If “Maria’s tenacity” becomes everyone’s heritage: at MuMe the show in the name of the first director Accascina

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By John

She is there. In the rooms of MuMethe Regional Museum of Messina whose name sounds like “memory”, and which is increasingly aware of its mission. She is there, immaterial and persistent, part of the collection, which is not only of finds and works, however magnificent: the Messina Museum is also a museum of tenacity, of the efforts of generations and individuals, enlightened women and men, who starting from that unfortunate night of December 28, 1908, when everything was destroyed and much of the old city was lost, they began to rebuild again.
It was staged in the rooms of the Museum «Mary’s tenacity»whose protagonist is Maria Accascina, a name that is (still) unfamiliar to many citizens, but we hope it will soon become so, when the Museum will be named after her, who was its director. It was 1949 and there were not many women at the head of cultural institutions, much less in the South. A “provisional” appointment, of course, which became provisionally definitive (until 1963). Maria Accascina fell in love with that immense and disjointed heritage, with that ancient body of the city in pieces, temporarily stacked in a temporary location (it became permanent almost 70 years later…). And she was not disturbed by the thousand difficulties, by the thousand inertia, by the collective trauma of a city that was struggling to recover a future, and she felt the past had been erased (a trauma that we still suffer today).
We have been privileged: thanks to this intelligent production (by the Regional Museum of Messina, theatrical adaptation by the Clan degli Attori, directed by Giovanni Maria Currò and Mauro Failla, adaptation of the text by Giusi Arimatea, video production by Gabriella Sorti, and the all from an idea of ​​the director of the Museum Orazio Micali) we were able to see and listen to Maria Accascina, inside the rooms of “her” Museum, near the windows which allow the “inside” to dialogue with the “outside” at all times, in the light to play with the shadows cast by statues, capitals, paintings. She gave it back to us, with great strength, Mariapia Rizzo (in the picture), an actress from Messina with rigorous training and exquisite talent, who is also – and this has its weight in the overall “formula” of the valuable operation – an inexhaustible cultural animator, a crusade of the theater and its immense possibilities for dialogue with and in the community. Mariapia Rizzo revealed to us, with emotion and rigor, with parsimony and density of gestures at the service of a rocky, yet impalpable, presence, the passionate heart of Maria Accascina, her courage, her stubborn resistance, her great ability to ‘imagining the future: what Messina, and the Museum that was, and is, part and mirror of it, synecdoche and metaphor, needed and needs most.
This happened at the Museum in the two evenings (with good success from the public and much applause) which we hope can be replicated, perhaps by further expanding the text: it was woven – and for this we also thank the ingenious director Micali, who interprets in its role in a richer and more extensive way – another thread that links the Museum to the community, has become the living substance of that “identity” that is talked about so much but which needs a lot of work, ideas, gestures of the kind.
Yes, the MuMe – where the beautiful permanent exhibition dedicated to the 1908 earthquake, both a destructive and foundational event, was recently inaugurated – confirms itself as a “citizenship machine”, not a display case of artefacts but a factory of meanings. And yes, it would be nice to see this theatrical installation again just when the Museum will be officially named after Maria Accascina (something for which we make every vote and recommendation to the competent authorities: the process has started with the competent regional department). Because the Museum is a living memory. Long live like Maria Accascina.