The Rouge Theater, “Dante’s Purgatorio (2014)

“Dante’s Purgatorio
Written by Patrick Baliani
Directed by Joseph McGrath

See also the performance by The Fountain School at Dalhousie University, 2018

Luar’s Spring 2019 collection for the ‘Thotaissance’

“For his spring 2019 collection, Luar designer Raul Lopez was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Or, more specifically, Purgatorio. While Lopez’s white, billowing pieces felt far more suited to the angels than Dante’s frozen, three-faced Satan, he was hoping to lift the audience up and away from 2018’s endless waves of bad news. ‘It’s like we’re living in purgatory right now,’ he said. ‘And I wanted to take us out of it.’

“If the goal was to distract people from the hellscape that is our current world, Lopez definitely succeeded. The show guests watched open-mouthed as models strolled by in ornate confections that seemed to float (as Dante put it, the designer ‘[deals] with shadows as with solid things’). They wore sculptural knife pleats and headpieces that looked like whipped cotton candy, and smeared, lived-in makeup.”    –Jocelyn Silver, Paper Magazine, September 17, 2018

Eggs in Purgatory


Giuseppe Topo, on Napoli Unplugged, November 16, 2012

Fried eggs.
Like the second part of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Trapped between heaven and hell.

Uova in PurgatorioOva ‘mpriatorio in Neapolitan, or Eggs in Purgatory, this could only be a Neapolitan dish.

Taking its inspiration from Il culto delle anime del Purgatorio, the cult of the Souls of Purgatory, this classic “secondo” comes directly from the pages of Cucina Povera Napoletana. And it is symbolic of the Neapolitan preoccupation with purgatory and the ancient cult that worships anonymous human remains. A tradition that endures in places like the 17th century Santa Maria delle Anima del Purgatorio ad Arco Church in Centro Storico and the Fontanelle Cemetery in Rione Sanità in the scenes of purgatory depicted in the shrines Neapolitans are fond of erecting around the city. And in this culinary rendition of the tradition, where the eggs play the role of souls seeking purification, the sauce, that of the flames of purgatory.

The eggs bubble away in the sauce until the whites are completely cooked, or perhaps we should say, purified. And one can only guess that like the milk from the Virgin’s breast, the breaking of the yolks into the sauce symbolises the extinguishing of the flames. Ouva in Purgatorio, a simple and economical dish that packs a lot of flavour and recalls a tradition that lives on in the hearts and the minds of the Neapolitan people.

Ingredients
1 – 14 oz Can Peeled Tomatoes (or use your leftover Ragù)
4 Eggs
1 Large or 2 Small Cloves Garlic, peeled and halved
Olive Oil
Parsley
Salt and Pepper

Robert A. Ferguson, Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment (2014)

Robert-Ferguson-Inferno-Punishment-Prisons-DanteColumbia Law professor Robert A. Ferguson published a study of the theory informing American systems of punishment in penal institutions. Calling for a new model that emphasizes correction over condemnation, Ferguson writes, “Punishment is a reflexive response to misbehavior, and punishers in their anger are always spontaneously at the ready. Rehabilitation requires thought, a plan, work, and the willingness to probe slow changes in more mundane objects of attrition. It will always be easier to ask for punishment than to institute a treatment program in a prison system where punishment comes first. The answer, to the extent that we can give one, lies in something separate, something either beyond or after punishment.

“The Divine Comedy is a limited guide, but it does reveal the pernicious parameters in the psychology of punishment and gives a response to them. [. . .] Criminal justice has gone astray, lost in a dark wood of its own making. It is time, more than time, to find a way out.” — Robert A. Ferguson, Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment, 249.

