“Funder35” open call – Winner
“Hangar Creatività” Project – Winner
written by Paola Di Mitri
with Nicola Di Chio Paola Di Mitri Miriam Fieno
directed by La Ballata dei Lenna
voice off Alex Cendron
light and visual concept by Gennaro Maria Cedrangolo e Eleonora Diana
video by Vieri Brini e Irene Dionisio
production La Ballata dei Lenna
executive production ACTI Teatri Indipendenti
with the support of Hangar Creatività/ Zona K Milano/ Factory Compagnia Transadriatica/ Principio Attivo Teatro
in collaboration with Scuola Holden
“If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.” (David Foster Wallace)
HUMAN ANIMAL is a play inspired by the reflections generated by reading and analysing David Foster Wallace’s last posthumous novel, The Pale King. The novel is dedicated to everyday heroism of a group of Income Tax Return Office’s employees living in a small town in the USA and it explores the boredom and the capacity/incapacity of human being to survive to bureaucracy.
The Pale King, is an unfinished novel due to the sudden and unexpected suicide of his author who left shreds of unfinished stories where it is often possible only to trace fragmented lives of various characters and to breath David Foster Wallace’s torment in trying to find a meaning to human existence in our contemporary world.
Through an intense path of study, La Ballata dei Lenna carried out a four month field research within several Income Tax Return Offices in the Italian context in order to explore the features of a job that is commonly so trivial and so anti-heroic in the lay imaginary.
The visual, oral, tape-recorded and written material that has been gathered has led to an original dramaturgy that play with the fragmentary feature of the novel to offer, a new meaning to David Foster Wallace novel.
On one side: an office, tree tax officials, and a just finished flood. On the other side: a waiting room packed with the theatre audience. In between: a screen where the public watches a projection of the video-reportage showing the working day of three tax officials busy at cleaning up paperwork and binder files smeared with mud.
What does it mean to be a human being constrained by the routine of a boring everyday life?
A camera tries to find an answer following, live-recorded, the three tax officials and their action. The audience watches sequence shots and close-ups digging into the deep intimacy of the characters. The public has the feeling to occupy a privileged space where it is allowed to spy on the everyday life of the characters without being seen.
La Ballata dei Lenna builds up a play where fiction and reality, theatre and real-cinema, are mixed. Within a multiplicity of communicative codes the actors first deny themselves through the bidimensional cinematic image, then they break into the scene declaring their presence in flesh and bones and affirming their authorship.
During the play, the audience is the protagonist of a mechanism leading to challenging continuously roles and points of view. At the beginning the audience has the perception of being the traditional audience of a theatre play, as time passes, it starts perceiving itself being part of a group in a waiting room, then the audience feels like being the audience of a TV show, later it is again the audience of theatre play, until at last it is totally undressed by any other social and contextual role except that of a human being.
Human Animal is a play that plays with the categories of truth and false; it allows the audience to live a unique experience in between theatre and visual arts; it reinvents, on the scene, David Foster Wallace’s literary features until the author himself become an observer of the scenic game.