Ruins Memories (2010)

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Could there be a more thrilling site for a site-specific performance -- ruins of ancient Roman town houses, protected under a roof at the Santa Giulia Museum in Brescia, Italy. Manuela Bondavalli & I conceived this work as seven ‘stations’ along pathways through the ruins, with audiences of 50 at a time moving through the site along with the performers.

We took our themes from the site:  Fragments  everywhere: of walls & daily objects. Imagining hundreds of years’ eating, sleeping, loving, fighting, crying, cheering, screaming, falling silent, worshipping & dying right there among the tiles & walls. The ghosts that haunt the place. Manuela & I both knew we needed to let the audience be IN the site by catalyzing intense seeing & sensing.

During the process, I realized our Italian performers are the descendants of the actual inhabitants, & they probably look very much like them. They’d grown up among these ruins – which were both familiar & very special to them. Performers were both inhabitants & witnesses of the site, as was the audience. The experience for all of us & the audience was hair-raising, emotional, deeply satisfying.

We’re grateful for permission to create & perform at such a phenomenal site. This was the only time Le Domus dell'Ortaglia was open to the public at night!

Created in collaboration with Manuela Bondavalli, & with dancers & actors of Container Arti Performative, with additional performers by invitation: Laura Bertini, Lavinia Cascone, Francesco De Gennaro, Mariasole Dell'Aversana, Astrid Gelaudemans, Francesco De Gennaro, Anna Massaro, Yvonne Ng, Enrica Olivari, Daniela Pietta, Claudia Rossi, Gabriella Tanfoglio. A project of Container12 Festival 2010.

A medley of energy, expression, emotion & physicality, like roots
that propagate ... in a context  that's hugely significant.

Silvia Musesti