autobiografia di una casa
by Paola Berselli
with Paola Berselli and Stefano Pasquini
Scenic design Paola Berselli and Stefano Pasquini
organization Irene Bartolini
Communication & Press Raffaella Ilari
production Teatro delle Ariette 2021
with the support of Regione Emilia-Romagna, Fondazione Del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna
We are renovating the house of the Ariette, the red one with the green persians, which is seen well from Rio Marzatore.
When we arrived in 89, the house was full of things, objects, furniture. It was the second home of a family in town with four children (Pasqui’s family)
But before we got here, how was this poor, uncomfortable, asymmetrical, incomprehensible and not beautiful house? Who lived here?
The oldest part is red, on three levels. On the side of the hill there was a basement to which a barn was added in height and on the garden a large room with a large bathroom.
Now the house has changed a bit, a total of 12 rooms of which three bathrooms with anterooms. You would say it is big but this is not the case, in a total of 145 square metres, so many small spaces, ‘the small bedrooms’ as they call them Pasqui’s mom.
We have hardly ever used it to make a show. Just at the beginning, before the “Theater to eat” before the Deposito Attrezzi.
It's really complicated to renovate such an old house while living in it. We thought a lot and then an intuition convinced me: making an attic habitable and connecting it through the opening of a door to the higher room, where I go almost only myself, where in winter, I hand clothes for drying and iron, where there are many books and objects belonging to the previous lives: Ariette’s, our parents’, childhood, the school, the home in Anzola Emilia.
These two rooms are the most secret place in the house. You're just having a hard time realising how they are, you're getting to play hide-seek in these rooms, and you're getting to tell a story never told.
Then I thought of a meeting with a small group of viewers to tell what I have never told, what you don't even want to say to yourself, something that needs to find its way to the surface and be recognised.
It may not be me to tell the story, it may not be my story, it could be the voice of a woman, one of the many women who have lived in this house, who populate my shows, the waitress, the sick woman in the field, the delirative musician, the nurse, Maria, the friend of the geese ...
I've ironed these women's clothes in my attic many times and I've put on their wigs. It's not just me in this room, it's full of their presence, their never told stories, my history and the history of this house, this place, my place.
Never, as in this year, houses have become the centre of our lives, they have taken on the strength and depth of their size, reflecting our concerns and dreams. Paola, in a hand to hand, sincere dialogue with the Ariette walls, actually tries to focus on the path of her life, in particular the one before she arrived in this house. Talking about the house becomes talking about oneself. Talking with the house is like talking to yourself.
Talking with viewers means going to the community, inviting the community to enter one’s own private, intimate and sensitive space. The small group of viewers, moving with Paola from one room to another of the Ariette in an ascension movement that leads from the ground to the former inaccessible attic, actually passes through a soul, is linked to her, is called upon to live on a collective, intimate, individual and shared path.
During this year we have just passed, houses have sometimes turned into prisons. Today, in this cathartic path through the Ariette home, in the consistency of walls, in the thickness of the plaster, to the extent of the steps, houses find again their shelter-size, the dimension of archives of memories, emotions, feelings and dear ones.
After all, every house becomes the museum of our existence.