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In Caggiano, in the heart of Cilento, the Morra Foundation inaugurates a major Living Theatre archive

On July 13, 14, and 15, the Fondazione Morra (‘Morra Foundation’) – chaired by Teresa Carnevale and directed by Giuseppe Morra – will be inaugurating Living Theatre Archives. Caggiano at Palazzo Prospero Morone e Giuseppina Morone in Bonito Oliva, via San Pietro, Caggiano, SA). The Cilento village will host the world’s leading collection of documentary material from the revolutionary American theatre company. This invaluable archive provides a comprehensive record of the artistic journey of Julian Beck, Judith Malina, and their group, complementing the collections at Yale University and the Lincoln Center in New York. The Living Theatre Archives. Caggiano project has been realized in partnership with the Municipality of Caggiano, the Campania Region, and the University of Victoria (Canada).

Since the late 1980s, the Morra Foundation has acquired paintings, drawings, diaries, costume designs, stage designs, and various writings produced during the Living Theatre’s numerous visits to Italy. The collection also includes autographed working notes, reviews, and photographs: a unique repertoire of 58,812 pieces, which will be showcased in an extraordinary exhibition in the charming centre of the Cilento Apennines.

To mark the inauguration of the exhibition spaces, a three-day programme of events has been planned, including conferences, book presentations, happenings, concerts, archive tours, film screenings, and concerts. The guests include Professor Lorenzo Mango from the Orientale University of Naples and Professor Cristina Valenti from the University of Bologna, in conversation with Garrick Beck, the heir of Julian Beck and Judith Malina (via streaming). There will also be contributions by Allan Antliff of the University of Victoria (Canada), who will present his book Radiant Anarchy – Reflections on the Living Theatre, Professor Romano Gasparotti, a scholar of aesthetics at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera (Milan), American performer, actor, and musician Bibbe Hansen, daughter of Al Hansen of the Fluxus group, and Cathy Marchand, a veteran of the Living Theatre.

Events include Alvin Curran’s performance, Endangered Species. There will also be a concert by Girolamo De Simone, Andrea Riccio with special guest Domenico Di Francia, featuring music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Giuseppe Chiari, and Girolamo De Simone. Another highlight is Living Theatre Revisiting – Music and Event with a score by John Cage, George Brecht, and Al Hansen, a piece created by Girolamo De Simone, Francesco De Simone, Domenico Di Francia, and Andrea Riccio. The work is based on the programme of the famous Concert of New Music held in New York on March 14, 1960, updating the pieces and techniques at the heart of that historic event.

“The Morra Foundation’s imitative in our area,” Mayor Modesto Lamattina explains, “is part of the innovative revitalisation of Caggiano’s historic centre, a project launched around twenty years ago. Our aim has been to make the ancient village a replicable model of sustainable urban regeneration. This vision has transformed the village into a unique centre of the avant-garde, countering the relentless process of depopulation by connecting the population with the village’s historical architecture, forming connections to the rest of the world through art and high-profile events like those curated by the Morra Foundation”.

The Living Theatre archive contains materials from the group spanning the years 1969-2015. The collection started with material relating to the numerous events promoted and organised by the Morra Foundation since 1995, when the company staged two performances at the Teatro Mercadante in Naples. In 2003, the Foundation hosted the retrospective exhibition Living Theatre: Labirinti dell’Immaginario at Castel Sant’Elmo and premiered the play Enigmas. These initiatives continued until 2015, focusing on the productions – and promotion – of the Living Theatre project.

The collection also boasts an extensive section dedicated to costumes and stage props from several historic productions, notably The Yellow Methuselah, The Archeology of Sleep, Masse Mensch, and Anarchia. In 1981, the Living Theatre announced its desire to renew its artistic practice with the creation of a ‘rolled painting’ inspired by Wassily Kandinsky. This work, seventy metres in length and five-and-a-half-metres tall, was designed as a dynamic backdrop (to be unrolled using a lever mechanism) to the performance of The Yellow Methuselah. The work, composed by Hanon Reznikov, merges two politically charged plays: Back to Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw, and The Yellow Sound, a ‘stage composition’ by Kandinsky. The piece depicts the evolution of humanity through the eyes of an anarchist, advocating for life and, utopically, immortality.

