Marco Martinelli, Ermanna Montanari and the staging of “Fedeli d’Amore” at the San Martín | Founders of the Teatro delle Albe, Ravenna, Italy

Year 1321, in Ravenna. Dante Alighieri lies on his deathbed. Sick with malaria, delirious. The last night of a poet is always a suggestive idea, but that is not what is seen. Instead, the disembodied and indefinable voices of delirium and its possible materializations are heard. That’s what it’s all about fedeli d’amorea polyptych in seven frames, which on Wednesday 5 at 8:30 p.m. will have its last performance, with subtitles in Spanish, in the Casacuberta Hall of the San Martín Theater (Avda. Corrientes 1530). The production of the Teatro delle Albe of Ravenna (Italy) arrived in Buenos Aires under the auspices of the Italian Institute of Culture and the Teatro Coliseo, within the framework of the ITALIA XXI project, with the support of the Embassy of Italy, Regione Emilia-Romagna and Ater Foundation.

The text by playwright and director Marco Martinelli, projected from the last Dante humiliated in exile to the present, weaves together various languages ​​and their folds. What immediately resounds in the innumerable voices of the extraordinary actress Ermanna Montanari and in the music of Luigi Ceccarelli. A kind of cantata -rather “parlata”, if the term fits- in which political and metaphysical reality, actuality and spirituality sustain the voices that reconstruct the aura of the poet who fled from the city that sentenced him to the stake, of the fugitive in his last hour.

We try to imagine the moment in which the poet who founded the Italian language dies, between malaria, fever, delirium. We trace a conjecture about what is beyond the character, ”says Ermanna Montanari to Page 12. “The figure that is on stage has no contours, its form is the voice and the sounds. We imagine the voices of the hallucination, which is not the voice of the poet. Thus we appeal to the mist, for example. What does the fog of that dawn of 1321 tell us in Ravenna, which is my city; how that story sounds to us today in that landscape”, adds the actress, recognized in Europe for her surprising journey in the investigation of the scenic possibilities of the voice.

“Writing a text from that state of immateriality was a great challenge”, intervenes Marco Martinelli. “Being part of the fog, perhaps without knowing what will come first from that idea, the sound or the word. In this sense, there is a constant back and forth with the voice and with the music, and in this urgency to say, the need naturally arises to use our dialect, Romagnol, which in any case could define that fog better than any other language,” says Martinelli. The Romagnol dialect -the same that Federico Fellini used to say “amarcord”, “I remember”- functions as a way of sublimating time also in the dramatic dynamics of fedeli d’amore. “The dialect is a language of poets, a language of the dead, of the past, which few people speak today. It makes more explicit the relationship with death, which in any case, in the work is not an end, but the beginning of an unknown journey”, continues Martinelli.

In each of the frames fedeli d’amore -name that comes from one of those secret societies so common in the Middle Ages, where other poets such as the Cavalcanti and Petrarch would meet in addition to Dante- different voices “speak”. In addition to the fog, there is the demon of the pit where the merchants of death are punished, the donkey that carried the poet on his last journey, the little devil that unleashes fights for money. “Somehow, in which they speak the elements of nature are summarized: air, water, fire, earthErmanna explains.

For Martinelli, in that landscape of voices the political dimension of the poet is vindicated. “Dante was a political man. Hence his misfortune. The Dante that we carry inside is the beaten one, the exiled one, the one who is on the other side of the monument is a suffering man. His choice to write in that dialect that had no status of legitimacy before Latin and that would later become the Italian language, is a political decision, a political lesson. Without going any further, because from the mother tongue he manages to found nothing less than a Nation”, the playwright and director enthuses.

Ermanna Montanari and Marco Martinelli, partners in life and theater, know each other from high school, where they already argued heatedly about poetry. “She in favor of the Patriarch, I for Dante”, remembers Martinelli. In 1983 they founded El Teatro delle Albe. “But beyond the jokes, the truth is that poetry has always been the engine of our searches and in this sense, fedeli d’amore comes to enrich the dantesque saga that together with the Ravenna Festival we started in 2017 with Hell and later with the other two songs of the Divine Comedy”, adds the playwright and director. The music of Luigi Ceccarelli, Simone Marzocchi on trumpet, the sound direction of Marco Oliveri, shadow design Anusc Castiglionilighting design Enrico Isla and coordination of Silvia Pagliano they frame the incessant dramaturgical and visual research, which has its expressive nucleus in the vocal-sound alchemy of Montanari.

“I always assumed the search through the voice as a path of knowledge”, says Montanari. “From a very young age I feel a friction between my condition as a woman and the vocal cords that I have, thicker than usual, disproportionate to my small body. That is why the voice is the place from which I best understand this world in which we live, immersed in sounds. To listen, then, is to live, that is to say, to learn”.

fedeli d’amore also works as a musical work. So much so that as a record project it can be heard on web platforms. “In the record format, the work takes on another dimension. In the theater, the audience is immersed between the voices and the music, it is part of a ceremony in which everyone, artists and audience, are part of the same thing. That’s why we call it a concert”, concludes Montanari.

Marco Martinelli, Ermanna Montanari and the staging of “Fedeli d’Amore” at the San Martín | Founders of the Teatro delle Albe, Ravenna, Italy