Hell 2023: verses, applause, actors, spectators, tourists and climate change


By John

Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a dark forest“. You will happen to hear the verses of the Comedy murmured to a foreign tourist, struck by the scenery of the Alcantara Gorges before witnessing that Inferno which will be represented until 27 August. And which, produced by Buongiorno Sicilia and Vision Sicily with the Gole Alcantara Botanical and Geological Park, takes advantage of the dramaturgy and direction of Giovanni Anfuso, is included in the Palco Al-Qantarah festival, enjoys the patronage of the MiC, the Ministry of Culture, of the Ars, of the Department of Entertainment of the Region Sicilian, the Alcantara River Park Authority and the Municipality of Motta Camastra Sponsored by Isola Bella Gioielli, Amaro Herbae and Bacco, a typical pistachio variety.

The great success of this new edition of blockbuster of records – over fifty-three thousand spectators in five years –, it is above all due to the ability to excite. But also to stimulate discussion on the hottest topics of the moment. Linked to the topicality of the cruel and eternal wars described by the Father of the Italian language, at that to follow virtue and knowledge which pushes and to innovation but also to the desire to travel, to the need to protect the environment. And to that humanity that unites everything.

“This magical, fantastic place – he underlined Rosario Minardi, who plays Ulysses -, gives chills, to actors and spectators. It invites reflection, especially in these days, between the fires and this truly infernal wind. For us it is fascinating and inspiring to play Dante in this place, but I think it is also to see this show”.

“Once again – he underlined Except La Rosa, TV presenter and author – I was enchanted by this theatrical work taken from a work that I love, for having studied it with passion, and set in an amazing place: these marvelous Gorges, heritage of our land”. “The new dramaturgical moments – he added – make this edition even more complete. A very well-constructed theatrical work by the director Giovanni Anfuso and with a truly high-level company”.

Of the same opinion Valentina Tamburino, director of the Alcantara River Park, who spoke of a “beautiful, evocative, exciting show”. “I found again – he added – many characters that we had studied at school in this Divine Comedy which at the time seemed really tiring. But with this evocative setting, with the sound of the river water becoming background music, everything becomes magical”.

The show, therefore, also turned the spotlight on an institution that preserves and protects a vast territory that goes from Taormina to Roccella Valdemone and is rich in naturalistic, archaeological and monumental treasures. “Ours – underlined Valentina Tamburino – is a river park, with the particularity, therefore, of the presence of water, an asset that we Sicilians know how important it is. The springs are also found on Etna: the water flows between the lava rocks and is charged with great energy before reaching the outsidesee the light meeting with this Nature, unique from a flora and fauna point of view”.

Emotions upon emotions, therefore. AND Luca Fiorino spoke of a very strong empathy between actors and spectators, who plays Farinata degli Uberti. “Every evening – she explained – as soon as I leave the sarcophagus I feel the almost physical sensation of having poured the emotion of the audience upon me. Thanks to this place which is a concentrate of suggestions, of magic. To this we add, in addition to a fantastic company of actors and dancers, the narration rich in humanity that Giovanni Anfuso has been able to express, emphasizing not only the epic or poetic aspects of the characters”.

Every evening, all the actors applauded, who, in order of appearance, are 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 (Ulisse), 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. We should also mention the assistant director Agnese Failla, the light designer Davide La Colla, the sound designer Enzo Valenti, and Simone Trischitta, who takes care of the general organization.

The stage photos are by Santo Consoli.