ILVA of Taranto is the biggest steelworks in Europe. The company has been accused of its factory emitting 90% of the total dioxins released into the Italian air and of causing 180 workplace deaths, the disablement of 8,000 and in 20,000 further deaths from cancer and leukemia.
Bologna based experimental theatre group Instabili Vaganti has created a powerful piece of poetic and physical theatre inspired by the steelworks’ scandal and based on the testimony of Italian steelworkers.
The stark black and white image of a bleak and empty factory space is projected on to a square on the stage with the metal pillars that hold the stage lighting managing to look part of the scene. When lights dimly appear, performer Nicola Pianzola emerges from the dark as a faceless hooded figure whose only prop is a steel frame. This serves as a multitude of platforms for Pianzola’s intense and muscular performance throughout.
His impassioned demonstration of fierce physicality is the embodiment of harsh dehumanising toil and the repetitive dragging of time involved in the workers’ necessity to work to live. But what kind of life is it? A glorious glimpse of sun shows the simple joy this man is capable of enjoying in his brief escape from brutality.
The original score from Riccardo Nanni, one of the composers of the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film The Great Beauty, adds to the rawness to this piece of street dance theatre. With narration provided dually in Italian and English, this is stunning and memorable work from a deservedly award winning company in which Pianzola gives his all.
1st-24th August (not 13th), 4.20pm; £10/£8