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Pippo Delbono

curator: Marina Fabbri

"Best known to theatergoers, Pippo Delbono is without a doubt one of the most interesting stage directors in the world. Having worked at one time with German choreographer Pina Bausch, he now produces award-winning, original works, with his own group of actors, that have been performed in many countries around the world, including Poland. This Italian artist's creative work defies categorization: his experimental plays are often similar in style to performance art, with Delbono himself paying a major role. His theater would not exist without him, nor would it exist without his closest co-workers, who are often marginalized individuals with no formal acting training. The most important of them is a man named Bobo, who is deaf and suffering from microcephaly. Having spent years locked up in a psychiatric hospital, he finally found a mentor in the director." (Andrzej Pitrus, Oto jest krew)

Italian director Pippo Delbono is considered to be one of the most interesting contemporary stage artists in the world. Born in Varazze in 1959, he began his studies in the field of traditional theater. Fascinated by eastern theater, however, he decided to take a break, and so he moved to Denmark to explore the principles of body and voice work. Soon thereafter, he met Pina Bausch in Germany, and she invited him to work on a collaborative project.

At the beginning of the 1980s, he founded a troupe called Compagnia Pippo Delbono, which has performed most of his productions, from Il tempo degli Assassini (Season of the Assassins, 1987) to Orchidee (Orchids, 2013).

A turning point in his exploration was his encounter with people who had been marginalized from society. Some of them, like Bobo, who had spent more than 45 years locked up in a psychiatric hospital in Aversa near Naples, are key figures in his productions. Since 1997, he has produced Barboni (Homeless); then La rabbia (Anger), which was dedicated to Pasolini; Guerra (War); Esodo (Exodus); Urlo (Scream); Il silenzio (Silence); Questi buio feroce (This Inhuman Darkness); La menzogna (The Lie); and Racconti di giugno (June Stories). These plays have been staged in no fewer than 50 countries around the world, including at the Festival d'Avignon, the Theater Spektakel in Zurich, the Venice Biennale, and the Malta Festival in Poznan.

Delbono has also directed a number of operas, including Studio per Obra Maestra at the Teatro Sperimentale in Spoleto (2007) and Cavalleria Rusticana at the San Carlo Theater in Naples (2012).

He is also developing his creative passion for film. Since 2003, he has made a number of award-winning films that have been screened at international festivals, such as Guerra (War), at the International Film Festival in Venice, where it captured a Donatello Award from the Italian Academy Award for documentaries; Grido (Scream), at the International Film Festival in Rome (2006); and La Paura (Fear), which was shot on a mobile phone and appeared at the International Film Festival in Locarno (2009). Amore Carne (Carnal Love) reached cinemas in Italy and France in 2013 following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2011. His latest film Sangue (Blood, 2013) won an award from the International Federation of Film Societies at the International Film Festival in Locarno.

Delbono also has a wider following as an actor. He appeared in Luca Guadagnino's film Io sono l'amore (I Am Love) opposite Tilda Swinton; Bernardo Bertolucci's Io e te (Me and You); Peter Greenaway's Goltzius and the Pelican Company; and Giuseppe Bonito's Pulce Non C'e, which was screened in 2013 at the International Young Audience Film Festival Ale Kino! in Poznan.

He has also authored a number of books, including Regards (published by Acted Sud) and Corti senza menzogna (published by Barbès). In addition, he has performed several musical experiments, including with violinist Alexander Balanescu, Enzo Avitabile, and Laurie Anderson.

Among his many awards are a 2011 Premio UBU, granted by the Italian Association of Theater Journalists, and a Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities, awarded in 2009 for artists creating a new language of theater.

(Source: Stanislaw Moniuszko Grand Theater in Poznan)