The meeting with the Oscar-winning director and the cast of Six Easy Pieces, the series that from 19 November brings the six most famous plays by Mattia Torre, the late author of Boris, to Rai3.
When Mattia Torre he left, too soon, in 2019 an entire generation was left orphaned by one of its most lively and shrewd symbols. A scratchy and ironic pen that desecrated clichés and obsessions of the average Italian, and nailed the mechanisms of Italian TV to the demystifying power of laughter. The same one that today celebrates her genius by bringing six of her most famous theatrical works to Rai3, Six easy pieces. The burden and the honor of bringing him back to life on the small screen starting November 19th and for five consecutive Saturdays at 10pm belongs to the Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino. But woe to consider it simple “theater on television”: Sorrentino tiptoes into the Torre theater, to be precise in the Ambra Jovinelli which has always been his theater, he films it and makes it usable for the spectator accustomed to the television medium .
A unique operation that makes the hybridization between theatre, cinema and entertainment its true strength. To interpret the characters of the series the actors chosen by Torre return to the stage: thus we find Valerio Mastandrea in Improve (November 19), Geppi Cucciari in Perfect (November 26), Valerio Aprea in In the middle of the sea And Throat (on December 17) and then in the company of Paolo Calabresi in Here and now (on December 3), and finally Giordano Agrusta, Massimo De Lorenzo, Cristina Pellegrino and Carlo De Ruggieri in 456 (on December 10).
Mattia Torre’s theater on TV: a hybridization of languages
A job strongly desired by Frances RoccaMattia Torre’s wife, was the one who asked Paolo Sorrentino, tenaciously convinced that those shows had to end up somewhere for people to see them on television, “the theater was his home and the television medium, which he loved and hated at the same time, was a great party with its huge catchment area”. For the director of It was the hand of GodSix Easy Pieces has always had one goal, “amplify and enhance the sounding board of Mattia Torre’s theater”. To create this strange creature that skilfully brings together the different audiovisual languages, Sorrentino relied on “direction with minimal cinematic appeal and a very vague hybridization of theater with cinema”and would like to point out: “I didn’t limit myself to doing what we have seen for many years of theater on television, i.e. a very flat representation of the theatre, but I tried to move it a bit always respecting what Mattia had in mind, who had very precise ideas on how his shows should be. I tried to intervene without altering those decisions in the slightest. His theater is totally self-sufficient and complete”.
To the point of not needing to “who knows what interventions, if not those of cinematographic rhythm to be declined on television”. For Valerio Mastandreawhich will open the series, “It was a sentimental journey, everyone did their own and put what they felt and felt into it. I have a kind of love and repulsion towards the theater, and Mattia is the one who gave me this combination of feelings, I didn’t this show for five years and this is the first time I’ve done it without him. It was a combination of things, even if the idea of dealing with a language other than that of a filmic staging generated us a little of anguish, but Paolo was able to stay close to us, without being invasive”. A feeling shared also by the colleague Paolo Calabresi, “that famous ‘theater on television’ needed precisely this to be usable, that is, for the great cinematographic machine to enter the space of the show together with the actors. It was an absence-presence, men and women of cinema stood by us like silent shadows”.
Torre like De Filippo
There was no need for reconstructed sets or other frills: the Torre theater was only filmed. “He is a contemporary author, a classic like Eduardo De Filippo; when things don’t work out he supports himself with the imagination – explains Sorrentino – but if they work it is not necessary, otherwise we risk becoming redundant and rhetorical. Getting out of the theater space and making something resembling a film with environments would have been necessary if we were faced with weak texts or so-so actors. Here, however, it was quite the opposite: the texts are very strong and well thought out, the actors extraordinary. My role was simply to find the right angles, the right shots and a television rhythm that matched Mattia’s theatrical rhythm in the best possible way”.
Between contemporaneity and universal themes
The strength of its texts? Knowing how to move “on deep, delicate and in some ways even fearful themes” and to be “a very free and contemporary comic theater, not a slave to the drifts of recent times, free in the use of words, never offensive even when they may seem so, passionate and coherent in tone” – continues the Oscar-winning director: “Torre was a great investigator of vices and miseries, but he systematically reminds us that we can love them, that is, he was able to love, to value human miseries and to stage them”. Because after all “he was part of that misery and told about it”Mastandrea recalls, “he didn’t judge from a distance, but put himself inside what he wrote and laughed at it, the greatest gesture of self-irony. Writing for him was an enormous effort, because he was a very rapid, very violent and very effective thinker, writing was going back, elaborating and giving comedy, verve or drama to what he told. His originality consisted in knowing how to tell about human beings and situations for which he felt responsible even though he was not, this makes his shows contemporary classics”. A theater that should be watched, he says Valerio Aprea, “with the same spirit with which you look at Boris, because the material is the same: an indispensable, revolutionary and extraordinary comedy that is never an end in itself“.