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Palazzo Borgia del Casale
July 21, 2021
Carmelinda Gentile
September 21, 2021
Bacchae 2021 - Chorus of Bacchae - Ph. © Franca Centaro x AFI_Sr


Sparagmos and machines on the stage.

Carlus Padrissa’s Euripides teaches us to disobey.

Without disappointing any expectations, from the very first moments “The Bacchae” by Carlus Padrissa has the spectator immersed in a theatrical catharsis full of bright contemporary colours. The destructive spark of disobedience, so well-known in the theatre of Euripides, finds its place between the orchestra and the cavea of the theatre and so the Deus ex machina and the Chaos become contemporary. As in 5th-century Athens, bowed at the end of the Peloponnesian War, today’s spectators are attracted by a “metatheatre”, inside a society still shaken by the primordial “injustices” which regulate our social relationships.
La Fura dels Baus, the company which accompanies Padrissa’s direction, renders the modern revolution visible; acrobats and tow-cranes, drivers of machines and unusual music are the soul of this experimentation with the “urban and postmodern” tone which the Catalan company has made its hallmark.
Bacchae 2021 - Dioniso (Lucia Lavia) - Ph.F.Centaro x AFI_Sr
Bacchae 2021 - Agave (Linda Gennari) - Ph.F.Centaro x AFI_Sr
The originality of the performance examines and reveals the relationship between ancient theatre and the complex gender culture of the 21st century; and so the narrative focus of the Bacchae, while respecting the Euripidean text which so shook the Athenian souls, rereads the themes of folly and social disorder in the name of a deity who seems to want to break the patrilineal succession of the Greek Olympus. Throughout the whole play a doubt lingers: is Dionysus truly a woman? Yes, despite all the critical reconstructions which have written about the various faces of Dionysus, who also possesses a strong feminine character, here the God changes sex. Without a doubt, it is Dionisia who manifests herself to the city of Thebes of Cadmus and Pentheus; it is Dionisia who guides the women to the Kithairon Mountain, where madness equals the collapse of the laws of men which govern the city. And it’s from the Kithairon Mountain, symbol of feminist struggles, that a horde of Bacchae rushes through the public to rebel against the violence caused by men.
While Euripides at the end of his tragic voyage didn’t answer the question of whether the origin of Chaos was the Gods, or the disorder of life was an effect of divine will, here the disorder is a return to order, to the equality of the sexes. And since it is a tragedy, the epiphany of Dionisia who appears from above, suspended together with her acrobatic Bacchae, happens through the symbolic death of Pentheus, the man who imprisons those women who revolt against the laws of inequality. The disorder of rebellion, the despair of the flesh, these will be the catharsis through which Order is achieved.
It’s impossible not to mention the powerful scenography which animates the evenings in the Greek theatre of Siracusa. It tells us what the words have left unsaid: the spirit of Dionysius which crashes into that of Apollo. The eternal fight between irrational and rational finds its solution with the victory of the world of women!
Bacchae 2021 - Suspended Chorus - Ph.F.Centaro x AFI_Sr
Bacchae 2021 - Penteo (Ivan Graziano) - Ph.F.Centarox AFI_Sr
This is what we believe we saw during the performance of “The Bacchae” and to honour “the dream in Catalan and Greek” of Padrissa and Fura dels Baus, perhaps we could also remember Calderón de la Barca. His “Vida es sueno” is still dramatically realistic, in the face of unstoppable gender violence.
Bacchae 2021 - Dioniso (Lucia Lavia) and Penteo (Ivan Graziano) - Ph.F.Centaro x AFI_Sr
Bacchae 2021 - Dioniso (Lucia Lavia) e Chorus of Bacchae Ph-Franca Centaro x AFI_Sr

She teaches history of art, is President of the Association SiciliAntica for the province of Siracusa. She took care of the formation and applied teaching of cultural heritage, she worked in an Ethnographic museum in Noto, was expert on the subject at the Faculty of Architecture, curated various publications on the theme of technological innovation applied to cultural heritage. She writes for SiracusaCulture.