Why do you do what you do?
It is a way to keep up with our times, our culture, along with our peers, on this planet - trying to keep our sanity as we go along.
How do you work? (What are your source of inspiration and how do you work on them? You have daily practices?)
We practise and design our work on a daily basis. We train our skills to decode everything at all times, even while stuck in a car in traffic. Inspiration is an empty concept, and everything can be staged. It is fundamental to keep on studying - e.g. live arts, physics, graphic novels, and so on - so as to develop tools which help us always be alert - even when you're stuck in a car in traffic.
For you, what role does the artist have in society today?
Every artist can choose their own role - if any. Our role is to disassemble and reassemble our collective imagination in personal and unusual ways - if only to avoid being passive spectators to the uninterrupted flow of information we are submerged in, and to suggest possible experiences of non-ideological metaphysics.
Sotterraneo theatre company began working as a research collective in Florence in 2005.
The group is comprised of long-term members as well as a cluster of collaborators whose numbers vary according to the project at hand. The resulting working group aims to investigate the linguistic possibilities of theatre and to experiment with different formats, from front shows to site-specific performances, and tend to focus on today’s contradictions and dark sides.
Further, Sotterraneo’s avant-pop approach seeks to narrate our times whilst striking a balance between the collective imagination and unconventional thinking. In this context, the stage is a place where citizenship is formed, as well as everyday gestures of culture testing the audience’s critical consciousness.
Sotterraneo have received some of the most important national and international theatre awards: Lo Straniero Award and Ubu Special Award in 2009, the Hystrio Castel dei Mondi Award in 2010, the Silver Laurel Wreath Award for Dies iraeat Sarajevo’s MESS Festival in 2011, the Eolo Award for Best New Artist for Children’s Republic as well as the ACT Festival Prize and BE FESTIVAL 1st Prize for Homo ridens at Birmingham’s BE festival in 2012. In 2016 they received the Best of Be Tour award at Birmingham’s BE festival.
Lastly, the piece Overload won the Ubu Prize as best Italian show in 2018.
Sotterraneo gets together while working on their first project, called 11/10 in apnea. Their shows include Post-it (2007), The Thing 1 (2008), The Diptych on the species comprised of Dies irae _5 episodes around the end of the species (2009) and The Origin of species_from Charles Darwin (2010), Homo ridens (2011), a children’s theatre show by the title The Children’s Republic (2011), the Daimon Project comprised of BE LEGEND! (2013) and BE NORMAL! (2013), the show WAR NOW! (2014, codirected with the Latvian director Valters Silis as part of the European project Shared Space), and Overload (2017).
In 2019 Sotterraneo will re-stage the piece Dies irae _5 episodes around the end of the species (2009) commissioned by the Cultural Centre Conde Duque in Madrid, to whom they are associated artist for the period 2019-20. Their performances tour Italy’s main cities as well as abroad – in Spain, Germany, France, UK, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Chile.
Sotterraneo are also involved in drama training courses and have organised drama workshops for several cultural institutions and theatre venue and festivals, like the Municipality of Florence, Centrale Fies (Dro),, Theatre of Europe (London), Istituto Italiano di Cultura (London), BE Festival (Birmingham), and Teatro La Abadia (Madrid).
In 2017 Sotteraneo enters the European network apap – Performing Europe 2020 and in 2018 enters the European project SHIFT KEY.
(photo: Alessandro Sala)