Babylon 2006-2007




Created and directed by Valentina Cidda

Assistant direction Beniamino Brogi

Set-designed Valentina Cidda 

Performers: Beniamino Brogi, Caterina Cidda, Alessio Mariottini, Marco Perfetto, Mirco Sassoli,

Agnese Verdelli

 Light designer: Marcello Lumaca


"The abyss does not divide us. The abyss never divides anything. The abyss surrounds."

This thought that takes shape in the mind of one of the characters is the pivot around which the sense of the entire performance turns: "Babylon" is an immersion in the eternal time of Babel, shouting, existing and embodied more than ever today. The emphasis is on a new "spiritual dimension of matter", on a sort of interiority that is revealed on the surface of things, in their physiognomy, in their faltering movement, in their disinclined inclination towards life. It is our bodies, the icons of our time, that speak long before words. Human bodies, fragmented bodies, bodies tense and outstretched, confined in the emptiness of an ongoing, unresolved suspension...

"Babylon" is a performance divided into countless fragments, a series of existential scenes that touch one another, flee from one another, tangle with on another... and yet it has a spacious, enveloping and pervasive wholeness. Scenic spaces, images, atmospheres, sound alternating between the acoustic and the electronic, at times alienating, at others, apocalyptic, or again, soothing and dreamy; psychedelic vortices of light in glacial tones; an accumulation of sounds and glances, of palpable loneliness and broken bodies ...

The actors in Babylon do not speak... the voices we hear are thoughts... suspended between the consciousness of being and the dream of not being.

The language we perceive comes from within, from a dimension that remains inaccessible to us day to day... it passes through a thought that often shies away violently from what seems to be the appearance of things, the superficial development and chaining of events. This leads to an aesthetic tension in which gestures flow harmonically, wavering at the bottom of a slow, prolonged loss. Thus, the voices of the characters come from within, from behind, from below, "from the other side". Recorded, filtered voices, sound mirrors of the tangle of all the paradoxes-filaments in the spider web in which life loses itself and fragments.



The production involves an installation that the public has to cross, a compulsory passage through fragmented bodies, nostalgic for wholeness, perhaps the remains of the people we are going to see on stage... who are unable and don't know how to reconstruct themselves ... The actors bodies were literally passed piece by piece through scanners, then taken from the computer, dismembered and assembled in Caravaggio-like, melancholic and vaguely disturbing compositions with a very strong aesthetic impact, which suggest a world without head or tail, where everything has a place but nothing finds its own... 


The performance and installation are, of course, independent from one another, and the one does not necessarily require the presence of the other; however, they belong to a single project that has a shared basis and meaning. The production can be requested either with or without the installation.



Babylon - Notes

I thought from the start that Babylon would be a performance soaked in poetry, even before clearly defining its philosophical boundaries... poetry requires entry into an area without apparent "reason", a world with soft and fleeting borders, a dimension much nearer dream, whose function is nothing less than to transfer warning signs, valuable information, complex messages from the unconscious to the surface of our conscience, from the dark cavern of our intimate Sibyl to the light of awareness, in order to help us live the grim beauty of reality as real beings...

We live in an age of communication, and yet (perhaps precisely because of the inherent paradoxical arrangement that ensures the integration of opposites in each of life's realities, which, from Parmenides on, has been relegated to the most deeply buried and unheeded cavern of the whole history of Western thought), in the era of communication we no longer communicate... we no longer possess the tools required for a real form of communication to actually be implemented.

We "inform" to the maximum. But that's a very different thing. There is no poetry in information.

Information corresponds to a passive, unilateral process when it lacks the profound assimilation and critical interior processing capable of transforming information into a principle of communication.

Literally, "inform" means "to give form to", "to put form into" and, indeed, the world changes form the moment its inhabitants change form, because they are the ones that model it, their consciousnesses change form, crippled by a continual fragmentation of every human characteristic, whether it be feeling, thought, word or imagination, and by their distribution in pre-packaged tins on the market of emptiness.

Bottomless loneliness is dug among human beings.

Running through our era, saturated with communication, is an idée fixe: the idea of an increasingly strong tendency by everyone to withdraw onto their territory, onto what makes them different and is therefore their personal identity ... separate!

One finds oneself dreaming of a new, insular island of separation taking root...

Yet attacking or challenging this general trend is not the way to confront it. It is totally natural, understandable, "human" in a dominant social system that heedlessly violates identities, turning itself into the bearer of a countless number of prejudices and presumptions, of "absences" that shout their emptiness in the exaltation of a fictitious fullness, a clouding of the senses with which we perceive and communicate and, consequently, an increasingly rooted "deafness" towards ourselves, our interior language and the interior language of others.

To make a communion of souls, bodies, cultures and individual lives real, even conceivable, in relation to themselves, we first need a long deep silence; a silence where we return to learning the sacred secret of "listening". Where no one is willing to listen and be listened to, where, together, we do not place a finger to our lips before speaking, no true communication will ever be able to take place.

In Greek mythology Hermes, the messenger of the Gods and the symbol of communication, is depicted with wings on his boots and helmet: there could be no clearer way to represent what passes from one mind to another through the speed and lightness of words. Yet in the same iconography, Hermes has a finger to his lips, suggesting or perhaps even ordering silence.

"Hermetic" means closed, concealed; accessible only to a profound knowledge and a profound listening by whoever comes close. Communication takes place first and foremost through the action of the listener, because only sincere listening can pave the way to the dissolution of hermeticism.

Certainly Ulysses was abducted by the sirens' song, but who is to say whether the sirens were not in turn abducted by the way Ulysses was involved by their seduction?

 Who can accurately assess the contribution of an audience that is strongly motivated towards the success of a performance?

Paradoxically, we could say, (and the aim of "Babylon" is very much at home in such a paradoxical statement), that the only difference between those on stage and those in the stalls is that the former are paid for what they do, whereas, in general, the latter pay. For the rest, it is perhaps difficult to say who puts on the performance and who goes to see it...

One thing is certain: if any kind of dialogue is not two-sided, if there is no deep and absolute openness, which before all else fecundates the seed of love, Hermes is destined to remain virtually dumb, and loneliness is destined to encroach relentlessly...

"Babylon" humbly seeks to silently raise this cry of alarm in the hope that together, the public and actors will from time to time manage to find a crack in the intimate "hermeticism" that each one of us carries inside ourselves as our own island, unfortunately more and more frequently lapped by the dense waves of an alienating and misleading appearance...

Valentina Cidda