Mi chiedete di parlare...You′re asking me to talk...
Performance written and interpreted by Monica Guerritore
text by Monica Guerritore
dramaturgy and staging Enrico Zaccheo/Monica Guerritore
from an idea by Emilia Costantini
scene e costumi Hisha Kazawi
immagini Enrico Zaccheo
progetto luci Pietro Sperduti
sound editor Paolo Astolfi
voice editor Tiziano Crotti
la voce di Francois Pelou è di Rachid Benhadj
Fondazione Corriere della Sera
Spoleto54 Festival dei 2Mondi
Compagnia Mauri Sturno
Within the project "Donna-Contro. In memoria di Oriana Fallaci", the Fondazione Corriere della Sera, in collaboration with the Festival dei 2 Mondi di Spoleto, and the Compagnia Mauri Sturno commemorate the great journalist who passed away, with a performance written and interpreted by Monica Guerritore.
Mentally I am working day and night on Oriana. And I think, in the tide of writings, words, pictures, interviews which Emilia Costantini is sending, to have understood the "crisis" that I would like to bring on stage.
"The inner imperative to correspond day after day, year after year, to an image of herself that she had been forced (maybe) to feed and protect for a lifetime".
The contempt and hatred nourished in her regards have a basis. Her battles, her statements, her positions could even not be reprehensible. Some of the things which she thinks (and writes) are and should have been shared. Even by that part of the intellectual world that never accepted her. But her reasoning is hyperbolic, lacking in nuance and sharp, it leaves the interlocutor no space, for reflection, for understanding the other′s reasoning, for the crisis which sooner or later arises in all people who work with the "mind" transforming judgement, taking note of the other person′s reasons. Oriana′s suffering for this failure to recognize Ms. Fallaci is true, real... because the image which she built of herself, is more real than herself (she had no children, she didn′t take care of herself, she had no real intimate relationship, she had never really granted herself... she should have shown herself...). Here... Something begins to move inside me and will then allow me, perhaps, to bring her to life and if not defend her, at least make her pain comprehensible, with her being split in two. The first great victim of modern society based on Image.
The emotionally powerful experience of the girl who races on a bike carrying weapons and helping the adults in the terrible game of war, was impressed on her memory. I suppose (only suppose ) that she felt the need to move all lifelong in that "emotional and civil scene" which she shared as a child with her father. All this created "Fallaci". That Fallaci lives on war, lives on courage, lives on extremism. There can be no "crisis" or doubts when everything you do, write and declare must feed the " Other Self", you´ve created. "I had no more wet tears..." she says after a violent slap from her father that made her cry.
She says in an interview, "the black smoke of burning wells filled my lungs... I wondered where that invading poison was going to end up inside of me..." and suggests that it may have caused the cancer. "How many cigarettes do you smoke, Ms. Fallaci?" This is the question. Is it enough...
The image that she created and that she had to feed, must have attributed her illness to the war not to the cigarettes. I see her in solitude, in that area that never appeared because it had to remain hidden to allow The Other to live. Closed in her home in New York she did not let anyone in... "do not look at me..." she will ask politely at the end. "Do not watch me die..." She was able to preserve the myth. And just give us the opportunity to speculate...
The stage will help us... There is no place better than the stage where we can not lie. No place (despite what many think...). I´m writing for the stage and I′m going towards this truth. I do not know. But I′m going. I try to imagine Oriana. With eyes closed I hear. And I am not mistaken.
"A woman does not die if somewhere else, another woman, resumes her breathing" says Helene Cixous.
I want to try to resume her breathing.
How can we observe the life of a person after his death, and talk about its essence from his words, from the documents, from the meetings, the actions?
Is it possible to trace the guiding thread of an entire life?
Two sentences seem to stand out when attempting to talk about Oriana Fallaci. The first one, hers, concerns Death. And then Pasolini′s which, perceptively, suggests how above every life, the "real life" flows undisturbed, directed towards completion, regardless of who leads it. Almost as if a mysterious "daimon", was driving it.
"Life, I love it passionately, have I made myself clear? I am too convinced that Life is beautiful even when it is bad, that to be born is the miracle of miracles, to live is the gift of gifts. Although it deals with a very complicated, very difficult gift. Sometimes, painful. And with the same passion I hate Death. I hate it more than hating a person. And the fact is that despite knowing it well, I do not understand Death. I only understand that it is a part of Life, and that without the squandering that I call Death, there would be no Life". (Oriana Fallaci)
"What is this human soul? It′s a presence, a reality, that´s all!
It looms through the individual to whom it belongs, like its monumental but elusive double. Such an ′impending figure′ is only there, where it can be. It has the ownership of bodies ..." (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Five years after Oriana Fallaci′s death, in a place, a theater, so seemingly distant from her militancy as a journalist and writer, as a woman-within, constantly submerged in the daily hectic routine of her and our time, yet so attached to her three-dimensional human, professional life, I thought I′d create an imaginary comparison: Oriana, a genuine protagonist, in her solitude as a woman-against, is questioned. A hypothetical contradiction, where the greatest journalist of the1900s is induced to explain the reason for her civil wars, the reason for some of her intransigent attitudes, and the reason for some of her closings and sudden generous openings, of her bold invectives which cost her scorn, mockery and even heavy labels such as moralistic, bigoted... and even "terrorist!"
I began to investigate, to collect details of her biography, to go over her books, to ask about her behavior in public and, whenever possible, in private. I rummaged through memories and sudden amnesia, admissions and unexpected omissis, capturing ideas, tracking evidence, intercepting above all unknown emotions and feelings, trying to reconstruct the milestones of her existential journey.
The story of a fighter who had always fought bravely was revealed. Against power, injustice, abuses, impositions, all sorts of rules, because "there are times - she said - in which silence becomes a sin and speaking becomes an obligation, a civic duty, a moral challenge, a categorical imperative to which no one can back out." Against the hypocrisies, prejudices, false maître à penser, the fake revolutionaries, always ready to shoot the truth without any concern, because "the truth is like surgical instruments: it hurts, but it heals". And above all against war, "the most useless, stupid and illogical thing, the most brutal proof of idiocy of the human race". She, the major special correspondent, the most famous in the world, who had seen many wars up close, was then forced to engage in her personal battle against cancer, "the alien": a struggle which lasted fifteen years but she was not defeated until the very end.
Oriana Fallaci, with whom alll women of the last thirty to forty years can not help but come to terms with, still remains a huge question mark. An awkward question mark.
I then proposed the collected material, consisting solely of the words written or spoken by Fallaci, to Monica Guerritore. She has written a text drawing up her own dramaturgy and creating, in my opinion, a portrait that is real-unreal, faithful and clamorously unfaithful.