directed by Enzo Moscato
with Enzo Moscato
set and costumes by Tata Barbalato
PremiereNaples, Teatro Bruttini, 1992
Enzo Moscato’s Spirit Party
by Carlo Titomanlio
“A very bare room, with a table, two chairs, a vertical coatrack. The two chairs are one facing the other, as if awaiting to host a colloquium. The table, on the other hand, seems to be set as if what was going to happen was a little dinner party amongst friends”.
The above is the initial stage direction of Compleanno (‘Birthday’, 1992), the incipit of what you might be moved to imagine as a sort of conversation piece. In fact, one of the chairs will stay empty, indisputably signalling an absence, and no real dialogue will occur: only a long stream of consciousness, pronounced by the only character on stage. And as he moves around the room, ready for a birthday party, the character will (re)evoke a gallery of “characters from a metropolitan bestiary (…), of hybrid existential grafts” (Moscato, 1999). There’s a cat called Rosinella who is searched for and called for repeatedly with sighs and whispers (“Rusiné, Rusiné, Rusiné”), there’s a woman called Ines who seems to be the figure towards whom the story is addressed (Ines, it should be notes, is the anagram of ‘sine’, Latin for ‘without’, yet another marker of absence); and then there’s Spinoza, whose biography we hear, impossible like a Latin-American soap opera (the daughter of transsexual parents, both operated on in Casablanca, born in a test-tube and named Spinoza not as an homage to the philosopher but because of her difficult, angular personality – ‘spinoso’ in Italian means ‘spiky’, ‘thorny’). These are ectoplasmic figures, ironic traces of contemporary stories, simulacra of an innate Neapolitan theatricality. Called out of a timeless dimension, the evoked characters enter a rhythmic and alienating chain of refrains, something akin to object theatre but also reminiscent of Beckett’s absurdist comedies.