Meeting with Pippo Delbono, one of the most influential theatre directors in Europe.
Pippo Delbono will be a guest at this year's MFF T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, as well as the subject of a retrospective.
PIPPO DELBONO was born in 1959 in the Italian town of Varazze. He is a writer, director, actor and dancer. In 1997 he began producing a series of theatrical projects in collaboration with professional actors, as well as amateur artists with various degrees of mental disability (the most recognisable of whom is Bobo – a deaf-mute octogenarian who spent 45 years in a closed psychiatric facility by Naples), as well as with tramps and illegal immigrants. This is how Compagnia Pipo Delbono came to be. The performances bear many traces of the carnivalesuqe, where the sacred and the profane coexist, as do truth and confabulation, ecstasy and calm, descent into the abyss and return to reality, tears and laughter. The director often says, “I would like my performances to be a sort of dream which begins with a ‘good evening’ directed to the audience, which then allows them to fly away, lift off from the ground and dream”. It may be for that reason that Ludwik Flaszen called Pippo Delbono “the last theatrical magician in Europe”.
Pippo Delbono’s theatre is also about the constant examination of one’s memory, getting lost in the crooks and crannies of one’s own history, one’s soul. The most important of subjects - death, the closeness of which the director - who suffers from AIDS - has experienced for many years. As Gelles Renault put it in “Liberation”, “you have to be completely indifferent to not be moved in one way or another by this story full of humanism which has been weaved by the director for almost quarter of a century from performance to performance, and also from book to film”. Delbono also authors scripts for his plays, as well as being a film director of mostly documentaries. Some of them (Guerra, Grido, La Paura) have been presented and have won awards on film festivals in Venice, Rome and Locarno.
In 2009, Pippo Delbono received the New Theatrical Realities award, part of the European Theatrical Award granted to artists who create new theatrical language. The director has performed at Malta Festival Poznań many times: in 1998 with his play Barboni, in 2008 with Urlo, in 2009 with La Menzogna, and in 2011 with After the Battle. This year he will come to Poznań with the play Orchidee.
As Delbono puts it, the new play grew out of a “vital, all-embracing desire to, despite everything, still write and talk about love”. He adds, “Orchidee, like all of my plays, is an attempt to stop time while I am living. Stop my time, the time of my group, the people who have been with me for many years, and also the time we all live in - Italians, Europeans, citizens of the world. A time of confusion in which I myself, and I believe many others, feel lost… as if we have forfeited something. Maybe it is faith - our political, revolutionary, human or spiritual faiths”.