Babilonia Teatri: biographical notes
by Renata Savo
Enrico Castellani and Valeria Raimondi, both from the region of Verona, in 2006 engaged in a research after undergoing a “training” with the company Viva Opera Circus founded in 2000 by Gianni Franceschini. Gianni Franceschini was one of the founders of Aida, a structure for producing and housing the theatre for boys and girls, in Verona.
2005 is the year that established the bases for future developments: Raimondi and Castellani have since been more and more involved in organizing educational workshops with children and elderly persons, as well as with the inmates of the prison of Montorio. Ricordi di Guerra, ricordi d’Amore, the so-called «non-show», was actually done in that year: somehow it foreshadowed the method of doing theatre devised for Pinocchio (2012): a theatre consisting of bringing out the autobiographical story of each of the characters on the stage, in this case the elderly of the house Pia Opera Ceccarelli: wearing their everyday clothes and standing in a semicircle, one at a time spoke of himself, following the simple instructions of the directors.
Their work in the prison was on the same wavelength, allowing them to leave all conventions connected with the staging of a performance behind: the first work , Cabaret Babilonia, was inspired by the war in Iraq, they being the spokesmen of an antimilitarist declaration. The title recalled the ancient Mesopotamia city, not far from Baghdad, but according to Stefano Casi’s suggestion, it was «also the evocation of an elsewhere, a legendary door between past and present, a Biblical incarnation of evil»; the style was that of the cabaret as well as that of Karl Valentin’s tragicomic and absurd theatre. The show was never performed, but it left a clarifying mark as to what path to take, and the name of that chaotic city, symbolic of both fusion and confusion of cultures, would be kept for the name chosen for the company when in 2006 it would take part in the Premio Scenario, dedicated to the theatre of the youth.