May 24, 2011 - May 26, 2011 21:00
We have built an island, imaginary and yet very real. Its ground is made of layers of clothes, objects and furnishings sprung out of drawers, basements, attics and old theatre trunks. This island has no laws: those who visit it are completely free to transform themselves, to remould their identity by the minute. It’s definitely a freedom reminding that of children’s games. And with an eye to the “child who wouldn’t grow up” par excellence, James B. Barrie’s Peter Pan, we have named our island Never Never Neverland. We are aware, though, of the ambiguity and dangers underlying every attempt to return to childhood, as witnessed by Neverland, the disturbing residence that once belonged to the shining and aching pop icon Michael Jackson, one of those to whom we pay tribute in this play. We give vent to our desire of endless metamorphosis indulging in a series of playful camouflages; yet, these very games serve as a critical and alienating mirror of the childishness within our consumer society.
The contemporary childishness is the focus of a network of issues we have been facing while working on Never Never Neverland: gender identity, relationships, the body representation, myths and products of the mass culture… Topics long cherished by the Teatro delle Moire and contributed to by Renato Gabrielli, a playwright who takes part in our adventure experiencing his first time as a dramaturg in a performative work. Together with him, we have perused a great number of textual and audiovisual materials: from Peter Pan to Ferdydurke by Gombrowicz; from Mine-Haha by Wedekind to Premiers matériaux pour une théorie de la Jeune-Fille; from Father and Son by Sokurov to Michael Jackson’s videos and many biographies. This research and analysis process – still ongoing and source of future hints for the following legs of our three-year project – was joined by a long phase of free improvisations by the four performers. Confronted with simple and embarrassing questions on the meaning and the possible “truth” of our presence on stage, we have thus given shape – dress after dress, metamorphosis after metamorphosis – to an island of endless possibilities. In the last step of our work, we had to forgo much of what we had discovered while improvising, in an attempt to offer the audience not so much a synthesis as a foreshortened, rhapsodic and inspiring vision of our Never Never Neverland.
The figures arising from this vision – funny, exposed, wounded, angry, graceful – are all looking for acknowledgement, however ephemeral, and, after all, for a little love. Hard is the life on this world, they seem to tell us. A running world that doesn’t tolerate frailty.