Hell 2023: the enthusiasm of tourists, the invention of the QR code and the applause of the British manufacturer


By John

“This fantastic show, immersive and evocative, creates a special and unrepeatable atmosphere”. Ray Mia, British, one of the most innovative international film, theater and music producers, after attending the performance in the Alcantara Gorges cannot hide the enthusiasm for Dante’s Inferno, the blockbuster of records, the most seen in Sicily in the last five years, produced by Buongiorno Sicilia and Vision Sicily with dramaturgy and direction by Giovanni Anfuso. “When, in making a theatrical adaptation – says Mia – you start from an unattainable text like the Divine Comedy, it’s easier to make mistakes than to find the right measure. Instead here there’s a magnificent balance of language and I think the use of the river – I’ve never been to a show where the stage was natural gorges – is perfect”.

Mia has an incredible resume: she started working with Universal Music on artists such as the Beatles, Ennio Morricone, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, then, in 2018, in Liverpool, she founded the famous record label Jacaranda Records and joined the Thames Estuary Growth Board, for sustainable development, capable of creating one and a half million new jobs. In addition, in 2022 he produced the highly successful theater season The Christopher Marlowe Sessions, featuring all of the Elizabethan playwright’s works and this year, due to his reputation as a creative pioneer in immersive audio design, he was named President of strategy at Free Turn Audio. “Although my wife is from Motta Camastra – she explains – we hadn’t been here for decades. Of course, I had heard of representations in Alcantara, but due to work commitments, I had stayed in America and Great Britain. Tonight I was blown away by this play: the Gorges, with their freezing water, the drama of Etna, minimalist lighting and interpretive music, fantastic acting, perfect actors and brilliant direction. There is a moment when the protagonists walk along the river and catch you. They drag the viewer into the scene and it’s really hard not to get excited. I think that this is a great step forward for tourism in the Alcantara Valley”.

And in fact, among the spectators of Inferno, there are very many tourists, also thanks to a gimmick by the regional councilor Elvira Amata. The latter has in fact suggested to the Production to distribute in the accommodation facilities of the Valley, including Taormina and Giardini Naxos, some postcards on the show in which, by framing the QR codes on the back, it is possible to see a suggestive film of Inferno and read, in five languages, practical information on the show and a note on Dante and the Divine Comedy. “The latter – declared Nuccio Angelico, curator of translations as representative of the Yfu Italia Foundation, which takes care of welcoming foreign students into our high schools and preparing the Italian ones who will go to foreign institutes – is defined by scholars The first great work written in a modern European language, a universal poem in a miracle language”. Even the Italian tourists who came to see Inferno, intrigued by the postcard with the QR codes, greatly appreciated the show. “A very remarkable scenic system, a representation and an actor’s performance – comments Antonello Antinolfi, a Neapolitan professional living in Milan – in this setting that enhances the show without ever falling into rhetoric, without pretending. A wonderful theatrical work that I highly recommend seeing because it it’s really worth it.” “I would say – adds Lucia Pavone, from Vicenza – that it was a beautiful show: wonderful location and very good actors. They are of Sicilian origins and when we arrived for the holidays and I heard about Inferno we immediately decided to see the show, definitely all ‘height of expectations’. As already announced, the reruns of Dante’s Inferno – which, included in the Palco Al-Qantarah festival, enjoys the patronage of the MiC, the Ministry of Culture, the Ars, the Department of Entertainment of the Sicilian Region, the Ente Parco Fluviale dell’Alcantara and the Municipality of Motta Camastra and has as sponsors Isola Bella Gioielli, Amaro Herbae and Bacco, typical pistachio – have been extended until 3 September.

Inferno’s actors are, in order of appearance: Liliana Randi (Narrator), Francesco Bonaccorso (Tourist and Charon) Angelo D’Agosta, (Dante), Salvo Piro (Virgil), Giovanna Mangiù (Francesca da Rimini, Messenger from Heaven), Davide Pandolfo (Ciacco), Luca Fiorino (Farinata degli Uberti), Rosario Minardi (Ulysses), Davide Sbrogiò (Ugolino), Gabriele D’Astoli (Paolo, Diomede, Archbishop Ruggeri). The damned are instead Beatrice Caudullo, Manuela Grimaldi, Marta Marino, Valeria Mazzaglia, Enrica Pandolfo, Davide Peluso, Alfio Raiti, Lucio Rapisarda, Francesco Rizzo and Gloria Trischitta.

The choreography is by Fia Di Stefano, the costumes by Riccardo Cappello, the music by Nello Toscano and the special effects by Alfredo Vaccalluzzo. Simone Trischitta, who takes care of the general organization, the assistant director Agnese Failla, the assistant director Lucia Rotondo, the light designer Davide La Colla and the sound designer Enzo Valenti should also be mentioned.

The stage photos are by Santo Consoli.