Città Invisibili of Teatro Potlach: A Journey to Rediscover Our Cultural Heritage

Città Invisibili of Teatro Potlach: A Journey to Rediscover Our Cultural Heritage

Vincenzo Sansone (University of Palermo, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0680-5.ch020


Città Invisibili is a multidisciplinary art project made by the Italian company Teatro Potlach. Compared to the canonical theatrical performances, Città Invisibili, being in its essence a site-specific performance, interacts with the place where it grows. With the project, the Italian group builds next to the existing space of the place (physical space and memory space) other two spaces, the space of the staging and the space of the performer, using different materials, in particular cloths and video projections. Moreover Teatro Potlach conducts a historical, anthropological and social research trying to bring out the latent memory of places. All these interventions bring out from the place a city never seen before, invisible to the eyes of its inhabitants, but present and buried in the meanderings of their memory. The objective is to bring out this memory so that the inhabitants preserve and hand down it to new generations.
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The Origins Of Teatro Potlach And Città Invisibili

In 1975 Pino Di Buduo, the founder of Teatro Potlach, attends to a performance of the Odin Teatret, Min Fars Hus (My father's house) and he is entranced. He meets Eugenio Barba and talks him about his research and his passion for cultural anthropology and folklore. Barba intrigued by the enthusiasm of that young man invited him to Denmark to attend to an international seminar of theatrical practices, called International Brigade. The young Di Buduo leaves for Denmark with Daniela Regnoli. Here they face a strange situation. The practices that were performed during the seminar had not apparently nothing to do with the theatre: physical exercises such as jumping, racing and somersaults, what today is called physical training and that is the basis for the actor. After this experience, in 1976, Pino Di Buduo and Daniela Regnoli founded Teatro Potlach in Fara Sabina, near Rome.

In cultural anthropology the word potlatch is particularly important. It is a term that belongs to the Indian tribes of the northern Canada and it means gift, exchange, barter, wastefulness. During the great winter festivals the tribe used to solemnize the celebrations with songs, dances, banquets that ended with the distribution of gifts. Those who had received these gifts replied with other gifts. Teatro Potlach refers to this logic, placing it at the basis of its training, its education, its own poetry and the creation of theatrical events.

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