What an “accident”, the theater! Gabriele Lavia directs and plays Goldoni

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By John

It is not the theater that is false, everything that is not theater is false. And it’s all true, indeed “very true, it happened” as Goldoni says of a “curious accident that occurred not long ago in a Dutch city”. It became the title of one of his most famous comedies, «A curious accident»from 1760, triumphantly performed in its national premiere in Rome at the Teatro Argentina (production of Effimera, Teatro di Roma and Teatro della Toscana) with the direction and acting of a superb Gabriele Lavia in the guise of the rich Dutch merchant Filiberto, and a splendid Federica Di MartinoMademoiselle Giannina, Filiberto’s only daughter.

The “accident”, that which falls on us by chance or misfortune or, Aristotelianically, that which is contingent for the human, “although true it seemed unlikely” wrote Goldoni and could be credible and at the same time fictional, according to the colors of the his World-Theatre, the two books on which he had studied the most, to represent «the characters, the passions, the events to which to give relief in the colors to make an impression on the soul».

«Perhaps compassion proceeds from passion? This only happens in the theatre” begins Goldoni-Filiberto-Lavia, after a musical overture which is a hymn to Love (music by Andrea Nicolini and lyrics by Gabriele Lavia, sound by Riccardo Benassi) to wish the public “good theatre” on a scene that the actor-director for his third Goldoni (after «The true friend» and «A vengeful woman») wanted to be like a theater within the theater (scenes by Alessandro Camera), even with seated spectators, crates of tools and a “dressing room” corner with predominant black illuminated by Giuseppe Filipponio’s lights which enhanced the colorful clothes of the characters (on essential black t-shirts and trousers for Andrea Viotti’s costumes).

There is the “seven years” war, as a backdrop with its disorder, an already “world” war that was fought between 1756 and 1763 in Europe and North America, involving the main European powers of that time, but Holland looks after its business, which for some prospers as always in war. The French were defeated and on the side of the vanquished and the poor are Filiberto’s two French guests, Monsieur de la Cotterie (the excellent Simone Toni) and his assistant Monsieur Gascogna (Lorenzo Terenzi). But then, due to an “accident” which is love, studied well by Goldoni in the book of the World, Mademoiselle Giannina falls in love with Monsieur de la Cotterie; the girl knows well, with the typical sagacity of Goldoni’s female characters, that it is necessary to “save love, convenience and reputation” but she also knows that it “takes courage” because “love is ingenious, it is loving but it must be cultivated” . The generational clash is all there (and the lesson, the Voltarian Goldoni, could not have failed to have learned it also from “venerable and celebrated Authors”, from the ancient comedies of Menander, Plautus and Terence), between fathers and sons, between the old man who resists and new that advances, between the “lights” of love and the shadows of economic interests.
But in the end, between misunderstandings and misunderstandings rendered by the protagonists and the good actors Giorgia Salari (the maid Marianna), Beatrice Ceccherini (Madamigella Costanza), Andrea Nicolini (Monsieur Riccardo and first pianist), Leonardo Nicolini (second pianist), and the cameo ending of a mischievous Harlequin (Lorenzo Volpe, homage to the Commedia dell’Arte), with a renewed musical hymn to Love, Filiberto is «forced by necessity, love and stupidity to make peace». Above all, as is typical in Goldoni, by gullibility.

After the performances at Argentina until the 19th, “his” Filiberto, Lavia (assistant director Enrico Torzillo) with his moods and his surprising vitality will take him to Milan at the Strehler Theater (from 28 to 6 December), to Florence at the Teatro della Pergola (16-21 January), in Turin al Carignano (23-28 January) and with other dates until mid-March.