THE LIVING THEATRE CAGGIANO 2024 PROGRAMME OF EVENTS

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2024
Norman Castle of Guiscardo
Vico Roma – 84030 Caggiano (SA)

11:00 AM
Institutional Greetings:
Modesto Lamattina, Mayor of Caggiano
Giovanni Caggiano, President of ASMEL
Pasquale Persico, Economist
Teresa Carnevale, President of the Morra Foundation

12:00 PM
Speeches by:

Garrick Beck, heir of Julian Beck and Judith Malina (Santa Fe, New Mexico): The Way We Can Change the World is by Changing the Culture

Lorenzo Mango, Full Professor of Performing Arts at the Orientale University of Naples: The Living Theatre: History and Archive

Cristina Valenti, Professor at the Arts Department, University of Bologna: The Heretical Legacy of the Living Theatre

2:00 PM
Light Lunch

4:00 PM
Book Presentation: Radiant Anarchy – Reflections on the Living Theatre by Allan Antliff, Professor of Art History & Visual Studies at the University of Victoria (Canada).

6:00 PM
Living Theatre Archives Caggiano, Palazzo Prospero Morone e Giuseppina Morone in Bonito Oliva, via San Pietro, Caggiano (SA)
Guided tour with Giuseppe Morra, Director of the Living Theatre Archive, Naples.

Screening of films regarding the Living Theatre. Anthology curated by Mario Franco:
Paradise Now, by Marty Topp, 1969, 47’
Frankenstein, 1967, 31’46’’
Antigone, Interview with Julian Beck, dir. Mario Franco, 1980, 20’
Reading at The Living Theatre, Allen Ginsberg, May 22nd, 1990, 80’.

8:00 PM
Living Theatre Archives Caggiano, Palazzo Prospero Morone e Giuseppina Morone in Bonito Oliva, via San Pietro, Caggiano (SA)

Performance: Endangered Species by Alvin Curran

9:00 PM
Light dinner

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2024
Norman Castle of Guiscardo
Vico Roma – 84030 Caggiano (SA)

11:00 AM
Conference with talks by

Romano Gasparotti, Professor of Aesthetics – Phenomenology of the Image at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. Theatre of the Unrepresentable: Art=Life Life=Art

Bibbe Hansen, American actor, performer, and musician

Cathy Marchand, Living Theatre actor: The Millennial Myth of Antigone

Girolamo De Simone musician, cultural agitator, and prominent figure in the Italian avant-garde, associated with frontier music

2:00 PM
Light Lunch

8:00 PM
Palazzo Abbamonte Via Abbamonte, 16 – 84030 Caggiano (SA)
Concert by Girolamo De Simone, Andrea Riccio, special guest Domenico Di Francia, featuring music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Giuseppe Chiari, and Girolamo De Simone

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2024
Living Theatre Archives Caggiano
Palazzo Prospero Morone e Giuseppina Morone in Bonito Oliva
via San Pietro, 84030 Caggiano (SA)

11:00 AM
Living Theatre Music and Event, score by John Cage, George Brecht, Al Hansen
Drawing on the famous Concert of New Music programme presented in New York on March 14, 1960, Girolamo De Simone, Francesco De Simone, Domenico Di Francia, and Andrea Riccio reinterpret some of the pieces and techniques central to this historic event.

Al Hansen, Bibbe’s Tao: “Another example is Al Hansen’s Bibbe’s Tao. I learned it in 1963 from Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, who described the piece as follows: each performer is given preferably red paper napkin. They can use it as they wish: tearing it, folding it, whatever. Since then, I have included it in various Fluxus concerts, and I have always been meticulous about getting red paper napkins. Recently, in November 1992, Dick Higgins told me that the piece was originally performed using props from the Living Theatre”.

George Brecht, Candle-Piece for Radios: “There are approximately one-and-a-half times as many radios as there are artists. The radios are placed in the room and tuned to their lowest volume. Each radio station has a stack of instruction cards distributed from a main deck. The lights in the room are turned off. (Birthday) candles are lit and given out to the artists, each of whom places a candle next to each stack of instruction cards. After that, each artist stands by a radio. They perform the instructions on the top card, put it at the bottom of the stack, and move on to an unoccupied radio. Each performer proceeds in this way, personally carrying out an instruction from the card and moving to another radio. They continue until they come across an unreadable card, or the radio’s candle is completely extinguished. In either case, they turn off the radio and, when no more are available, return to their starting point …”

John Cage, Imaginary Landscape No. 5: “This is a score for making a tape recording using any 42 phonograph records… Each graphic unit equals 3 inches of tape, or 1/5 second. The numbers beneath the delineated areas refer to their amplitude… The rhythmic structure is 5 x 5. Major divisions are marked by vertical lines across the stave. Minor divisions are indicated by short vertical lines below the staves, followed by a notation indicating the density of that particular structural segment. The fourth major structural division contains the sign M—> I, which means ‘Mobility —> Immobility’. This refers to the composition method, that uses I-Ching…”

John Cage, Suite for Toy Piano: “This Suite, written for toy piano, can also be played on a normal one. It was composed for choreography by Merce Cunningham called Diversion: the rhythmic structure, at a tempo of 64 beats per minute, is 7.7.6.6.4; and 15 x 15 when in 2/2 time. The orchestration rights for the piece belong to Lou Harrison, who requested them”.

