An Athlete of The Heart


The Actor Swinging Between East and West

An Athlete of the Heart: the actor singing between East and West was created in 1999, when Mario Barzaghi and Rosalba Genovese founded Teatro dell’Albero.

This demonstration show is not simply based on Kathakali. The Indian dance theatre represents the starting point to establish connections between eastern and western actor art. The dancers of Kathakali start to learn dance in their childhood, undergoing a long and arduous apprenticeship to be recognized as actors at the age of forty, after thirty years of hard work. The western actors of the present time generally approach the actor art in adulthood. The eastern theatre, apparently so far from our culture, presents some elements which may be found also in western theatre tradition. From 1999 to the present day Teatro dell’Albero has started a study relating to the actor art of the XXth century paying particular attention to the great actors of the Italian theatre tradition, such as Eduardo De Filippo. In his work as an actor we can find elements and principles shared by both western and eastern theatres which can be summarized by the words “dissociation” and “rhythm” , both present in all the great actors of western theatre tradition. This study is at the origin of An Athlete of the Heart: the Actor swinging between East and West.

The demonstration show is articulated in the following way:

  1. Presentation of the Katakhali fragment relating to Hanuman. SYNOPSIS. Hanuman, the king of monkeys, is the son of the Wind and of a Queen monkey. He’s absorbed in meditation when a strong noise awakes him. He wonders what’s happening. Following the principles of yoga he tries to clean lymphatics by means of a drenage to reach a deeper meditation. But noise persists and becomes deafening. Firstly he thinks of a collision between mountains as these used to have wings and often collided with each other. But now things have changed since Indra, the chief of gods, has cut their wings fixing mountains to the ground. Therefore Hanuman goes to the sound source to understand the origin of the noise. He sees a man, a kind of Indian Ercules who crosses the forest uprooting and cutting down trees. He approaches and recognizes Bhima, his younger brother (Hanuman and Bhima are stepbrothers, born from the Wind but from different mothers). Hanuman decides to hard test Bhima’s strength to teach him truth. He transforms in an old monkey and hinders Bhima’s path to give him a moral lesson “to overcome the obstacles of life you must use the power of mind not violence.”
  2. Undressing and explanation of the story
  3. Actor training based on dissociation and rhythm
  4. Extrapolation of the show “Frammenti divini di un viaggio in Inferno”

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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