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Val D\'Orcia

Almost total isolation – both cultural and physical – is the best way to describe the environment in which this theatrical experiment came about in the mid-1960s. This isolation was due a lack of public transportation in the area, the terrible condition of the then-unpaved roads and the progressive emigration of sharecroppers, with immediate effects on the local agricultural economy. The first theatrical production was presented in 1967, following lengthy meditation on the disastrous demographic trend under way. Thus Monticchiello’s theatre is the product of a specific cultural climate. It certainly never aspired to change the town’s destiny, but it undoubtedly aimed to inform its audience and the relative institutions of the tragedy which was about to spread throughout the nation, worsening over the years. Thus the content of the plays presented every summer (written and executed by members of the community in a complex process defined as “autodrama” by Giorgio Strehler) is rooted in these questions, with a parallel presentation of the living heritage of local farm culture and of the difficulties encountered in these times. Over the years, as a meaningful existence has become an increasingly unattainable goal for this village (although this dilemma is certainly no longer faced exclusively here), the focus of the presentations by this “Poor-man’s Theatre” has tended to concentrate on the relationship between a society geared toward convenience and massification and the small communities destined to slowly lose all meaning, at best becoming destinations for visitors passing through, without recognising the devastating effects of this process for the entire nation. Small towns risk being left devoid of their spirit, their identity and their livelihood, except possibly in the form of occasional tourists passing hurriedly through in search of “peace and quiet” or “quaint worlds to discover”. Andrea Cresti, Director of the Teatro Povero di Monticchiello The Teatro Povero of Monticchiello 37 Vitaleta VALDORCIA_INT_ING 30-07-2009 18:49 Pagina 37

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