with Marco Cacciola, Annibale Pavone, Maurizio Rippa, Massimiliano Speziani
scenery and costumes Annelisa Zaccheria
music Franco Visioli
lighting Giorgio Cervesi Ripa
photo Anna Bertozzi
translation Letizia Russo
directed by Antonio Latella
produced by Teatro Stabile dell’Umbria
in collaboration with the Spoleto 52 Festival dei Due Mondi
In 423 BC, when The Clouds was performed for the very first time, Aristophanes (ca. 450 BC - ca. 388 BC) was already a recognized young playwright, and The Clouds was perhaps his greatest success. Even today, The Clouds is one of the most popular and most frequently performed among ancient Greek plays, together with The Birds, Lysistrata, and The Frogs, written much later in Aristophanes’ career.
From his very beginnings, Aristophanes interpreted his times in a comic vein. What is more, on more than one occasion public figures of the period angrily demonstrated in his theater after he had portrayed them in his aggressive satires. The young Aristophanes experienced his times as the decline of the golden age of Athens, opposing political supremacy at all costs and rejecting any philosophical approach or poetry that moved away from tradition in the search for new methods and new expression. Socrates, although he was nearly twenty years older, lived during the same period and is the main character in The Clouds. Aristophanes depicts him as a funny old man with a sophistic attitude, a master of intellectual dishonesty. Socrates’ involuntary starring role in this comedy has always provoked a great deal of curiosity and amusement in readers and audiences alike.
THE CLOUDS represent everything … and nothing at all, they are our hopes and our fears, our joy and our horror, and they become everything we desire but can never hope to be. And yet in that extreme final action performed by man (destruction for survival), the only aspect that will be saved will be THE CLOUDS which have never been, have never existed, and therefore are indestructible, like concepts, LIKE IDEAS....
Theatrical subterfuge is doubled and tripled in this human comedy, and the door that leads to knowledge and understanding has been reduced to a tiny opening. To pass through it is a demanding task, but behind that red velvet barrier one can learn the tricks and artifices of make-believe, how to conceal the truth or how to recognize it....
This ancient comedy does not present a character on stage, but rather the ICON of a famous FIGURE by the name of SOCRATES. The location where he finds himself, THE THINKERY, is the true character that Strepsiades must face: a place that is not an actual place, a space that has a door that must be passed through, but which has no walls, a room where the Maestro can swing in the air, far away from the banality of the force of gravity. Only in this manner can he think, reflect, create, prepare his orations on right and wrong. It is a place where the elusive takes on a form but remains incomprehensible because of its constant metamorphosis. The Thinkery, a character that is neither male nor female cannot be, as Aristophanes has Socrates ironically declare, neither rooster nor hen...