 16 October.

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