In comparison with body mass, the heart is a small muscle: I want to write about Santarcangelo 40 and try to lay bare the red keystone that powers it.
I imagine it as a central propulsor of flows, explosions, and grafts. An explosion creates breaches, cracks, dust, and rubble… it destroys but prepares the land for sowing, for alternative crops and prodigious “urban allotments”.
Portage proposes deflagration as a creative gesture, an apparently destructive act that presupposes a deep transformation, radical change: contagion between outer and inner. And now I need meaningful, unique acts that can blow up what is superfluous and mannerist.
I see Santarcangelo 40 as an explosion of red. A color is forgotten by politics and fashion. Maybe because it’s too gaudy? Or too awkward? Tritely it’s the color of passion, the color of blood, the color of revolt: l write this with a brazen sense of nostalgia that I live with shamelessly. I see the young Greeks squaring up to a highly armed police force with plain red flags, and I am moved. Then I imagine artists overall as powerful detonators who, with little means and sharply honed words, tackle an institutional apparatus barricaded within itself, blinded by its own lust for power. They create breaches and, sometimes, also find wise allies…
I feed on these images to resist the temptation of dozing off, to go on believing in the potency of risk.
This festival, which is not merely a festival, winds through the unpredictable; it welcomes, like an expectant “red” page, proposals that dialogue with extremes, margins, zones of the interchange. The town’s courtyards, streets, piazzas, and private houses host artistic events that question every day, stir up the quiet life, “dirty” the theatre with pieces of world that are awkward or over the top: they relaunch and amplify the question “Who is my neighbor?” to which we are dedicating a meeting and a series of documentaries by young film students.
This festival, which is not merely a festival, is a gathering, a flock, a throng of people who want dialogue among themselves and with everybody willing to pause even for only a moment. To be indifferent or partisan? This is what the performer Valentina Vetturi asks the public. And in this question lies the urgency of Santarcangelo at forty: the current Italian government is cashing in on indifference, relegating culture and research to the realm of uselessness, decreeing our disappearance. It won’t be so easy. Think of the immense propulsive power, “singular and plural”, that each artistic act carries within… We are few but many.
We’ve invited a lot of artists who interact with the spectator, breaking down the barriers which in conventional theatre separate those “on the show” and those who watch. Another boundary explodes and the whole public becomes an actor, a fundamental part of the work: the Red posters await proposals, as do the projects “Vorrei e potrei” and “Strike!”, and all the participating artists who question the here and now from various corners of the planet, from Japan to Lebanon and Argentina…
This festival, which is not merely a festival, has a fiery red center, Pantone red 186 C, which overflows from the theatre and spreads in several directions. It’s a festival made up of artists who open new windows instead of closing them. And in spite of the gloomy and intolerant climate, they ESCape into the open air, stretch out and breathe. Without fears. To seek together the origin and specificity of the word festival, which cannot be a show window but a place of risk, of discovery, of laying oneself on the line, of communion.
We are children of an age that frightens with its impermeableness to… to everything! A today that screams, that doesn’t find tomorrow knocking from outside, and art listens, documents and transcribes the multi-layer world into its own languages.
Simple meditated and necessary gestures that lay the foundations of a shared epiphany. An explosion imagined in the black of the theatre creates deep bonds with the outside, with natural light, with the sounds of the town. Long shadows emerge from the cracks and climb the walls out of all proportion until they become vertical, enormous. They do not last long, they are evanescent like every show, but they may leave indelible traces in the memory.
And elicit action.