“The contradictions of living” – Interview with Stefano Orlandi

“Anche per oggi non si muore. Lo strano caso del signor G” (“Even for today we don't die. The strange case of Mr. G”) is a “teatro-canzone” play by the theatre company A.T.I.R. of Milan, produced in collaboration with Claudia Lombardi Foundation for Theatre. The show will be staged on 10 March at the Teatro Foce. We meet Stefano Orlandi, who wrote the script and stars as the protagonist.
7 March 2023
by Silvia Onorato
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The protagonist of “Anche per oggi non si muore” is Mr. G, a character invented in 1970 by the Milanese singer-songwriter Giorgio Gaber to reflect on contemporary society. The “teatro-canzone” play by the A.T.I.R. tells a unitary story by retracing the main stages of Gaber’s production – a tribute to the Milanese artist twenty years after his death. Conceived and interpreted by Stefano Orlandi, accompanied by Massimo Betti on guitar and Stefano Fascioli on double bass, the show is directed by Omar Nedjari who also collaborated on the dramaturgy. The scenes and costumes are by Maria Paola Di Francesco.

How did the idea for the play originate?
I have always attended “teatro-canzone” shows. As an actor, I’ve frequently interpreted and sang in plays on Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci – plays that have the classic form of monologues alternating with songs. The show on Gaber, in particular, was a faithful reproduction of how Gaber himself staged his plays. When I was asked to present this show again, I thought of a more original way of bringing lyrics and songs on the stage: Omar Nedjari and I developed an original, dramaturgically coherent and unified structure, in which Mr. G is a character with its own history and its own destiny.

Who is Mr. G? Why is his a strange case?
Mr. G is the alter ego of Gaber, a character he invented in 1970 to analyse man and modern society. In our show he is the protagonist of a strange case: born on stage thanks to Gaber, orphaned of his inventor for twenty years, Mr. G wants to die; and to do that, he has to get back on stage. He bursts onto the concert scene, forced by his own fate to tell his story to an audience.
The title suggests how he will end up – it’s a quote from a 1974 album and show, “Anche per oggi non si vola” (“Even for today we don’t fly”). Mr. G is destined to remain on stage to tell stories, to question himself, to look at the world with its ugliness and its many wonders.

Mr. G seeks the meaning of life in the contemporary world. Does he find it?
No. Gaber’s strength is never giving a solution, but asking questions, raising doubts. Mr. G is a man who has within himself the contradictions of living. He is not a serene man: he wishes to die, and he cannot; in general, he wants something and can’t get it. The only solution that he will find in the finale is to go back to the street and continue to be in the world.

What is special about the form of “teatro-canzone”?
From the acting point of view, it allows a lot of freedom. My Mr. G is a sort of clown: he gives himself one hundred percent, he exploits the situations that arise to his advantage, he gives himself to the public. On stage with me there are two musicians, Massimo Betti on guitar and Stefano Fascioli on double bass – close-knit musicians with whom I have been working for many years and who don’t just play in the show but play an active role in the development of the story.
As for the dramaturgy, Omar Nedjari and I “played” with the songs and texts from Gaber’s repertoire, inserting them into a unitary story, with a common line; in my opinion a more modern staging than the classic “teatro- canzone”.

Twenty years have passed since the death of Giorgio Gaber.
I have not changed anything of his production because Gaber has a contemporary heart when he analyses man and society. In fact, man and society can change, but the mechanisms that move them today are the same as they were in the 70s. As a reflection, even the themes and criticisms are the same: men who do not have the courage to take a stand; society with its overwhelming effect; pettiness, outbursts of enthusiasm.

“Anche per oggi non si muore. Lo strano caso del Signor G.”  is at Teatro Foce on 10.03 at 20:30.
More information: foce.ch

Translation performed

with Google Translate.

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