You don’t choose a nation, you are born there. This is one of the reasons it is normally hard to draw a sharp line between the concepts of “homeland” and “nation”. In fact, these two words define distinctly different aspects of our common feeling. The first comes closer to a more epic, cultural and territorial idea, while the second is linked to decidedly more political and institutional concepts. The first rises above the second, but is at the same time included within it (a nation is usually born out of the desire for a “united homeland”). Our own belonging to these two theoretical cornerstones is part of our education. The lack of this sense of belonging, whether due simply to foreign origins or the impossibility of identifying with the values that drive life in one’s nation, represents perhaps the most emblematic characteristic of being “foreign”, however much this can then be broken down into a wide spectrum of subtleties. Foreigners in one’s own nation but still patriots, foreigners in one’s own society, foreigners because excluded or marginal compared to the choices of one’s own country, foreigners because in disagreement with the future of one’s homeland. These are, as we said, subtleties, but each one is the result of an inevitable management process: a nation that can no longer keep all of its members on board struggles to keep them happily occupied, and above all obedient.
Whoever remains outside of this dynamic becomes a foreigner. It would seem to be a natural process of rejection, but widening our perspective on a historic scale it is easy to see that very often “foreigners in their own country” (the secret revolutionary societies in 19th-century Italy called Carbonari, segregated minorities, revolutionaries, opponents of the system, etc.) have been the driving force behind fundamental transformations. This is the starting point for the theme of “foreigners” that animates the third autumn festival of Turin’s Fondazione del Teatro Stabile. Given the on-going celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, and having chosen not to mark the festival with a consecutive numerical order, Prospettiva will be identified by “150”, highlighting as always the choice of meaning that has accompanied its programming. In this way, the festival pins on its breast the red, white and green cockade, while at the same time trying to offer the public an alternative critical pathway, winding through the works of writers, directors, companies and young artists with a foreign voice. The 2011 edition will be packed with international guests, both illustrious names and new discoveries, who in fact constitute the majority of our programme. Thomas Ostermeier will present his moving version of Achternbusch’s Susn, Krystian Lupa will direct Prezydentki by the controversial Werner Schwab and Guy Cassiers will bring his production of Jeroen Brouwers’s Sunken Red. The Gob Squad will paint a revolutionary picture with Revolution Now!, Iranian director Reza Servati will put on a grotesque cabaret with his Strange Creatures and Pete Brooks and imitating the dog will open the doors of their gothic Hotel Methuselah to the public. Foreigners in their own country include the dissident and ostracised artists of the Belarus Free Theatre, Armando Punzo and his Compagnia della Fortezza, Pathosformel accompanied by Port Royal, Anagoor and Laura Curino, Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, Tiziano Scarpa with two members of Marlene Kuntz and Marco Baliani. They will be joined by artists and performances shared with some of Prospettiva 150’s historic partners: Torinodanza will share the Italian Dance Platform, the contemporary circus and the Italian premiere of Maguy Marin’s new work; the Festival Incanti will bring the Italian debut of the new show by the Bread and Puppet Theatre to the Carignano and the Sistema Teatro Torino will support the new production from Portage; and finally this year Club to Club will seal the closing of the third edition of Prospettiva with an even tighter knot and the official opening of the season dedicated to a great protector of “foreigners”, the Risorgimento-era Cristina di Belgiojoso. The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italian unification in the Prospettiva program will blend with a long line of “foreigners in their own country”, a variegated caravan that we hope can once again represent a new and dynamic driving force for our future.
Fabrizio Arcuri and Mario Martone