Instrument 3 : cage sculpture

year 2009 duration 70'
"The unbearable heaviness of being"
Choreography and direction Roberto Zappalà
Original music Alfio Antico (live played) and Paula Matthusen

Other music John Cage

Lights, set, costumes: Roberto Zappalà
Dancers: Daniela Bendini, Adriano Coletta, Fernando Roldan Ferrer
Musician (drums) Alfio Antico
photos: Antonio Caia, Filippo Sinopoli
A coproduction by
compagnia zappalà danza
Scenario Pubblico performing arts
in collaboration with
ArtEZ Dansacademie (NL)
Pergine Spettacolo Aperto
Stichting Theaterwerkplaats Generale Oost (NL)
and with the support of
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
Instrument 3: cage sculpture is the third step from the project Instruments, through which Roberto Zappalà, on the way of his recent choreographic journey, explores the bodyin relationship with the sound, the noise, the music. Therefore, with the collaboration of the musicians involved in the productions from the same project,the choreographer made an interesting research on some unusual instruments:
after the “marranzano” (jew’s harp) from the Sicilian tradition in Instrument 1, and the swiss hang in Instrument 2, with Instrument 3 Zappalà dealt with the handmade drums of the extraordinary musician Alfio Antico.
A modern disease…
Could this word summarise the condition of current Western society?
Is the XXI° century the age of paranoia?
Maybe. Maybe we are no longer able to define reality – not even the reality closest to us – without using the filter of paranoia; a filter capable of altering reality as well as disengaging ourselves from any personal responsibility. If we believe there are people out there capable of hurting us, we can simply blame it on them.
Paranoia – however serious or irrelevant, pathological or transient – is like a giant carpet under which to hide all the things that don’t go as they should go or simply don’t go the direction they are supposed to go. A carpet so big that it wouldn’t be difficult to hide ourselves beneath.
Paranoia is the woodworm that eats its way into us; it damages the spider web that is our life – we so laboriously build day after day – to an irreparable extent.
Nello Calabrò
‘Paranoids are like poets. They were born that way.’ J. A . Fieschi 1980
Modern clowns withdrawn yet driven towards a movement that becomes increasingly dramatic. An excessive, blazing energy, contained by the nervous release of the body: heads move at fast and mechanical rhythm, hands are open and fingers are stretched to the extreme, feet tap and beat, bodies bend and twist. The vocabulary revolves around the obsessive variation of a focused and brave movement, with respect to the theme of the show, which has its peak in the three mid solos. Impressive presence of Alfio Antico, who leads the three dancers with his drums to a paroxysmal dance which only placates with the ending musical quotation from Fellini’s Amarcord…’ Francesca Pedroni, Il manifesto
“…Movements, postures, accelerations, glances, presence and absence, the relationship of the three dancers – dressed like clowns – with the space are carefully examined, even though they seem to naturally spring from the internal movement (i.e. the emotion) of those who finally show their neurosis, freeing themselves from it or accepting it as a central component of the human being. A cage which to escape from or accept as a symbol of our partial, limited yet not paralysed being…’ Paolo Randazzo, Centonove
The paroxysmal dance – enduring evidence of the virtuosity of the performers – does not flatten the theme of the performance to a mere single perspective. There are enough elements – not lacking in irony – and quotations that make it intriguing and open in its meaning, ranging from an homage to Fellini to the ‘prepared’ piano of Cage, from a music box composition of Lili Marlene to the vigorous performance of Alfio Antico and its drums on stage. It is an intense performance that develops among sneers and smiles, contraction and release, silence and noise, spasms and sighs; you are left with a certain sense of uneasiness despite the amenable ending…” Roberto Giambrone, Danza&Danza
…In the intense and well ruled psycho-physical and vocal evolutions, the contact with the ground seems reduced to a minimum: the ‘lifts’ are limited and the three bodies, fragile and torn by madness, move within a ‘middle ground’, possessed and thoughtful, while a music box composition of Lili Marlene plays with them before they turn smiling and mocking to the audience…” Carmelita Celi, La Sicilia
The first phase of research of this project was initiated by choreographer Roberto Zappalà within the frame of the programme ‘Atelier a domicilio – workshops and creations made to measure for young dancers’ in May 2009, in Arnhem (Netherlands). The choreographer developed a thorough research on movement taking as a starting point the music composed by Paula Matthausen, inspired by John Cage. Hence the Cagean subtitle ‘I have nothing to say’.
The second phase of research, carried out within Pergine Spettacolo Aperto in July 2009, led to the creation of ‘cage sculpture’, produced as part of the ‘Atelier a domicilio’ programme. This project dealt with the issue of ‘lunacy’, which had first been touched upon by the choreographer in 24 préludes. The use of irony in movement seems to predicate the need of ‘lunacy’ itself. In this project, the poetic vision becomes pure aesthetics; unchained dance on stage becomes a metaphor for ‘lunacy’.
The second phase of research took in elements which had spontaneously arisen during the process; this led to deepen the analysis around the concept of ‘lunacy’, highlighting the neurosis produced by our mind over our body, which dance can translate into an accurate aesthetic language.
The new creation Instrument 3: cage sculpture focuses on the aesthetics of movement; a captivating union between dance and music played live by percussionist Alfio Antico.