On the difficulty of telling the truth
concert-reading from Bertolt Brecht
The play is based on a literary-political essay written by Bertolt Brecht titled Writing the truth: five difficulties. Written in 1934, after Hitler’s rise to power, for the German exiled playwright this was like a manual of military strategy through which he could dictate rules on how to tell the truth to the weak and fight the lies of those in who held the power.
ErosAntEros decides to divulge this text together with some poems by Brecht, all centred on the difficulty of saying the truth, inside a show concentrated on sound and voice live performance, with the stage presence of Agata Tomsic and the live electronics by Davide Sacco.
The operation that ErosAntEros is trying to accomplish can be explained through Walter Benjamin “citation” (quote) technique. It was a way of pulling a segment of the past full of “now” (which provided an answer to the political situation of today) and then installing it into the present, in a similar way as the company is now trying to work, by going through the text with a live performance, convinced it will be useful in order to comprehend our present and eventually, change it.
This is, for the artistic couple, a new way of understanding their role inside the society, a way that transforms the artistic act into a political action, and a battle to make this essay known as they believe in it and agree with it, following Brecht’s idea that a book is a weapon, and Benjamin’s theory that art should hit the spectator like a bullet.
“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons. These are formidable problems for writers living under Fascism, but they exist also for those writers who have fled or been exiled; they exist even for writers working in countries where civil liberty prevails.”
(Bertolt Brecht, Prologue to Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties)
concept: Davide Sacco and Agata Tomsic
with: Agata Tomsic
live electronics and direction: Davide Sacco
costumes production: Laura Dondoli
production: E / ErosAntEros, CISIM
with the support of: Drammatico Vegetale / Ravenna Teatro – residence at Vulkano, Ravenna; Odin Teatret / Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium – creative residency at Holstebro (DK); Raffaella Sutter, Simone Pacini, Marco Molduzzi, Bruno Ferrante, Samuela Fuiani, Marco Cavalcoli, Marcella Nonni, Marta Ragusa and Elisa Eusebi who participated in the crowdfunding campaign “ErosAntEros meets the Odin Teatret”; the Councillorship for Youth Policy of the Municipality of Ravenna
thanks: Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari; Teatro Onnivoro; Eugenio Barba, Roberta Carreri, Claudio Coloberti, Selene D’Agostino, Jan Ferslev, Donald Kitt, Pierangelo Pompa, Anne Savage, Rina e Ulrik Skeel, Julia Varley, Frans Winther, all Odin Teatret and all the staff of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium
length: 1 hour
work in progress: ExPolis Festival, Teatro della Contraddizione, Milano, May 6th 2014; L’altra Festa, Lista Tsipras, Piazza Andrea Costa, Ravenna, May 23th 2014
preview: CISIM Lido Adriano, Festa della Repubblica, June 1st 2014; Crisalide Festival, Ex Filanda Maiani, Forlì, September 14th 2014; Finestre Festival, San Venanzo (Terni), October 10th 2014
international premiere: Odin Teatret / Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium, Holstebro (DK), October 7th 2014
italian premiere: Ravenna viso-in-aria, Almagià, Ravenna, November 13th 2014
Image: George Grosz, Eclipse of the sun (1926)
Photo by Beppe Fontana [Montechierugolo (PR), Palio Ermo Colle, August 6th 2017] © All rights reserved:
Photo by Alessandro Montanari [Almagià, Ravenna viso-in-aria, November 13th 2014] © All rights reserved:
Photo by Rina Skeel [Odin Teatret, Holstebro (Denmark), October 7th 2014] © All rights reserved:
Photo by Nicola Baldazzi [CISIM, Lido Adriano (Ravenna), June 1st 2014] © All rights reserved: