Odilon Redon. Nuvole di fiori (Flower Clouds), 1903 © Art Institute of Chicago, Public Domain

After the success of previous years, Sapienza University of Rome is once again hosting the “Theatre of Migrations” Festival, now in its third edition.

**Rome: July 1-3, 2024, at the Nuovo Teatro Ateneo**

– “Storie di persone” by and with Ascanio Celestini
– “Sindrome Italia. O delle vite sospese” by and with Tiziana Francesca Vaccaro
– “L’ultimo Icaro” produced by Cantieri Meticci

Ascanio Celestini

The third edition of the Festival will be held from July 1-3, 2024, at the Nuovo Teatro Ateneo. It will feature three highly esteemed and interesting performances selected by a committee chaired by Prof. Guido Di Palma. The selected performances are:
– **“Storie di persone”** by and with Ascanio Celestini (July 1 at 8:15 PM)
– **“Sindrome Italia. O delle vite sospese”** by and with Tiziana Francesca Vaccaro (July 2 at 8:15 PM)
– **“L’ultimo Icaro”** produced by Cantieri Meticci (July 3 at 8:15 PM)

These three performances aim to promote intercultural dialogue through storytelling and dramaturgy related to the theme of migration and encounters with the “other.”

“The Migration Festival is an initiative that demonstrates Sapienza’s civil commitment to peace among peoples and against all forms of conflict,” says Prof. Guido Di Palma. “In a disastrous world incapable of dialogue, preferring the language of bombs, terrorism, and ruthless profit over solidarity, it is crucial to rediscover the ability to listen to what is considered different from oneself. Theater is an extraordinary means to engage with others, to penetrate other lives, to understand. The festival features three performances, each very different from the others. Ascanio Celestini’s narrative of a migrant’s odyssey, Cantieri Meticci’s merciless three-voice storytelling mixing personal stories with surreal social visions, and Tiziana Vaccaro’s account of the lives of Eastern European women who have emigrated to Italy. Three approaches to addressing the theme of migration and coexistence through the language of theater, which is not about rhetorical declarations of principles but a place where the quality of human relationships can be experienced. A small contribution to the dialogue with our own shadows and with diversity, which is the foundation of any peaceful coexistence.”

The performances will be accompanied by moments of critical reflection with members of the entire Sapienza community and the presentation of several Third Mission projects funded by the university to promote the social integration of the migrant population. Below is the detailed daily program.


**July 1, 2024**
– **6:00 PM** – Official greetings and opening remarks
– Giuseppe Ciccarone, Deputy Rector for Internationalization Policies and Third Mission
– Irene Baldriga, Rector’s Delegate for Public Engagement
– Marco Benvenuti, Director of CREA-Nuovo Teatro Ateneo
– Maria Ester Scarano, Director of the Third Mission and Technology Transfer Area
– **6:15 PM** – Presentation of the activities and results of the Third Mission Strategic Addresses Project: CON-Sapienza. Socio-health and psychological inclusion paths for the migrant population.
– Presentation of activities and results (Gaspare Palaia – project coordinator, Laura Maggi, Giuseppe Piras, Pasquale Bronzo, Adele Romano)
– Presentation and contribution of project partners (Programma Integra, ACSE, Adamas Scienza, Social Dentistry Commission of the Rome Medical Association)
– Testimonials from beneficiaries
– Certificate award ceremony for the beneficiaries of the “Specialized Training Course on Renewable Energy”
– Conclusions and future prospects
– **8:00 PM** – Performance begins
– **Storie di persone**, by and with Ascanio Celestini
– Accordionist: Gianluca Casadei
– Produced by Fabbrica srl

An Eritrean proverb says: “The bird that sings does not build a nest.” Joseph tells the lives of others but never builds his own. One day, he hits the road and leaves. He is joined by a travel companion who prays in the desert: “If I must die, let me die at sea.” Because it takes days to die in the desert, but in the sea, it happens in an instant. They end up in Libyan prisons, where they manage to work and save some money for the crossing. But in the middle of the sea, the engine stops and starts smoking. Fuel leaks from the tank, burning their feet and lungs with its stench. Everyone panics. The boat capsizes, and they end up in the sea. Joseph clings to the overturned hull. His companion slips, grabs him, and falls into the sea, taking one of his shoes. They begin their descent to the bottom of the sea together. They descend along a staircase made of water and bones. At the bottom, they find a sort of warehouse of the drowned. If they all resurfaced, the Mediterranean would become a vast plain of flesh. They are not alive because they cannot breathe. But they are not dead either, because no one looks for them. No one lays them on a bed for a prayer or memory. No one places them in a coffin for a procession. No one digs and then covers them. Fishermen sometimes pull them up with nets, leave them at the port, and someone buries them: there is no name on the cross because no one knows their name. But most remain at the bottom, like fish without names.
When Joseph resurfaces, he finds a world that does not want him, that prefers him dead. A society that considers him a criminal. He piloted the boat and is thus a trafficker, a smuggler to be imprisoned. Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison is his fate. After serving his sentence, when the prison gate opens, he finds himself along SS 7 bis in front of a large landfill. But the story does not end there; he is not alone. His travel companion will continue to live with him, through him. Two half-lives that do not make a whole.
– **9:00 PM** – Buffet

