What then Homer – and it doesn’t matter if it was him, or the collective name of a cooperative of storytellers – he probably did just that: he would sit in front (next to, together) of an audience and talk, talk, cuntava. Ulysses and his neighbour, Calypso and the young lady of the bar, Elpenore (I know, no one remembers Elpenore, who died ingloriously by falling off a roof, but there are Paolo Rossi and the Homers) and the loser next door. An anecdote and a joke, a story and a bluster, a legend and a joke. Every now and then he got up, mimed something, someone, spoke with the one who accompanied him playing, in another comic duet. And the other evening, in the sacred space – therefore timeless – del Greek theater of Tindarialways crowded with divinities and ghosts of all kinds who live between the sea and the sacred wood, Homer has returned to sit down, to tell stories, to recite “with” the public (and not “to” the public), in the guise of Paolo Rossi, goblin of the scenes with a multiform device.
«Stand Up Homer»production of Ligurian Public Theatre, designed and directed by Sergio Maifredi (whom the artistic director of the 67th Tindari Festival “Tradizioni”, Tindaro Granata, defined, before giving him the floor for a brief introduction, «countryman of art»), promised 60 minutes of ‘Odyssey, with the aedo-storyteller Paolo Rossi and the lead guitarist Emanuele Dell’Aquila. And Homer, of course, who – for understandable reasons – is always very close here and fights with us. It was also more than 60 minutes of odysseys. Because, let’s face it, we are all Ulysses grappling with a thousand odysseys, and the purpose of the Homers, of yesterday and today, is to make them bearable (“bring lay comfort”, says Paolo Rossi), with the oldest art that exists: that of the word.
So perhaps the modern «stand up», the art of speaking to the public “directly”, without a “fourth wall” (and Paolo Rossi-Omero has shown it several times, repeating a phrase to a spectator who had not understood, or creating an entire skit with the unbridled lyrical chorus of cicadas), is the oldest thing that exists, and past and future can close themselves in a magnificent magic circle, inside a show that changes every night to remain as it is, which never will ever resemble itself. Exactly like the songs, the cunti, of the bards of millennia ago: improvised yet rigorous, “free” and highly regulated (that to create true anarchy you need a frightening control; to manufacture freedom you need severe rules; to mumble clearly, and make it style , immense skill is required). So this time (who knows next time…) there were Achilles with tendonitis, Paolo Rossi-Omero with his asymptomatic odyssey in the emergency room, the wars of yesterday and today in the Iliads of yesterday and today (“but the ‘Iliad is Netflix stuff, not a stand-up story…»), wars that break out for pure pretexts (“Elena was a bit like Saddam’s chemical weapons…»), and pre-texts of all kinds (but mostly comical, like Hardy reading the verses of the Odyssey, or you who don’t move but the left does, and you find yourself… on the right) that enter the text, or rather become the text. At least for one evening, eternal and unrepeatable, like the secular mystery of the theatre. Like life, so wrong and weird and unequal, yet “life is beautiful”. So when, at the end of sixty minutes of laughter and beauty (that we are almost all good at making beauty with tragedy), Rossi-Omero and the guitarist sing the very old song (by Jannacci and Cochi and Renato) all the audience, boomers and millennials , past and ultra-futuristic, follows them at the top of their lungs, because it agrees, and it recognizes itself. And, if you like, the one who says in the song: “I’m leaving, but where am I going if I’m leaving, assuming I’m leaving, bye” a little Ulysses is…
However, if his teacher (Omero, or Jannacci, or both) has taught him that «a triumphal fiasco is better than a sober success», Rossi-Omero resigns himself: there was nothing and no one sober, at the end of the his triumphal show in Tindari. Dionysus, unseen, has raised his cup, hidden among leaves and cicadas.
The photos are by Paolo Barone