Casting for anorexics, the amnesia of a scandal: 10 years ago the golden lion was given to those who took them on stage, with obese and laryngectomes. A 25-year-old girl weighing 27 kilos was killed to get on it

Today it causes scandal and rage, but there was a time not too far away when the Golden Lions were handed over for their lifelong career to those who took to the stage anorexic. And not just those, but also obese actors over two hundred pounds and laryngectoms. The echo of theindescribable casting for anorexic girls in a Mediaset TV program that another “use” of anorexic girls in a theatrical setting comes back to mind, with no goal of problematizing the disease. Let’s talk about Julius Caesar organized by the company Societas Raffaello Sanzio in 1997 directed by brothers Claudia I Romeo Castellucci, and by his wife Chiara Guidi. Cesena company literally “cult” for more than thirty years in the panorama of theatrical, conceptual and politically untouchable experimentation and research, revered with an unconditional faith in the world of Italian and international criticism.

Few today remember a tragic event that affected the staging of that show. It was himsummer of 1998 and a 25-year-old girl from Bologna reduced to skin and bones was found wrapped in a small playground on a city street, having disappeared a few days earlier. They called him Chiara Gentili, weighed 27 pounds. He had had anorexia for several years, a disease that had forced him to several hospitalizations and absences at the Bologna Dams, where he had graduated. She dreamed of being an actress. That is why he appeared at the casting of The storm of the time Clandestine Theateranother important research company, far from the practices of Societas. Il Clandestino was looking for a small, thin girl to play Ariel. Chiara was taken, but as soon as the preparatory work for the then directors of the company began, Fiorenza Menni and Pietro Babina, noticed that the girl showed signs of organic waste, a serious problem of anorexia that she could not manage. Meanwhile Dal Clandestino suggested to her that the form of theater could not help her heal, they replaced her with another actress and at the same time tried to be close to her, to help her, but those who lived the story of close in those days they remember that the girl was elusive, tended to hide, to isolate herself.

Gentili was later enlisted by the Societas to interpret Dirty en Julius Caesar. The moment of an international premiere in Holland and Chiara suddenly disappears. And they find her dead weighing 27 kilos at the end of the Santarcangelo di Romagna theater festival. It is said at the time that the Societas were anxiously looking for Chiara, but the group had to leave for Nice, and from there they would have to reach Avignon, where the “Julius Caesar” would be performed at the Theater Festival. The plane took off without her, and director Raffaello Sanzio had to look for another actress to replace her at the last minute.

We only have the staging of Castellucci & Co enthusiastic criticism, although Chiara and another anorexic girl, a man weighing two hundred kilos and another without a larynx, took the stage. Right Alessandra Galante Garrone, founder of the historic Bologna School of Theater, dared to raise very harsh criticism against those who had decided to make a sick girl, reduced to this state. “I didn’t know Chiara personally – he said then Republic – but I can say that it is a crime to have allowed her to act in these conditions ”. For the rest, just admiring applause and praise, the critics paid tribute to the “visual apocalypse” of the Cesena theater company.

Societas theater is conceptually associated with a departure from the so-called “testocentrism”, where the word tends to disappear to use, in fact, to the extreme the axiom that the actors be “body only”. As the authorized critic writes Oliviero Ponte di Pino en Romeo Castellucci and Societas Raffaello Sanzio (Doppiozero): “In Julius Caesar (…) this quality of the actor is the subject of a complex ironic game with a clear Magrittic flavor: on the corpse of Cassius (in the second half played by an anorexic girl) there there is a sign that says, “This is not an actor. The goal is to do it.”finished, in the most radical way possible, with the representation, in the representation“And again:” In the first part Brutus and Cassio are played by two old men, who in the second become two anorexic girls. “extremely thin actresses, whose thinness returns to the idea of ​​the frame“.

It is the same Castellucci, awarded in 2013 with the Leone d’Oro al Venice Theater Biennale to show some moral cruelty to pursue one’s own theatrical ideal. In Epope of the pulseand (Ubulibri), the Roman playwright, today often struggling with the direction of Wagnerian operas, states, “Anorexics reject food as we lack text here.” A few lines later, recalling the other anorexic actress on stage, she explains: “Some people ask me if what we see is Christian or not. Maybe I don’t know. But perhaps I answer that she is a Christian, and makes the actress who finally wakes up with the kiss of that prince who chose her among the thousand, because in her eyes she is the most beautiful, the most pregnant of life, one step from the skeletonIn short, the climate on Julius Caesar’s stage in 1997 is this. also in more recent times. God where the protagonist is an elderly person who suffers can see dysentery and feces, but does not smell) the question about the use of anorexic girls with the disease that becomes a passepartout “Becoming” artists is still legal and current.

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