BIOGRAPHIES

Allan Antliff (1957), is the Jeffrey Rubinoff Legacy Professor with the Department of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. He has published extensively on anarchism and its impact on the arts. Antliff is the director of the interdisciplinary journal Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies and art editor for the British journal Anarchist Studies. His forthcoming book, Aesthetics of Tension, explores anarchist currents in contemporary art.

Garrick Beck was born into Off-Broadway’s Living Theatre, as the son of its founders, Julian Beck and Judith Malina. As a child actor, he participated in numerous productions and learned from his parents the importance of conveying social and political ideals through the arts. Free thinkers, his parents encouraged him to “think for himself”. So Beck moved to the American West Coast and became a pioneer of the organic food movement, sustainable forestry, and the development of school gardening programmes for children. He drew on his theatrical background to help create and promote large participatory public events such as the Rainbow Gatherings, Amsterdam Cannabis Cup, the Concert for the Forest, the Oregon Country Faire, and the Vortex Festival, among others. Today, he is the President of the Board of Directors of the Living Theatre. Garrick Beck is a father of three and resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Alvin Curran (Providence 1938), is an American composer and performer who co-founded the renowned free improvisation group Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum. Throughout his artistic career, he has collaborated with figures such as Cornelius Cardew, Giacinto Scelsi, Franco Evangelisti, Giuseppe Chiari, and many other influential musicians active in Rome from the 1960s. Among them were Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Living Theatre, as well as composers such as Morton Feldman and Elliott Carter.

Girolamo De Simone (Naples 1964) lives and works near Monte Somma, close to Mount Vesuvius. He is a musician and cultural agitator who has encountered personalities such as John Cage, Elliott Carter, Michael Nyman. He has collaborated with Eugenio Fels, Luciano Cilio, Luc Ferrari, Vittorio Rieti, Pietro Grossi, Luciano Chailly, Giuseppe Chiari, Daniele Lombardi, Giancarlo Cardini, Enrico Cocco, and others. De Simone has performed in events with Tuxedomoon (Naples 2001), Michael Nyman (Capri 2005), and numerous other figures on the Italian and international music scene.

Francesco De Simone (Massa di Somma 1998), studied at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatoire, where he earned a degree in Electronic Music (I). He has taught at the San Carlo Theatre in Naples and at the Liceo Musicale Munari. De Simone has taken part in numerous musical events as a composer and performer of electronic music. Among these, he adapted G.B. Pergolesi’s opera La serva padrona into an electronic version at Vigliena for the Officine San Carlo. He has participated in various initiatives of the contemporary music Factory, “Konsequenz”, organised by the Fondazione Morra and the Archives of Contemporary Art at the Museo Casa Morra, focusing on study and training encounters. He has also performed concerts for the Teatro Stabile di Innovazione “Galleria Toledo” in Naples.

Domenico Di Francia (Pozzuoli 2003), studied at the Liceo Musicale Margherita di Savoia and at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatoire in Naples. He has worked with the contemporary music Factory, “Konsequenz” and the Fondazione Morra, participating in initiatives commemorating Luciano Cilio as a pianist and composer. Di Francia has performed at the Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione Galleria Toledo, the Museo Nitsch – Fondazione Morra, the Domus ARS Cultural Center, the Città della Scienza for Usr Campania, and at the Naples Lutheran Church for the Second Edition of the Festival Pianistico di Siti Reali.

Romano Gasparotti, is a philosopher, essayist, and occasional performer. He teaches Theoretical Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Theory of Dance. His notable publications include Le forme del fare (with M. Cacciari and M. Donà, Liguori, Naples 1987), Movimento e sostanza (Guerini, Milan 1995), Socrates y Platon (Akal, Madrid 1996), I miti della globalizzazione (Dedalo, Bari 2003), Figurazioni del possibile (Cronopio, Naples 2007), Filosofia dell’eros (Bollati Boringhieri, Turin 2007), L’inganno di Proteo (Moretti&Vitali, Bergamo 2010), Il quadro invisibile (Cronopio, Naples 2015), L’opera oltre l’oggetto (Moretti&Vitali, Bergamo 2015), Shozo Shimamoto e l’esperienza artistica quale esperienza poetica del pensare (Edizioni Morra, Naples 2017), L’amentale (Cronopio, Naples 2019), and La danza profonda (Edizioni Kaiak PJ, Pompei 2024).

