This month the Market Theatre in Newtown presents a unique production of great classical tragedy, called Medea.
The show sees on stage people with disabilities from Italian theatre company Teatro Patologico from Rome, accompanied by professional actors, thanks to the collaboration between the Italian Cultural Institute in Pretoria and the Market Theatre Foundation.
This production is focused on the deep connection between use of the body, language and music. The body becomes the principal means of communication, whereas language and use of original music revolve around their corporeal and spiritual link with the performer’s bodies.
The shows will be held at the Mannie Manim at the Market Theatre on 27 and 28 September.
In addition to the staging of Medea, the group of Teatro Patologico will hold a workshop at Little Eden, an association dedicated to physically and mentally disabled people.
The Italian actors will work together with a selected group of guests from the South African facility to jointly realize an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. For the staging, a plot outline is elaborated and, once the parts have been assigned, the participants are asked to “let the characters talk”, thus giving life to a script composed of original pieces mixed with others born from improvisation. The show resulting from this workshop will be performed, also at the Mannie Manim on 29 September.
In the artistic and theatrical statement of Teatro Patologico, led by the artistic director Dario D’Ambrosi, theatre is considered not just a form of therapy, but also an opportunity for artistic and emotional expression, a place for aggregation and stimulating training in which to play and have serious fun, where disabled actors can feel like, and finally be, the real protagonists of their scene. On the other hand, disabilities are seen as a way to expand the possibilities for theatrical and artistic expression.
The shows of Teatro Patologico investigate folly, the true madness of the diseased, with the intent of giving back, in D’Ambrosi’s own words, “dignity to the fool”.
Born in Milan in 1958, Dario D’Ambrosi is one of the major Italian avant-garde artists. He is an actor, a director and the author of shows that represent the thoughts and the behaviours of people with mental illness. For over 30 years he has been one of the most representative figures on the Italian theatre scene.
He showed an intense passion for theatre and mental disorders since an early age, so much that he stayed for three months at a psychiatric hospital to observe the patients’ behaviour.