Pippo DelbonoPippo Delbono
26 July 2016

Let's meet Pippo Delbono

26 Jul  16:00passage

moderator: Marina Fabbri

Pippo Delbono

As an Italian stage and film director, actor, screenwriter, writer, and producer, Pippo Delbono is regarded as one of the most interesting artists in contemporary European theater. The founder of the Compagnia Pippo Delbono creative collective, he was born in 1959 in the town of Varazze in the region of Liguria. While attending high school, he met Argentine actor Pepe Robledo, a member of Libre Teatro Libre, and they moved to Denmark together in the early 1980s. The young Delbono studied acting with the Farfa artistic group under the guidance of stage actress Iben Nagel Rasmussen from the Odin Teatret. He traveled the world, visiting China and India, among other places. He returned to Italy in the mid-1980s. He made his debut as a theater director with Season for Assassins (Il tempo degli Assassins, 1987). One of the most important meetings of his creative life took place that same year when he joined Pina Bausch and her Wuppertaler Tanztheater for one show. The legendary German choreographer taught him the power that dance can have on stage. Indeed, dance has been one of the constant elements in Delbono's repertoire, having first appeared in The Wall (Il muro, 1992). That same year, he made the only adaptation of a stage play in his entire career, Henry V (Enrico V), in which he played the title role.

Delbono's work is characterized by its "totality," hybridity, use of counterpoints, and thorough reinterpretation. In honor of the late master of Italian cinema Pier Paolo Pasolini, he made Anger (La rabbia, 1995), which was followed by one of his most acclaimed works, Homeless (I Barboni, 1997). The latter play saw the very first appearance of one of his favorite collaborators, the deaf-mute Bobo. In 1998, his company added a former tramp named Nelson Laricci and one of his mother's students, a boy with Down syndrome named Gianluca Ballarè. His subsequent projects became much more complex, particularly in terms of logistics, with as many as 40 actors on stage at once, as inIthaca (Itaca, 1998). Her bjiit premiered at the Biennale in Venice in 1995, a time when the composition of his theater company was starting to solidify.

Delbono combines his private and artistic lives, using his memories, real-life events, and family issues as material for his plays and films. As an artist, he is literally and figuratively stripped down in front of his audiences. Breaking conventions and taboos, he speaks openly about his sexual orientation and his disease. His troupe is extremely diverse. Delbono rejects the label "social theater": the physical and mental differences of his colleagues are a metaphor for his artistic activities and philosophy.

As a director, he is known for his unusual combinations of images and songs. In the case of Plastic People(Gente di plastica, 2002), for example, he combines fragments from Sarah Kane's poetic testament with music by Frank Zappa. In 2006, he made the autobiographical Scream (Grido), for which he received a number of awards both in Italy and abroad. In 2009, he used a mobile phone to shoot the avant-garde film essay Fear (La paura), which he developed further inCarnal Love (Amore Carne, 2011). In 2013, he made the most scandalous of his documentaries, Blood(Sangue), an award winner in Locarno, in which he talks about his mother's death and his friendship with the former leader of the terrorist Red Brigades. The painful loss of his mother provided the impetus for him to make the play Orchids(2014). 2015 saw the premiere of his latest short film, The Visit (La Visite), which was shot at the Palace of Versailles. Known all around the world, the Compagnia Pippo Delbono has performed at the theater festival in Avignon and in other major European capitals. The company has also performed in Poznan and Krakow. His latest play, The Gospel (Vangelo, 2016), will premiere in Wrocław in the fall.


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