Thursday, 26 August 2010

Pasolini’s Leaves – Shining Trash ****

Pasolini’s Leaves – Shining Trash 
By Fondazione Aida, Verona Italy
La Mama Courthouse, Aug 26 to Sept , 2010
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Poetic abstraction is at the heart of Pasolini’s Leaves – Shining Trash, a tribute to controversial, Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini on the 35th anniversary of his death. It is a visceral, theatrical production by Italian company, Fondazione Aida that is visiting Melbourne from Verona.

The piece, constructed around the rich, verbal landscape of Pasolini’s poetry, features the compelling acting of Lorenzo Bassotto and Monica Ceccardi. Bassotto is sturdy, grounded and a little scruffy, in stark contrast to Ceccardi who is small, fine-boned, but muscular. They are two anonymous, non-specific people who engage in passionate and intensely emotive relationships.

Their performance fills the empty space with Pasolini’s despairing and beautiful language, evocative black and white imagery from his films, eclectic music ranging from classical to Lou Reed, and the vigorous physicality of two bodies immersed in a primal struggle.

Fragments of text from four of Pasolini’s poems are used as a foundation for a loosely connected series of vignettes. Each investigates a particular compulsion, emotional struggle or obsession around themes of love, isolation, entrapment, darkness and light.

In one disturbing but riveting scene, the actors laugh like children at play while they violently attack one another in turn. In another, the woman is stuck and cannot move her feet so the man draws her a chalk path along which to travel. When she collapses dramatically to the floor, he draws a chalk line around her prone, lifeless body as if she were a murdered corpse.

The final projected film is footage of piles of fetid rubbish lining the streets during the 1970 street cleaners’ strike in Rome. Pasolini’s obsession with decay, death and filth is encapsulated in these images, in the clutter of crumpled newspaper on stage, and in the actors’ desperate efforts to scrub the floor clean.

Bassotto and Ceccardi employ a vivid, physical, theatrical language to portray the vitality of Pasolini’s poetic world.

Fondazione Aida is also performing Peter And The Wolf daily at 1pm and running Commedia del’Arte mask workshops on two weekends.

By Kate Herbert

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