THE ARCHIVIST OF TORRECHIARA
A novel and a multimedia performance to think together about our future.
Homage to the city of Parma city elected Italian Capital of culture for next year 2020.
Anna Ponti, an Italian expert archivist decides to leave Switzerland, where she conducts a quiet and satisfactory professional and personal life, and return to Italy.
It’s 2027 and Italy is in the middle of a civil war; a merciless nationalist dictatorship rules the country and controls its borders, hunting down the so-called “saboteurs” (in reality migrants fleeing from African countries, devastated by wars and famine) and repressing anyone not aligned with the regime.
Anna will soon find herself secluded in the castle of Torrechiara, near Parma, with no possibility of communicating with the outside world. Her only companion is a deaf-mute woman with extraordinary gifts, and the books and frescoes on the walls of the castle.
In the silence and the new life rhythms of Torrechiara, Anna will discover who the saboteurs really are, thanks to the arrival of Amal, a young girl fleeing from Syria and miraculously escaped torture and prison.
Shortly thereafter, other women arrive at the castle and despite language problems and traumas they create together a new, self-sufficient community, living in harmony with the rhythms of nature, cultivating the land and raising animals. The walls of the castle become again, as in the Middle Age, a protection against the rampant barbarity outside, allowing the blossoming of a peaceful community of women from different countries and cultures.
A story of struggle and passion but, above all, of human solidarity and rebirth from the rubble of a Europe increasingly closed in itself.
Directed by: Claudia Fontana
Text: Paola Minussi
Played by: Claudia Fontana
The monologue features only one actress, Claudia Fontana, who plays the lead role of Anna Ponti. The essential scenography is defined by lights, which shape spaces and atmosphere. A white shirt turns from time to time into a garment, a headscarf, a dress, giving shape to other women who tell with gestures and words their stories. And so we know Albina, the guardian of the deaf castle, Amal, the girl with the veil who speaks of a distant land and Rita, Anna’s sister, who fights the regime and is the head of a group of women. The castle thus becomes a place of resistance to the rampant barbarity and rebirth all-female.
The project consists of a theater performance in the form of a monologue, played by a single actress on stage who will interpret 4 different characters
(adaptable to any stage space – ca. 60 minutes)
And may include the following components:
– a interactive discussion with the audience of the novel from which the monologue is taken
– an art installation (‘resistant art’ to which the homonymous artistic movement belongs). This can be prepared before the theater performance in
– an art workshop which will produce with recycled material hands stretched upwards placed on the ground, on the street or in public places.
Content of the video ‘The archivist of Torrechiara’
In the short video Claudia Fontana plays Anna Ponti, the archivist of Torrechiara. The main character of the story nostalgically remembers who she was, what she did and how was her previous life in Basel. A life full of all those comforts and habits that now, in the isolation of the castle of Torrechiara, she no longer has. She thought she was an independent and self-sufficient woman, but now she realizes that she doesn’t know how to provide for herself, that Nature is incomprehensible to her and that if Albina wasn’t there, she would already be dead. She doesn’t know how to grow crops, start a fire for cooking, or raise farm animals. She feels useless. The arrival of Amal at the castle upsets her and Anna wonders how it is possible that this tragedy is happening now, in front of her and she can do nothing. The first 30 days at the castle threw her into an alien new world, and Anna feels the need to do something to find a new balance and give a new meaning to her life.
Claudia Fontana simply loves theatre. She started developing her artistic skills by meeting and training together with national and international artists, learning different aspects and colors of the stage, from improvisation to dance theatre, clowning, storytelling and directing techniques. In 2016 she obtained a degree from the “Paolo Grassi” Academy. In 2005 she founded the association “TeatroGruppo Popolare”, with which she has been producing and putting on scene several shows for children and adults. Since 2015, she has been undergoing an independent journey, focused on exploring her own poetics, author and director skills. She is particularly expert with storytelling, a genre through which she is able to strongly connect with her audience.
Paola Minussi was born in Como (Italy) in 1971. She is a musician-concert player and teacher of classical guitar at the Musikakademie Basel (Switzerland). Alongside her artistic activity, she also works as a lay celebrant. Adopted mother by choice, writer by passion, she is the Founder and President of the association Women in White – Society, which aims to foster women’s networks and promote women’s cultural role in the wider society, for a world more open, welcoming, colourful and respectful of differences (not only gender-related). Since 2003, she is actively engaged in favour of adoptive families, women’s rights and the protection of the environment.