An excellence of the theatre. Our. Quinto Ubu to the playwright, director and actor from Castrovillari Saverio La Ruina


By John

The Ubu award, or the excellence of the theater (they call them, with a combination that is not very popular with those who love the theatre, “the Oscars of the Italian theatre”). And he has already won four more. On Monday evening on the stage of the Arena del Sole in Bologna, in the evening hosted by Graziano Graziani and Gioia Salvatori, among the names of the winners of the 45th edition, that of Saverio La Ruina, playwright, director and actor from Castrovillari – where in 1992 he founded the Scena Verticale company together with Dario De Luca, which since 1999 has organized the «Primavera dei Teatri», a highly appreciated festival on the new languages ​​of the contemporary scene (Ubu Award in 2009) –, which he won for the fifth time the award, in the Best Italian Text and Dramatic Writing category (his third award after «Disonoreta» in 2007, for which he also won as best actor, and «La Borto» in 2010, while in 2012 he won as actor for «Italianesi») , with his latest show, “Via del Popolo”, produced by Scena Verticale and which debuted at the Menotti Theater in Milan.

The name of a street in “his” Castrovillari, a place that has changed profoundly since the 1960s and has become deserted, a fate common to many large and small towns. With his intense and enveloping writing, recounting the past and the present (behind him, a reinterpretation of a “soft clock” by Dalì), La Ruina in his monologue summons an entire community that has been pulverized – along that path of via del Popolo, with the closed shops and the people who have disappeared -, reconstructing it with a vivid nostalgia full of affection which is not a sterile contemplation of the past, but a path to recover the value of the human, which is – always – the living material of playwright La Ruina.

For the rest, this year’s big winner was «Anatomy of a suicide», which won the Ubu 2023 for the best theater show, for direction (to Lisa Ferlazzo Natoli and Alessandro Ferroni, associated in the ensemble lacasad clay, and also awarded for the previous show, «Ministry of Solitude», blocked by Covid and back on stage now), for the best actor (Francesco Villano), for the new foreign text (work by the English playwright and screenwriter Alice Birch) staged by an Italian company, and partly also for the best actress under 35: the winner was Petra Valentini, who last season played both «Anatomy of a Suicide» and «Hedda. Gabler. Like a loaded gun.” The jury of the award – founded in 1978 by theater critic Franco Quadri and now curated by the “Associazione Ubu per Franco Quadri” – made up of over sixty Italian theater critics and scholars, confirmed the great public success of the show.

The co-production «Gli anni» by Marco D’Agostin and Marta Ciappina won the awards for best dance show and best actress (Marta Ciappina). The Ubu for lifetime achievement went to Danio Manfredini, already winner of three Ubu Awards for as many shows. The award for best actor under 35 went to Alberto Boubakar Malanchino from Milan. The director of photography Cesare Accept was awarded for the lights of the show «La cupa» and the Turin sound designer GUP Alcaro for the music of «Lazarus», a show directed by Valter Malosti. Margherita Palli’s set designs for Mario Martone’s «Romeo and Juliet» were awarded, the top show in the last season at the Piccolo in Milan. The best foreign show presented in Italy was «Caridad» by Angélica Liddell, staged exclusively nationally at the Teatro Arena del Sole in Bologna. Finally, the Project Award goes to the Kepler-452 company for the show «Il Capitale. A book we haven’t read yet.”