Bibbe Hansen is a visual and performance artist, poet, and musician. She is the daughter of Fluxus and Intermedia artist Al Hansen and the mother of pop musician Beck and visual artist Channing Hansen. From a tender age, she took part in her father’s avant-garde performances (Happenings) at historic venues such as La Mama, the Living Theater, and Judson Church. At the age of 14, she worked with Andy Warhol at the notorious Silver Factory. Following her father’s death, she founded the Al Hansen Archive to carry on his work, and she frequently lectures on Hansen while teaching and performing her own pieces.

Lorenzo Mango Has been a Full Professor of Performance Studies (Theatre, music, cinema, television, and media) at the Orientale University of Naples since 2005. Prior to this, from 1992 to 2005, he was Associate Professor in the same field at both the Orientale and the University of Salerno. Before becoming an Associate Professor, he was a researcher at the University of Salerno from 1984 to 1992. He is a member of the Doctoral Board in Literary, Linguistic, and Comparative Studies at the Orientale University of Naples and held the position of Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme in the History of Modern and Contemporary Theatre at the same university. From 2017 to 2020, he served as President of the Technical-Scientific Committee of the University Library System (SIBA) at the Orientale and was head of the Share project, an interuniversity consortium that includes several universities in Southern Italy, namely the Università “Federico II” di Napoli, the Università “Parthenope” di Napoli, the Università della Basilicata, the Università del Sannio, the Università di Salerno, the Università “Vanvitelli” di Napoli, as well as the Orientale di Napoli.
Professor Mango has been involved in various national and international academic committees, also serving as a member of the Examining Board for National Scientific Qualifications in Theatre, music, cinema, television, and media in 2012. He is a former President of the Association of University Teachers of Theatre History (CUT, Consulta Universitaria del Teatro). He currently directs the Theatre Department of the Hermann Nitsch Museum Laboratory for Contemporary Art in Naples and serves as a scientific consultant for the Naples Living Theatre Archive at the Morra Foundation.
He is co-director of the online journal Acting Archives Review. Rivista di studi sull’attore e la recitazione and a member of the scientific committee for journals such as Drammaturgia and Mimesis Journal. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Annali di Filologia romanza at the Orientale University of Naples and the European Journal of Theatre and Performance. He has led significant national research projects, including the 2009 PRIN project Theories of Acting and the Birth of Directing: Archive and Critical Catalogue of Documentary Sources. He is currently the national head of the 2022 PRIN project Directing in Transition. A Study of Directing Processes in Italy from the 1990s. Digital Cataloguing of Documentary Material and Historical-Critical Analysis.
His scholarly interests focus primarily on modern and contemporary theatre, especially on the renewal of stage language, the relationship between visual arts and theatre, and the complex dynamics between directing and dramaturgy. Over the years, he has dedicated research to historiographical and methodological studies within these thematic areas.

Cathy Marchand, a student of Jean Louis Barrault at the Théâtre d’Orsay, began her artistic journey at an early age, thanks to actor Pierre Clémenti, who took her to Rome where she encountered Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Living Theatre. Marchand initially aspired to perform Molière and Marivaux, but during the political and utopian fervour of the time, she saw in the Living Theatre a bridge between the stage and politics. She had key encounters with figures such as Pasolini, Sergio Citti, Gianmaria Volontè, Fellini, and Dino Risi. More recently, she has worked on two films with musician Franco Battiato: MusiKanten, alongside Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Rien est comme il semble. Following Julian Beck’s death after the 1984 grand retrospective at the Joyce Theater in New York, Marchand returned to Europe and pursued her career independently, striving to pass on her experiences with the Living Theatre to younger generations.

Andrea Riccio (Naples 2001) is a pianist and performer celebrated for his appearances at prestigious musical and artistic venues such as the Teatro San Carlo and the Sala Scarlatti in Naples, the Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto, the Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Festival dell’Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and Kunst.Fest.Wäring in Vienna. He explores formats that push the boundaries of the concert experience. For instance, in Devi Morire, alongside pianist Marino Formenti, he performed continuously at the Museo Nitsch – Fondazione Morra for 12 hours. Riccio’s recitals are rich from the dramaturgical point of view, featuring innovative interpretations ranging from classical repertoires to contemporary compositions.

Cristina Valenti, formerly responsible for the course in Social Theatre and History of New Theatre at the University of Bologna, has directed the Master’s programme in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship and overseen projects to reorganise and digitalise the Leo de Berardinis Archive and the Compagnia della Fortezza Archive. She is President of the Scenario Association and the artistic director of the Scenario Festival. Valenti is a scientific consultant for the Coordinamento Teatro Carcere Emilia-Romagna and edits the journal Quaderni di Teatro Carcere. Her publications include Storia del Living Theatre. Conversazioni con Judith Malina (2018, new updated edition), reflecting her extensive involvement with the Living Theatre’s history and legacy.

Details

Start:
13 July-08:00
End:
15 July-17:00

Venue

Fondazion Morra Caggiano
Italy + Google Map