Death, Temporary Heading

Devised and directed by
Riccardo Mallus
with
Letizia Bravi, Marco De Francesca, Martina Drigo,
Francesco Martucci, Betti Rollo
dramaturgy
Giulia Tollis
sound design
Gianluca Agostini
stage design
Stefano Zullo


Death, temporary heading is a performative investigation upon the mystery of Death.

The show was envisioned as multidisciplinary at its very core. Our creative process uses inspiration and references from different arts: painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance, poetry. The aim is to create a performance resembling both a painting-in-motion and a concert incorporating acting, dancing, music and singing. A visual and sonic concept album made of interlinked images, songs, physical scores, poetry fragments, recalling and echoing each other around a common thread.
In the architecture of this concept album, every track is a meta-poetic relationship with the others; they integrate each other and work together in investigating or shedding light on a single theme, using different types of content, languages, aesthetic and poetic suggestions bound together by that theme. Despite the presence of a common thread, the final meaning is assigned by the audience; whose experience of those suggestions is unique and may resonate in different ways according to each person’s history. In our vision for “Death, Temporary Heading”, words are “linguistic matter”, bearer of sound and imagery rather than being storytelling tools. Our choice of multilingualism wants to keep the mysterious object – Death -  from being a simple “topic” that can be easily talked about, narrated, explained.

From a philosophical standpoint, our exploration revolves around Vladimir Jankélévitch’s and Elias Canetti’s work, who both investigated the mystery of death in different ways.
In particular, Jankélévitch’s book La mort, - a collection of public lectures gave by the revolutionary intellectual at Sorbonne university between 1957 and 1959 -  approaches the theme of death as a mystery rather than as a purely dramatic event. On the other hand, Canetti – Bulgarian, German-speaking novelist, playwright, and essayist, in his Das Buch gegen den Tod  (“ The book against Death”) portrays Death like a monster that has to be fought and faced as an equal, by using art as a weapon. Our investigation in “Death, Temporary Heading” is inspired by these two author’s opposite visions and tries to reconcile them in a dialectical perspective.