Teatro dei Luoghi (Theatre in Places) was launched by Italian LD Fabrizio Crisafulli and the Pudore Bene in Vista company in 1991, with the intention of creating pieces based on the character of places of historical or architectural interest, or staging the company's performances in unusual spaces. The performances point out the inadequacy of traditional theatrical venues (from a cultural and technical point of view) and a general negligence regarding the places involved.
This year's events in the program included one held in Crisafulli's birthplace, the Sicilian town of Catania: the performance, entitled Balate, took its name from the large blocks of ice produced around the clock to supply the town's fishing fleet and restaurants. It was held in the fish market in the old part of the town, an area often considered off-limits due to its high crime rate. But Crisafulli reports that "the population was very kind to our team and a great help in preparing the show."
Crisafulli also produced four other events for this ongoing program, staged during Volterra Teatro 98, Italy's leading avant-garde theatre festival, held in the Tuscan town of Volterra and the surrounding area, famous for its alabaster craftsmen. These were solo theatrical dance performances by Giovanni Summo (co-writer of the works), who also had the job of guiding audiences through the installations.
At the Teatro dei Coraggiosi, a recently renovated 19th-century gem of a theatre, the hall/stage relationship was inverted, with the audience onstage and the majority of the action taking place in the hall and boxes (pictured). The action began on the stage and in the flies, using stage mechanisms to create highly effective ironic images based on operatic theatre. The curtain then rose on the hall, where Summo danced among the red seats and in and out of the boxes, which were continuously transformed by the LD's lighting and projections.
Another of the multimedia installations was called White, because it moved through the old part of Volterra's city center, stopping for a scene in each of three alabaster workshops.
Besides a scene in which Summo performed in a huge raw alabaster stockpile, on which other rocks were projected, there was another in which a series of 19th-century plaster models appeared as if by magic out of the darkness. Light images created by a conference room-type overhead projector, a "fixture" fitted with custom "gobos" and frequently used by Crisafulli alongside traditional theatre lighting (besides slide and video projectors) created this effect.
Summo's dancing was based on the different poses in which the models had been positioned, and the rhythm was provided by the noise of one of the workshop's lathes. These performances had to be repeated several times each evening because, although the shows played to SRO audiences, alabaster workshops aren't the most spacious of venues.