Performing Arts: Theater
May 25, 2014
Lit in red, a woman dressed in a jumpsuit and hard hat sits atop a ladder as a man enters and rests his suitcase down. “We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under the hanging mosque lamps,” he begins to share his story. Soon we hear of courage, embracing danger, abandoning the passive for the proactive – all callings within the “Manifesto of Futurism.”

“A Great Futurist Evening” is a one-man theatrical show directed and performed by Massimiliano Finazzer Flory in Italian with English supertitles. Interspersed are improvised moments and dance choreographed and performed by Michela Lucenti, lending character-driven interludes.

Futurism - a social and artistic movement originating in Italy in the early 20th century – is the heart of this immersive performance. Finazzer Flory’s opening recitation from Filippo Tommaso Marienetti’s “Manifesto of Futurism” introduces the audience to what it’s all about: contemporary ideals about the future ranging from youth to technology to the arts to industries. This glimpse into the movement is presented largely through the character of Marienetti – the Italian poet credited as one of its founders – through his writings, speeches, and poems.

Nearing the end of the seventy minute performance, Finazzer Flory takes on Giovanni Papini’s voice from writings in his century-old controversial magazine, “Lacerba.” We hear of his experience and dedication to the movement, “I am a Futurist because Futurism means Italy – an Italy that is greater than the Italy of the past, more modern, more courageous, more advanced than other countries.”

Most intriguing is the Manifesto’s stance on art. Finazzer Flory shares its call for innovation, the disgrace of immediate success, the need for forward thinking and relinquishing the past. Earning laughs from the audience, he further explains the “pleasure of being booed” and the fixed, useless role of the audience that should be countered with surprise. “Spread glue along the seats…sell the same ticket to ten people…”

Lucenti’s choreography throughout intertwines a series of characters, representing the ideals and the importance of individuality. Her movement is quick and fluid, deconstructing gestures and creating its own visual rhythm. Additionally, the music of Igor Stravinsky, Alfredo Casella, Francesco Cilea, and Ryuichi Sakamoto accompanies the performance.

“A Great Futurist Evening” continues its nine city tour throughout the U.S.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – Jenny Thompson

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