Those divine bronze migrants, success of the Calabrian production on stage in Messina

Photo of author

By John

If I tell you “bodies returned from the sea” what do you think of? And if I add «Riace», what comes to mind? And if I throw down the words “journey”, “shipwreck”, “identity”, “mare nostrum”, “past”, “future”, “earth”, what am I talking about? On the edge of this ambiguity, but perhaps it is better to call it polysemy (and may the Greek words that move in our language, with their load – oops, another “sensitive” word – of meanings and stories) unravel, or rather it would congeal, coagulate into scenes the show «Aramen & Stannum», production of the Teatro Primo di Villa San Giovanniwhich was staged with great success at the well-deserving Teatro dei 3 Mestieri in Messinaa cultural outpost of great strength.
Aramen and Stannum are the Latin names of copper and tin: the metals which, in league (oops, this too is a “sensitive” word, which should make us southerners at least cautious: timeo leghistos et dona ferentes…) with each other, become bronze. That of the two legendary warriors of Riace, symbol and icon of Mediterraneanity and belonging. And two are on stage – the very talented and multifaceted Silvana Luppino and Domenico Canale – to express all the “narrative” possibilities of that extraordinary pair of bodies and signs. Two, like Aramen and Stannum, different and complementary, who embody different worlds in different scenarios: they are in the rain, on the beach, waiting for the bodies that emerge (which bodies? Which migrants are they? The bronze ones arrived from the crossing of the time, or those of flesh and pain, arriving on the routes of human traffickers?); I am the presenter and competitor of a grotesque TV quiz based on the history of the Bronzes, their mysteries not yet, not completely solved; they are two politicians, of the majority and of the minority, but little changes, given that – in their shiny jackets of barkers – the lexicon is identical, the linguistic tics are identical, the propaganda of the void is identical, the ethical absence is identical; they are two divinities, a “singer-songwriter” Apollo and a wild Melpomene; I am a man and a woman from one of our coasts, along the sea the color of wine, the same as Ulysses, the same as the two bronze warriors, whoever they are, the same as the beaches of Riace or Cutro. And they are not just different scenes: they cover all the shades of spectacle and feeling. Comedy and elegy, laughter and emotion. Apollo who sings “Ti amo” by Umberto Tozzi with his extraordinary “zither” and the indifferent politician who stumbles over grammar and mistakes Dostoevsky for a footballer. Two timeless e-migrants, or from a very recent time, just yesterday, just us with the cardboard suitcase and our hearts broken by nostalgia.
And then those numbers: 10, and 9, and 10, and 5. They recite them in two voices, close to the audience – who in that collected space “feel” the energy of the scene more forcefully. They are the grades of a report card (remember the news story from a few years ago?) That a caring mother had sewn into the jacket of her young son, who drowned in the Mare Monstrum near the Italian shore, the Promised Land. Then the threads of that entire journey, fun, exciting, moving, are pulled, until the unexpected final reversal. They are always the protagonists, the bronze bodies of immense beauty, which are from time to time metaphor and symbol, flag and alibi, testimony and project.
The beautiful text by Domenico Loddo, playwright and writer from Reggio, works perfectly, in the precise mechanism of Christian Maria Parisi’s direction (scenes and costumes are by Valentina Sofi, lights by Guillermo Laurin, assistant director by Ruggero Britti). And a desire comes, in the end: to see the show in what would be its natural place, the Reggio Museum, which is the “home” of the Bronzes. Let’s pitch the idea to the new director: after all, museums are “machines of citizenship”, not only custodians but producers of beauty and thought. Which is what has been done on these shores for thousands of years: among other things, the bronze warriors themselves tell us. Let’s try to deserve them.