The identity of Gestus comes from the place itself: it is space shaping itself. The spirit of the place is theatrical in nature – the art of relationships manifested through the rhythmic movement of the human body through space. It is an organic, muscular system, a physical network of actions and reactions. The research focuses on the experience of being the body, based on reflections initiated by some of the great masters of theatre of the 20th century.
The centre of interest is physical language as the catalyse of a spiritually and socially transformative dynamic.
Gestus, conceived in two acts, is an ever-evolving body incarnated by two pairs of actors and a chorus which, as in Ancient Greek tragedies, dialogues with the protagonists through immediacy of movement. The first act – Rifare i corpi (Refashioning the Body) – draws its inspiration from the use of the neutral mask, as originally used by Jacques Copeau in performative exercises. The mask allows the actors to experiment with the effectiveness of physical action, using the growing movement of the torso as activated by the breath. The being is reborn without a face and moves like the moon through the sky, never adapting to anything outside itself, but rather reterritorialising itself, changing its very structure. The primary aim is to break up its physical and mental automatisms, taking the body apart like a machine before putting it back together.
Through the works of the first act, spanning the depths of the ocean and millennia-old cave etchings, what is produced is an erasure of the hierarchy of organs: each part is afforded the opportunity to perform an autonomous, unencumbered, contradictory movement. Enrique Ramirez and Luca Trevisani dialogue with Artaud’s guiding idea in the The Theatre of Cruelty: refashioning the body to restore it to freedom in its truest sense, to bring it to its senses. Moving alone is not enough. It is an exploration of physical actions, an attempt to broaden perceptions and redefine the confines of the world. In this contest, the chorus – Caterina Gobbi and Andrea Di Lorenzo – pushes the body beyond physical and sensory boundaries in an attempt to approach non-human forms of life. The underpinning desire is that of reshaping its own nature, to become capable of forging new connections.
Following the segmentation of physical actions, the second act – Il montaggio delle azioni (The Assembly of Actions) – marks a recomposition. The protagonists, Ludovica Carbotta and Driant Zeneli, explore unprecedented new ways of existing in the world, moving beyond appearances to observe the deep-seated structures that govern human behaviour. The works reflect upon the physical exploration of urban space, proposing models for utopian cities and upending the concept of justice to create paradoxical dynamics. Power dynamics and History are interwoven with individual narratives, creating utopias which subvert the natural order of things. Heretofore alien positions, gestures and thoughts become an integral part of everyday consciousness. Much as plants are capable of engulfing the elements around them and melding into one another, so too does the new organism create a two-way connection with the environment that it is part of. The chorus – Annamaria Ajmone with performances from Carbotta and Zeneli – use intergenerational physical testimonies to make the body into a fully-fledged political space, where the needs of the individual and the community are renegotiated.
The actor must express both
the action that they are performing
and the possibility of another action
that is not performed.