«What I like about the image is that it opens your gaze, it deepens it. I never talk about interpreting the image, instead I focus of the fact that the image reveals itself slowly if the gaze has the opportunity to linger», says French playwright Claudine Galea speaking of Au Bord. It was May 21 2004 when Washington Post published the images of torture and abuse inflicted on Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison, throwing international public opinion into turmoil. Obsessed with the image of a female soldier holding one of the prisoners on a leash, the playwright and writer (Grand Prix for dramatic literature in 2011 and 2019) builds a textual investigation into the shocking force of these documents and on the way which they impact our inner being, the darkest part of our personal history.
To bring the complexity of this to the stage, director Valentino Villa and actress Monica Piseddu (who has been awarded the Ubu Award multiple times), choose to remove themselves from the mere personal thrust. Turning to a more universal theatrical dimension, they focus on the ability to absorb, think, create and alter images and perceptions. How do these visual documents relate to us? How do they settle within our subconscious? How can the visual documentation of torture generate images of desire, a mother’s womb, or the cruelty of a beloved woman?
by Claudine Galea
Translation: Valentina Fago
Directed by Valentino Villa
With Monica Piseddu
Movements: Marco Angelilli
Lighting and stage design: Sander Loonen / ARP Theatre Limited
Sound design: Fred Defaye
Assistant director: Andrea Dante Benazzo
Production: Romaeuropa Festival e 369gradi
In coproduction with LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, Triennale Milano
With the support of Toscana Terra Accogliente, Olinda