[. . .] “Romeo Castellucci attempts to ‘hurl down The Divine Comedy on the earth of a stage’. He offers the spectator, in three stages and at three venues of the Festival, a crossing, the experience of a Divine Comedy.
“Inferno is a monument of pain. The artist must pay. In a dark wood in which he is immediately plunged, he doubts, he fears, he suffers. But what sin is the artist guilty of? If he is thus lost, it is because he does not know the answer to this question. Alone on the large stage, or on the contrary, walled in by the crowd and confronted with the world’s hubbub, the man that Romeo Castellucci puts on stage fully suffers, bewildered from this experience of loss of self. Everything here aggresses him, the violence of the images, the fall of his own body into matter, the animals and spectres. The visual dynamic of this show possesses the consistency of this stupor, sometimes this dread, that seizes the man when he is reduced to his paltriness, defenceless faced with the elements that overwhelm him. But this fragility is a resource, however, because it is the condition of a paradoxical gentleness. Romeo Castellucci shows each spectator that at the bottom of his own fears there is a secret space, marked by melancholy, in which he hangs on to life, to ‘the incredible nostalgia of his own life.'” [. . .] —Festival D’Avignon, 2008
Watch segments of the show here.
Relatedly, see our post on Romeo Castellucci’s earlier 2002 commendation here.
This theatrical piece will be discussed by scholar Sara Fontana in her contribution to the forthcoming volume Dante Alive.