**July 2, 2024**
– **6:00 PM** – Presentation of the activities and results of the Third Mission Project funded by the 2021 Call, refinanced in 2024: Legal-administrative welcome service for foreign students (SALASS).
– Presentation by Marco Benvenuti, project coordinator, and testimonials from other project participants.
– Presentation of the activities and results of the Third Mission Project funded by the 2022 Call: NILab: New Italians Laboratory. Citizenship accompaniment project for newly turned 18-year-olds.
– Presentations by Francesca Angelini, project coordinator, and NILab legal experts; testimonials from Prof. Chiara Allegri of the Pellegrino Artusi Professional Hotel School and other project participants.
– **7:45 PM** – Screening of special mentions clips:
– Burattingegno Teatro, 1+1
– Compagnia Atacama, Migrants
– Manovalanza, The Hour When We Didn’t Know
– Babel Association – Amunì Project, Pilate’s Borders
– Cranpi, Radio Ghetto. Free Voices
– Factory Compagnia Transadriatica, The Children’s Journey. Ballad for the Katër i Radës
– **8:15 PM** – Performance begins:
– **Sindrome Italia. O delle vite sospese**
– By and with Tiziana Francesca Vaccaro
– Original music by Andrea Balsamo
– Visual concept and lighting by Eleonora Diana
– Illustration by Elena Mistrello
– In collaboration with Qui e Ora Residenza Teatrale
– Supported by Officine Papage, Trac-Centro di Residenza Pugliese / Bottega degli Apocrifi-Manfredonia, r-Esistenze (RC) / DRACMA teatro

Tiziana Francesca Vaccaro

In 2005, Ukrainian psychiatrists Andriy Kiselyov and Anatoliy Faifrych noticed two women in their care with a unique clinical picture. Symptoms they had recognized over years of practice (bad mood, persistent sadness, weight loss, loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, and suicidal fantasies) combined with a new fracture, mixing diminished motherhood sense with deep loneliness and a radical identity split. These women were young mothers who shared a precise history: years spent as migrants in Italy working as domestic helpers and caregivers, away from their families and children; returning home to realize they no longer knew which family or part of Europe they belonged to. This “complex of disabling mental illnesses, with persecutory ideation, mistreatment, and obsessions related to work activities in Italy” would be named “Italy Syndrome,” the “disease of Eastern women.” Who are these women from Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, before becoming caregivers? What did they leave behind at home? What do they imagine for the future?

The performance tells the story of Vasilica Baciu, one of the women encountered during the research work done with the association Adri – Romanian women in Italy. It narrates the ten years of work in Italy that Vasilica finds the courage to reveal to her children through a letter. The time that kept them apart, the reason for leaving for a foreign country, the promised land of village gossip. Alone in that land, confined to their homes, Vasilica took care of strangers, just as she now feels like a stranger to herself. From Italy to Romania via Palermo and Milan, Italy Syndrome is the story of a return, the scars of migration, a femininity in struggle, the story of one and many women, our “caregivers.”
– **9:15 PM** – Buffet

**July 3, 2024**
– **6:00 PM** – Student self-managed space: readings and performances on the theme of migration
– Samuele Marrone – *La notte poco prima della foresta* by Bernard-Marie Koltès
– Bianca Cavallotti, Gabriele Ferrara, and Giulia Pisanti – *The Danger of a Single Story* by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
– Niloufar Davari and Giorgia De Giorgi – *Abeo, Anthology of a Lost Time*
– **8:00 PM** – Performance begins
– **L’ultimo Icaro**
– Dramaturgy and direction by Pietro Floridia
– With Donatella Allegro, Anna Luigia Autiero, Younes El Bouzari
– Drone operator: Francesco Lombardi
– Scenography by Luana Pavani
– Music by Stefano D’Arcangelo
– Video drawings by Sara Pour

The Last Icarus is born on the border between Bosnia and Croatia, inspired by the journey of Pietro Floridia and Sara Pour and the stories of Afghan men repelled by walls, soldiers in balaclavas, and fierce dogs. It arises from the imagination of their children, who, camped in the woods, draw themselves as birds escaping hunters and crossing walls. It stems from what happens all over Europe, where the foreigner is increasingly demonized. Through the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, Cantieri Meticci explores the struggle between labyrinth and flight, containment devices, and escape mechanisms. The Last Icarus is set in today’s United Kingdom, among conspiracy sites and fake news, millions spent on drones patrolling the Channel, and deportations of irregular immigrants to Rwanda. It is a three-voice narrative, each from a different perspective, about the story of the flying Arab. A Moroccan man shares childhood memories in Casablanca, teaching goldfinches to sing and turning homing pigeons into crossing champions; recounts his friendship with Youssef, a pigeon trainer, until the mysterious accident that claimed Youssef’s life. A second voice, a visual artist, reveals her intimate connection with this enigmatic man, first a model for her paintings, then a lover, and finally perceived as a “monster” by the media, accused of being the elusive “flying Arab.”

Finally, an anthropologist examines bizarre dossiers sent to newspapers that could be either artistic masterpieces or clues to a new type of migratory invasion in England. The gaze of control, the gaze of desire, and the gaze of the artist are investigated through various visual devices: a cellphone broadcasting live, a drone flying over the scene, a video artist creating in real-time, and suspended mirrors distorting reality into underwater echoes. On stage, the contrast between flight as a tension of the soul and flight turned into a tool of control, a flying eye that sees and surveils everything.
– **9:00 PM** – Buffet

For reservations: https://bit.ly/teatrodellemigrazionisapienza2024

The Nuovo Teatro Ateneo is the theater space of Sapienza University of Rome, dedicated to the dissemination of performing arts (theater, music, cinema, dance, etc.) and is open to the Sapienza community and external parties. The use of the Theater is generally for a fee and is subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of the Sapienza CREA-NTA Center.

Nuovo Teatro Ateneo
at Sapienza University of Rome
Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5
00185 Rome RM
Phone: (+39 )06 4991 4475


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