On Saturday the 9th of November at the Bloomsbury Theatre Legalaliens presented the devised physical theatre piece “The ineluctabiity of chaos” as part of a series of “scratch performances” inspired by Piradello’s novel The Old and the Young.
The performances were presented during a conference organised by British Pirandello Society to commemorate the 100 years since the publication of the book.
But how to translate a 550 page volume into 20 minutes of theatre?
We had five days, four actors, and… no money. Quite a challenge…
The novel itself is a mystery and a challenge.
A “wannabe” historical saga that keeps losing tracks of its heroes to fragment itself in hundreds of different sub-plots, populated by very theatrical characters, The Old and the Young presents no straight narrative, no lead man to identify with, no redemption and no tragedy. Although four main characters die by the end of it, their deaths aren’t tragic but absurd and totally accidental. It’s as if, whilst desperately trying to honour the memories of his parents – who fought with Garibaldi in 1860 – and the form of the classical historical novel, Pirandello ended up packing a myriad of potential characters from his future plays into one humongous tome about Italy, its corruption and its moral decline.
Sixty characters looking for a plot…
The Ineluctability of Chaos explores the possibilities of translation and adaptation in contemporary London. For five days (the maximum free space and time we were able to extract in the current funding climate) an international group of performers gathered to explore these questions:
How does a text designed to break the form of a novel become a piece of theatre that challenges the assumptions of performance?
How do we approach translation – from Italian, to English, to the body, and back?
How do we undertake such grand-scale work in an environment that compresses process and emphasizes product/performance?
Emerging from actors’ work physical and verbal scores and mining Italian political slogans and songs from the Garibaldi era, the resulting performance explores parents and children, corruption and capitalism, political aspiration and apathy with a physical vocabulary and vocal landscape that never resolves, but remains poised on the edge of control.
Our beautiful waltz at the beginning of the play, a tribute to the glorious past…
The Old man and the Young boy setting off with Garibaldi…
But would the new young Italy be any better than the old?
Some scenes in the book are so full of melodrama… so we included an opera scene… With movements instead of arias…