TOWARD THE 2012 MEETING/ Here comes Crime and punishment50 students brought to Moscow the theatre of Dostoevsky. And now they are coming to Rimini
We here publish the article originally printed in the March Newsletter of the Meeting on one of the next edition’s shows that will take place August 20 and 21 at 9pm at the Ermete Novelli Theatre in Rimini.
The work of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky will be performed in two acts at the Theater Ermete Novelli in Rimini, thanks to the students of the Bergamo high school “La Traccia”. This tour started two years ago and has gained so much attention that it crossed Italian borders all the way to Moscow. What is the secret of its success? How was everything started? We asked this to director Roberto Rossi principal of the middle school “La Traccia.”
More than fifty students from the school La Traccia di Calcinate (Bergamo) are involved in this theatrical experience with a high level performance. How was this theatrical experience born?
It was born in 1984 in the middle school “La Traccia” thanks to the proposal of a professor passionate about theater. I followed him and I never left theatre ever since. At the beginning the proposal took place within the four walls of a classroom. Then, in 2002, with the creation of the high school, it was decided that we could take a step forward and move onto the stage of real theatres.
How did you make this decision?
We had the desire to make real theatre, with an entrance fee, lighting, and all the rest. This experience continues thanks to a group of passionate professors and to the availability of students who accept to challenge to face an author’s work and identify themselves with their characters. And we can see the fruits for everyone, starting from their individual response to the proposal, accept the risk of embracing the unknown, something unforeseen, yet present.
Embracing the unforseen, are you also referring to the proposal of a complicated work such as “Crime and punishment”?
There was certainly a lot of work to do. It took three months to write the screenplay and we proposed that every kid read the entire “Crime and Punishment.” Not to mention, the hours spent in preparing the main characters: the former student Raskolnikov, his friend Razumichin, the prostitute Sonja, the daughter of drunken Marmeladov, and the examining magistrate Porfirij Petrovic.
What was the reaction in front of a text of such magnitude?
When we thought about Dostoevsky’s novel someone asked: “Such a complex text? Are you sure?” To be honest, we were not interested in a perfect performance, but rather in being able to meet the author through theatre and to identify with his work. For this reason, we asked the students to trust us and we came out of it enriched. This is what happens whenever one accepts the challenge of reality.
The scenography is a perfect geometrical structure, can you tell us a bit more about it?
It’s a square divided into nine squares—separated by curtains lit one by one—which represent Raskolnikov’s world, the protagonist, who lives relationships only with one part of himself, a broken “I” that only the love of Sonja can heal. If we think about our experience this happens every day: we can remain trapped or allow ourselves to be embraced by one who comes toward us.
Then, from September 26 to October 9 the experience in Russia, in Kemerovo, born out of the exchange with the school in the local Orthodox diocese, and then Moscow…
It was a unique experience. Everyone was asked to commit and say yes once again. The relationship with professor Tat’jana Kasatkina was fundamentally important as she made herself available to discuss the novel.