Having opened in May 1955, the Teatro Stabile in Turin is one of the most important artistic institutions in Italy. Since 1977, its main productions have been officially hosted at the Teatro Carignano, a wonderful performance space in typical Italian style (875 seats) inaugurated in 1753. The list of its artistic directors includes names of some of the most famous Italian theatre masters including Gianfranco De Bosio, Gian Renzo Morteo, Franco Enriquez, Aldo Trionfo, Mario Missiroli, Ugo Gregoretti, Luca Ronconi, Gabriele Lavia, Massimo Castri, Walter Le Moli, Mario Martone, and Valerio Binasco.

The Teatro Stabile was the first Italian institution able to build a relationship between schools and urban suburbs, with a special attention on theatrical animation. In 2006, it produced the monumental staging realized for the XX Winter Olympic Games, Progetto Domani created by Luca Ronconi, who also founded the prestigious School for Actors in 1992. Another memorable event is the presence of Harold Pinter (Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005) at the Teatro Carignano for the Europe Theatre Prize in 2007.

A precious part in the Teatro Stabile is its Study Centre (founded in 1974 and officially declared a research institute in 2009), which contains a library and digital archive. The multiple collections are constantly available, and the courtesy of the staff makes it a real paradise for the scholars. Moreover, in 2015 the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism (MIBACT) declared the Teatro Stabile the National Theatre.

Dr. Filippo Fonsatti, director of the Teatro Stabile, announces the closing of Teatro Carignano and Teatro Gobetti in Turin, and Fonderie Limone in Moncalieri (#stranointerludio 0, March 16, 2020).

In these hard times of COVID-19, activity in all Italian theatres has been suspended. The reaction of the Teatro Stabile is proof of Italian resilience against the difficulties of this moment; in fact, in order to maintain the relationship with the audience they have organized a series of short videos entitled #stranointerludio (#strangeinterlude). Its artistic and spiritual aim is clear: during the emergency, the best solution is not despair because of disastrous effects on the country’s economy and incalculable damages. It is better to consider this forced pause as a “strange interlude” with a special function: a reflection on our present, linked to the preservation of new ideas and energy for our future.

Valerio Binasco, Artistic Director of the Teatro Stabile (#stranointerludio 1, March 16, 2020).

Using all of its virtual channels, the Teatro Stabile is proposing a variety of videos that testify to the zeal the artists and directors have for their work. The result is a great gift for the audience, who live in lockdown for the health of the country. In fact, the absence of human contact does not mean the absence of emotions and collective strength needed for this necessary sacrifice.

The season has been abruptly interrupted and many productions have been stopped, even before their openings. “The space for the rehearsal is deserted, but not abandoned. It is full of our life”, declares the director Valerio Binasco, who is working on View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller. His sad eyes eloquently express his deep sorrow for this situation. The national premiere was supposed to be on May 19, 2020, at the Teatro Carignano. As Artistic Director of Teatro Stabile, he has a message of confident hope for the audience, which reflects the moral and civic values of his artistic institution: “The most beautiful staging will be our rediscovery”.

The actress Maria Paiato (#stranointerludio 2, March 17, 2020) had interrupted the staging of An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen.

For future generations, the videos of #stranointerludio will also offer direct evidence of the abrupt moment all productions were suspended. An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen was planned at the Teatro Carignano from 18th February to 1st March 2020, but COVID-19 meant it ended on 23rd February 2020. The notable actress Maria Paiato played the role of Peter Stockman, in drag: “Now a piece of the staging is at home with me, because my haircut was created for the role of Mayor Stockman”.

The role of Doctor Thomas Stockman – the younger brother of Peter – was played by Massimo Popolizio, who was also the director. In a short video, he expressed a hope to offer Ibsen’s play in the next season and, as a consolation for the present situation in Italy, he read a poem by Roman vernacular poet Trilussa, entitled Shake hand (La stretta di mano). Written a century ago, it is perfect as a description of the precautions in this moment.

The actor and director Massimo Popolizio (#stranointerludio 3, March 19, 2020) had interrupted Maria Paiato during the staging of An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen.

Obviously, the international projects of the Teatro Stabile are also suspended because of COVID-19: Tartuffe by Molière, directed by Oskaras Koršunovas (from 15 to 18 April 2020), a performance in Lithuanian with Italian surtitles, and Revisor by Nikolay Gogol, with the Company Kidd Pivot directed by Crystal Pite (from 6 to 8 May 2020).

The new videos of #stranointerludio are available on the official website of Teatro Stabile, as many artists cannot work in Turin, but want to stay close to their audiences. Italian resilience against COVID-19 has many forms of expression, from the balcony performance to online resources. They share a common element: the spiritual safety of the people through art, because this is the basic element needed to reconstruct our future.



This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Maria Pia Pagani.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.