Robert Wilson's Lady from the Sea premieres May 5, at Ferrara's Teatro Comunale, on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Theatre. The play is one of the most expected and anticipated events in the season, marking Wilson's first direction in Italian language.
Starring the popular French actors Dominique Sanda (who played a major role in Vittorio De Sica's The Finzi Contini Garden, filmed in Ferrara in the late Sixties) and Philippe Leroy, the Italian production of Lady from the Sea will use a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic by Susan Sontag, who, structuring the play around monologues and dialogues, reduced the number of characters to one silent and five speaking parts, and the plot to 17 scenes. Susan Sontag will talk about her work in a public meeting scheduled for this afternoon at Ferrara's theatre.
Featuring costumes by top fashion designer Giorgio Armani (who is expected to attend tonight's premiere) and music by Michael Galasso, Lady from the Sea is a co-production between Ferrara's Teatro Comunale, Modena's Emilia Romagna Teatro and Change Performing Arts. Also featuring in the play are Umberto Ceriani, Giovanna Bozzolo, Luana Torelli and Cristian Anzalone.
The New York Times recently described Robert Wilson as "a towering figure in the world of experimental theater and an explorer in the uses of time and space on-stage. Trascending theatrical convention, he draws in other performance and graphic arts, which coalesce into an integrated tapestry of images and sound". Wilson has worked extensively in the most important theatres and opera houses around the world, collaborating with a number of internationally acclaimed artists, writers and musicians including German playwright Heiner Muller, singers and song writers Tom Waits and Lou Reed, poet Allen Ginsberg and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Many of his works have been shown in Italy, beginning with Deafman Glance in Rome (1971), and A Letter for Queen Victoria at the Spoleto Festival in 1974. Italian audiences have also seen Einstein on the Beach (Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 1976), the CIVIL warS - Rome Section (Teatro dell'Opera, Rome, 1984) and Salome (Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1984). In Italy he was awarded twice with the Premio Ubu and once with the Premio Abbiati from the Italian Music Critics Association. Susan Sontag, one of America's best known and most admired writers, joined Bob Wilson in 1993 in creating Alice in Bed, which was staged by Robert Wilson at the Shaubuhne in Berlin. Among her books are three novels, The Benefactor (1963), Death Kit (1967), and The Volcano Lover (1992) and a volume of short stories I, etcetera (1978). Her books are translated into twenty-three languages, and have received many prizes. Susan Sontag has made four feature-length films and directed plays in the United States, Italy and Bosnia, where she created a legendary production of Beckett's Waiting for Godot in beseiged Sarajevo. Her new novel, In America, will be published in early 1999.
Lady from the Sea will run in Ferrara thru May 10. The show will then move to Modena's Teatro Storchi (May 14-17), Udine's Teatro Nuovo (May 21-24) and Milan's Nuovo Piccolo Teatro (June 5-20), for the Piccole Grandi Magie Festival. Lady from the Sea will also play at the International Theatre Festival in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30-31.
Further information on Robert Wilson's latest production is available calling Ferrara's Teatro Comunale at +39 532 20.23.12.
--By Stefano Curti