NIGHTS CALLED MILAN: INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST MICHELE GORLERO

By Kevin Carrara

Nights Called Milan has just started in Osaka and in order to celebrate the success that it is receiving across the ocean, we wish to offer you an interview with Michele Gorlero, voice and essential figure of this initiative.

Milano Genius 2019 pursues the goal of enhance the relations between the two twinned cities of Milan and Osaka offering the Nights Called Milan initiative produced by the Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka alongside the Swissôtel Nankai in Osaka. This project is patronized by Municipality of Milan and is sponsored by iFOODQ and distributed by ASG-Produzioni, branch of Asian Studies Group.

Before the start of the interview, we offer you a quick introduction to Michele Gorlero made by Paolo Cacciato, Director of Asian Studies Group and focal member of the production of Milano Genius:

Michele Gorlero is an artist that has already started to focus his professional theatre experience in order to approach the Japanese culture and society. This can be seen thanks to his participation as co-protagonist in the Asian Studies Group theatre production Fushikaden. Michele immediately came to my mind for the Nights Called Milan initiative. I believe that his sensibility and skill will reach the Japanese public that will be bewitched by a play in which words’ meaning leaves the narration to voice and gesture.

What is your opinion regarding the Nights Called Milan event in which Milanese music meet the typical Lombardy’s cuisine?

I was born in San Remo, but I lived in Milan for twelve years, so I consider myself as an adopted Milanese. Regarding Nights Called Milan, I believe that Milanese cuisine and songwriting tradition are two excellence of our country. This experience focused on the cooperation between those aspects will allow the mutual growth for both of them, while emphasize the Milanese atmosphere and tradition. Nights Called Milan will permit to everyone, especially Japaneses, to experience emotions common to us Italians but that can be expressed differently in some societies. Our art is completely different from the one in Japan especially when talking about music. In fact, there are themes that are completely new to Japaneses and the first example of this statement that comes to my mind is the song “La Parola Io” of Gaber that translates in “The word I”. This play focus itself on the personal ego inside every person and I believe that it will allow to the guests of the Dinner Gala to experience and consider for their first time this particular and selfish aspect that the songwriter decided to analyze. I look forward to watching firsthand how Japaneses will relate to the Italian way of life.

Do you believe that the meaning of the track will be able to surpass the linguistic barrier and reach the Japanese public? Furthermore, what is your personal experience with Japan?

I see the linguistic barrier as a valuable addition to every play. I consider it as a thin veil that if used right can bring great profit to the show. The producers of Nights Called Milan had the brilliant idea to deliver to the guests a description in Japanese, English and Italian regarding the meaning of each song. Even if the attendants won’t have an exact translation, that will be for the better since this decision will allow them to bond the meaning of the texts given to them and the words that will come out of my mouth. This procedure is commonly used in abstract art exhibitions in order to give to people the opportunity to think critically and to give their own interpretation regarding what they see. Vecchioni, Jannacci and Gaber were three songwriters very experienced in transmitting emotions to their public. They were true masters of their sector and I believe that thanks to their work even Japaneses will be able to understand what we wish to communicate to them. Many of the songs chosen for Nights Called Milan contain a deep meaning that cannot be understood focusing only on their texts. For example, without spoiling anything too much, I will sing a particular track in a jolly way while my coworker, Alberto Mancini, will play his piano in order to express sadness and anguish. Thanks to those arrangements made by the songwriters, the public will surely make an inner analysis to give the song the meaning that suits it the most. This type of correlation is different for each person and is easily influenced by what we experienced during our life. I was always fascinated by Japan. In fact, I already had the pleasure to work in Italy in productions focused on the Japanese way of life like Fushikaden. This experience will be my first opportunity to export the Italian culture in Japan and I live this duty as a great honor and pleasure. I honestly believe that Nights Called Milan will be a wonderful experience.

Genius is back to Milan from Osaka. Mistero Buffo with Elisa Pistis for Urban Theatre

By Kevin Carrara

On 5th of May at 9 pm Elisa Pistis will bring at Corte dei Miracoli in Milan her re-interpretation of Dario Fo’s play Mistero Buffo. The performance is offered by Paolo Cacciato, director of ASG-Produzioni. Milano Genius 2019 is produced and organized by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka thanks to a collaboration with ASG-produzioni. Furthermore, the initiative is patronized by both the Municipalities of Milan and Osaka. In order to present to our readers the point of view of Mistero Buffo’s director, we interviewed Elisa Pistis.

What is Elisa Pistis’ Mistero Buffo and how does it relate to Dario Fo’s play?

My Mistero Buffo is of course no copy of Dario Fo’s work, rather it develops from a very simple starting point: a woman who alone stages Mistero Buffo. My re-worked version starts therefore from a feminine sensibility, that doesn’t exclude the master’s point of view, but which necessarily has a different expressive outcome.

I keep Dario Fo’s vision as a starting point when I begin to approach his texts. However, my goal is to re-elaborate the material at my best in order to perform it according to the needs of our times, which are completely different from the ones when the play was written.

How the Japanese public reacted to the show?

Japanese viewers were very focused and intrigued by the play. The public was large, very silent and respectful. One of the strengths of Mistero Buffo is its physical and gestural language, that allows the comprehension of the play even for people coming from a cultural background very different from the Italian. The work of instant translation made by the interpreter has permitted to everyone in the public to dunk themselves into the world of Mistero Buffo and enjoy it at its fullest.

What is the major insight you gained with this experience in Japan?

Surely, this experience in Japan developed my desire to expand my theatre work to all over the world. It was an opportunity of both artistic and human growth. I could see numerous performances and learn the expressive modalities of this thousand-year old nation. I was fascinated by one of Team Kabuki’s play, five hours of pure show with an active participation from the public. I was intrigued by the fact that at the end of the performance, after the drop of the curtain, the actors didn’t come out to take the well-deserved applause. The exchanges during the play between them and us, the viewers, were enough. Unlike in Italy, it is not common to thank the public and bow while waiting for the applause. So the five hours flew like in a moment and at the end of the show the exchange of emotions and regards was not needed. I dunk myself into the Japanese culture visiting less touristic places and trying to grasp some aspects of the local way of life. During my visit, I realized that few days aren’t enough to fully understand a population and its history. Instead, one should live there in order to do so. Since my work is focused on words, it was beautiful to listen their language. I took home the memory of many acoustics typical of Japanese alongside their way of greetings and playing music.

What should we expect on 5th of May in Corte dei Miracoli?

I hope to find a moment of sharing, since Mistero Buffo is a performance focused on the direct relation with the public. I like the idea to talk straight to each person attending my plays. I believe that a space like Corte dei Miracoli will be perfect in order to create the atmosphere that I seek. I hope to make people laugh lots and maybe make them shed some tears, too. I wish to transmit a part of myself in the play and leave an emotional message with the intent of making the public think while enjoying a beautiful evening together. For me it is very important that performances become a way to get in touch with people.