From David Cole’s review in the New York Times: “[Ferguson] insists that the only way out is to reconceptualize punishment. Invoking the circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ferguson argues that we need to reorient our prisons away from punishment and debasement and instead model them on Purgatorio, where individuals are restored to heaven through the care and love of others.” — David Cole, “Punitive Damage,” New York Times Sunday Book Review (May 16, 2014)

Ferguson-Inferno-Prison-Chino-Dante

Dante’s Table, Castro, San Francisco

Dantes-Table-SF-Restaurant“[Owner Francesco] D’Ippolito is a fan of Italian poetry, especially Dante’s three-part Divine Comedy, which is why he named his first restaurant Poesia. For Dante’s Table, he hired muralist John Baden […] to do bold and colorful, Dante-inspired works for the walls of the restaurant. The main dining represents Dante’s seminal epic poem, Inferno, with the hallway leading to the rear being Purgatorio, and the back dining room and patio being Paradiso. (D’Ippolito will be making the rear area and the garden patio available for private events.) For now, as the patio gets renovated, they have a tarp up that reads ‘Paradise is Coming…’.” — Jay Barmann, “First Look at Dante’s Table, Now Open in the Castro,” Grubstreet (April 25, 2013)

SCAD Museum of Art: “The Divine Comedy”

Muluneh Aida, 99 SeriesThe Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum featured an exhibit called “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists” which ran from October 16, 2014 to January 25, 2015.

“SCAD presents the U.S. premiere of ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists.’ Curated by the internationally acclaimed Simon Njami, this monumental exhibition explores the thematic sequences of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem through works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries as well as the African diaspora. [. . .]

“Through a variety of media, this exhibition demonstrates how concepts visited in Dante’s poem transcend Western traditions and resonate with diverse contemporary cultures, belief systems and political issues. Overall, the exhibition provides a probing examination of life, death and the continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.”    —SCAD Museum of Art

The exhibition was later featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, running from April 8 to August 2, 2015. The large exhibition was on display in the entrance pavilion, stairwells, and all three floors of the museum. See the National Museum of African Art’s exhibition page here, and Elena Goukassian’s review in the Washington Post here (April 16, 2015).

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

The Seven Storey Mountain is Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s 1948 best-selling autobiography. The title refers to Dante’s Purgatory. The book made the National Review’s list of the best 100 non-fiction books of the 20th Century.

Seven Storey Mountain

Lost River (2014)

lost river gosling inferno picture“Lost River has been heavily influenced aesthetically by the work of Nicolas Winding Refn, Gosling’s favoured collaborator and director of Drive and Only God Forgives. It looks like something out of a style magazine with its heavy green and red tints.

“But for all the brilliance of the work of its cinematographer Benoit Debie (who shot Irreversible), the fact that the action is set in Detroit, the American city once famous for its cars but now celebrated for its abandoned buildings, seems at odds with Gosling’s criticism of America and its willingness to abandon its past and its people. It occasionally feels as though he is glamorising their misery.

“Recurring burning buildings, and even the occasional burning bicycle, establish Detroit as a place of purgatory and it’s on some lower level of Dante’s Inferno that Gosling has found his characters, the type usually found in the films of Dario Argento, Gaspar Noe and Nic Roeg.”   –Kaleem Aftab, “Lost River, Cannes film review: ‘Dazzling enough to delight Ryan Gosling fans’,” The Independent, May 20, 2014

The still featured above recalls the iconic entrance to Le Cabaret de L’Enfer, the hell-themed turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub featured on Dante Today here.

The Rogue Theatre’s Dante’s Purgatorio (2014)

dante purgatorio tucson image

“Baliani has adapted Purgatorio, the second part of Dante’s Divine Comedy for the stage.” […]

“See this Rogue production, directed by Joseph McGrath, and you’d wonder why it hasn’t been done before (we could not find references to any other stage adaptations). It was completely engrossing.”   –Kathy Allen, “Review: The Rogue’s ‘Dante’s Purgatorio‘: Sins and shades shape an engrossing climb,” Arizona Daily Star, May 01, 2014

See also Sherrilyn Forrester’s review in Tucson Weekly, May 01, 2014.

Peter Mountford, The Dismal Science (2014)

picture-of-peter-mountford

“The mountain of Purgatory haunts the cover of Peter Mountford’s arresting second novel, The Dismal Science. The image, which calls to mind the second volume of The Divine Comedy, leads the reader into the book, the stark path curling its way up toward Terrestrial Paradise, symbolized by one lonely but verdant tree.

“Purgatory is the underlying structural metaphor of the novel; across its sweep, Vincenzo D’Orsi, the main character, will ascend the mountain as he tries to make sense of, and finally purge, the wreckage of his life.”    –Martha McPhee, “The Dismal Science, by Peter Mountford,” The New York Times, April 11, 2014