Refugees flood out of Ukraine. They aren’t alone in the winding march of history. The countless masses of people marched out of their homes is appalling. This Spring Theatre Gigante looks to add a little aid to those suffering from the current crisis with the aid of Italy’s Teatro delle Albe. The two theatre companies are presenting a dramatic monologue online to benefit Ukrainian refugees. Beyond being a noble cause, Teatre delle Albe’s Rumore di acque (Noise in the Waters) is a compelling look at darker side of human consciousness. It’s chilling, darkly comic and deeply, deeply iconic.
It all begins in silent darkness. Alessandro Renda approaches a darkened stage...eyes masked in sunglasses...body masked in a military uniform. He’s the general. He has come to address his own insecurities with a powerful show of force. He’s suffering, but he’s doing so with white gloved fists in an impeccable military uniform. There are some remarkably haunting moments in the narrative. The horrors of refugee migration come across vividly as expected. The numbers are a bit of an unexpected shock. Numbers are projected behind the General...everyone of them is a life.
The General serves in the middle of the water between Italy and North Africa. Refugees brave treacherous waters in hopes of escaping to Italy. It is the General’s job to keep track of it all from an island in the middle of an ocean. It’s not an easy job. He’s losing his mind, but he’s doing it in style. He’s bathed in light from some photonic cannon as he writhes around defiantly in an attempt to show some sort of strength to the darkness which surrounds him.
The monologue was written by Marco Martinelli, who also directs. It is performed in Italian with English subtitles. An original score composed by Fratelli Mancuso punctuates the action. Moods are amplified and mutated by the voices of a couple of men in the shadows. The show has the feel of a nightmare. An Italian voice strikes out from the darkness describing horrors in dark tones. In an hour it is finished. But it’s not over. It’s never over. People continue to flee from their homes. The forced migration continues as it echoes back into the recurring nightmare of history.
Theatre Gigante and Teatro delle Albe present Rumore di acque (Noise in the Waters) on Vimeo online through Apr. 3rd. Codes for the online presentation can be accessed through donations to the United Nations Refugee Agency for Ukrainian Refugees. For more information, visit Theatre Gigante online.