T is easy to get swept away by Nicola Pianzola’s elevated energy levels, and much easier to appreciate the limits he pushes his body to. Treating a steel perch prop as a factory, he moves up and around, and in and out of it, with a certain robotic fluidity that comes with the instinct to survive. One half of the well-established Italian theatre group Instabili Vaganti, Pianzola essays the role of a factory worker in Made in Ilva – The Contemporary Hermit, and he’s been known to ace the art of physical theatre. Currently on a world tour, Pianzola tells us that Made in Ilva has been well-received across the globe owing to its “perfect combination of artistic quality and civil commitment”.
Based on an original script by Anna Dora Dorno, who’s also the play’s director, Made in Ilva showcases real life testimonies and poems written by workers at the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, Italy, the scene of the environmental scandal of 2012. The production shows the fierce struggle of a worker who wants nothing more than to escape the metaphorical cage he is trapped in. The story might have come from Ilva but it does have a universal appeal, assures Pianzola. “In the life of the worker, each one of us can read our daily routines in this contemporary society, which is characterised by fast and repetitive rhythms. Our focus is on the effects that alienating work conditions can generate in the human body, and we have explored acting through rhythms, cyclic and repetitive movements, interacted with noises, live amplified projections and lights — all to discover the resultant behaviour of a body in such an environment,” he shares. The kind of commitment that physical theatre demands, says Pianzola, “is demanding, challenging and life-long. It requires daily training, extensive research of body and voice, as well as an intimate exploration of one’s inner self.”
While the piece largely sees Pianzola’s sole form on stage, director Dorno’s presence is unmistakably felt in the production, through voice overs and music. Live music has always been integral to the group’s productions, Pianzola states, especially to Made in Ilva which received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014. “We have reworked the music this time with Riccardo Nanni, one of the composers of the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film The Great Beauty, because we are on a big tour at the moment,” he shares. After India, the production takes them to Canterbury (UK), Mexico City, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Montevideo (Uruguay), La Plata (Argentina) and Valparaiso (Chile).
September 15. At Whitefield.
8 pm. Tickets (`400) on
— Nikita Puri