Throngs of furious protesters gathered outside Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, while inside, the sold-out theater resounded with thunderous applause. The next night, protesters pelted the audience with eggs and oil as it entered the theater. The uproar was inspired by Romeo Castellucci's adventurous theater company Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio's production of "On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God." The work has its U.S. premiere at Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ, tonight, February 14-17.
Simultaneously frightening, meditative and moving, "On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God" has been critically described as being as much an art installation or poem as a theater piece. The work, which takes place on an antiseptically white stage with a huge portrait of a quietly smiling Christ hovering behind the couch, explores the relationship between a son and his senile, emotionally fragile, and now incontinent father.
The role of God and the love of Christ in our lives are called into question by the helplessness and frustration experienced by the loving son in face of the father's own humiliating decline. The play challenges its audience not to turn its eyes from its compelling and complex subject matter: love, duty, shame, degradation and faith shared by father and son.
Thursday, February 14 @ 7:30pm
Friday, February 15 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, February 16 @ 8pm
Sunday, February 17 @ 3pm
Performances take place at The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043. Tickets are $15, and are available at the box office, www.peakperfs.org, or by calling 973-655-5112.
Charter bus service is provided from New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal - arcade on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues - to the Alexander Kasser Theater ($10 per person, roundtrip) for all Saturday and Sunday performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973-655-5112 or by visiting www.peakperfs.org. For train service, available only on weekdays, go online to www.njtransit.com or call 973-275-5555.
ROMEO CASTELLUCCI was born in 1960 in Cesena, Italy. He graduated with a degree in painting and scenography from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 1981, he, along with Claudia Castellucci and Chiara Guidi, founded Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. Since then Castellucci has produced numerous plays for which he serves as writer and director, as well as lighting, set, sound and costume designer. He is internationally renowned as a creator of theater based on the totality of the arts, aimed at creating an integrated perception; he has also written various essays on the theory of directing plays, which trace the development of his vision of theater. His directing is characterized by dramatic lines that consider theater to be a plastic, complex art, rich with visions, a comprehensible language onto itself similar to music, sculpture, painting and architecture. His work has been seen in major theaters and festivals all over the world.
On February 22, 2002 Romeo Castellucci was honored with a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of the French Republic in the person of Cathérine Tasca. In 2007 Romeo Castellucci was nominated "Artiste Associé " by the artistic direction of the Festival d'Avignon for the 62nd edition in 2008. Here he presented the powerful trilogy Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy. In 2010 Le Monde named the trilogy dedicated to the Divine Comedy the best play and one of the ten most influential cultural events in the world for the decade 2000-2010.
SOCÌETAS RAFFAELLO SANZIO Founded in 1981 in Cesena in northern Italy by the painter and set designer Romeo Castellucci, the musician Chiara Guidi and the theorist Claudia Castellucci, Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio soon established an international reputation as one of the most fascinating contemporary theater companies, renowned for the radical aesthetic and profound humanity of its plays. While inspired by classics of Western culture (works by Aeschylus, Dante and Shakespeare), the theater that Romeo Castellucci and Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio produce follows the performance philosophy of Antonin Artaud where, much more than the text, bodies - often atypical - concentrate and condense meaning in a stage context of thunderous soundtracks and intense imagery. High tech is combined with the age-old crafts of dramatic art to create worlds that transpose reality through a series of diffractions. Spectacular by nature, Castellucci's theater questions the world we live in from an essentially humanist point of view. His previous FTA presentations include Orestea (una commedia organica?) (1997), Genesi: From the museum of sleep (1999) and Hey Girl! (2007). His major works include Tragedia Endogonidia (2002-2004), an 11-episode cycle of tragic theatre and his Dante trilogy La Divina Commedia - Inferno, Purgatorio e Paradiso. The first part was presented at the Avignon Festival in 2008, where he was an associate artist that year.