NEUGUITARS interview pactaSOUNDzone2022, a chat with Maurizio Pisati and Annig Raimondi on #neuguitars #blog
pactaSOUNDzone seems to be the union of two different forces: the Pacta theater and the compositional ZONE by Maurizio Pisati, how did this meeting happen and when?
Yes, I like to think of it as a real union of two practices of invention. Pacta. dei Teatri is a theater company that starts from afar. After years of production at the Arsenale theater, also in Milan, it is entrusted with the recovery of a historic place, formerly the seat of the “CRT research center for the theater”, reinvents it and creates what is now known in the city as the PactaSalone di via Dini. In the meantime, however, the poet and mutual friend Roberto Sanesi had come into contact with my ZONE project, collaborating with voice and lyrics on various compositions up to a musical theater work entitled TAXI!.
He himself puts us in touch and since then, for over twenty years, my work as a composer has crossed that of the company.
In your previous reviews I noticed how classical and electric guitars play an important role, what is this space due to? Is it because, Maurizio Pisati, is a guitarist as well as a composer?
Who knows, I cannot deny that there is a predilection or love for this instrument, but in the projects they propose to us I try as much as possible to recognize the quality and strength of the idea. More than anything else, a reality that I have noticed in recent years seems to come into play: more and more often composers, creators, conductors, and other respected figures in the field of research music, are Guitarists. The guitar is an instrument that in its evolution, especially in the second half of the twentieth century, has dragged the performers not only forward, but also “deeply”, in the depths of musical and artistic thought, so it happens more and more frequently to meet prominent personalities in the musicological, historical, didactic, compositional, and obviously concert fields, who are Guitarists. Often in recent years we have been presented with ideas by musicians who included the guitar themselves in the project, or they themselves were guitarists, but in the foreground I have always seen the musical idea, the proposal of thought, invention and audiovisual imagination, indeed, in our case: audio-bright.
As a theater and as a review, how did you face 2020 and 2021, the years of the closure of Covid? How have these closures impacted the management of the theater and the public?
We haven’t stopped producing and staging. In ninety percent of cases, the events took place at PactaSalone, filmed and streamed: the friends of all time followed us, others joined them, crossed over on the web, or carried away by the intense work of the offices and press and promotion sections of Pacta. It is no coincidence that I am well aware of the work of the offices: with a little hyperbole I would say that there, at PactaSalone, even the pens or the stapler are “on stage”. I mean: there is a particular atmosphere in that place. As a musician, every corner of this large space seems to me to be part of the stage, even desks, stairs, corridors. It has also happened that some of the artists invited to pactaSOUNDzone have taken seriously this suggestion and possibility that I see in that place, and that they have produced a show that started from the gates, to continue during the purchase of the ticket, and then in the foyer and finally in the room. It is pactaSOUNDzone, a situation in which every corner can become a place of invention.
What are the roles that an artist, a theater actor, a musician, a composer and an interpreter find themselves playing in today’s society? I hear around, especially in Italy, a sort of lack of “neu”, of new and a continuous revival of something already seen, already heard and codified and very reassuring ….
This question, as we know, would take a lifetime to find an answer, but in order not to exaggerate I would say that, since we have spent a good part of it – I mean life – the “neu” we are looking for and that brings you here, is never failed. Instead, places and situations change, and with them, to answer the question, also roles are transformed: some realities that historically and gradually more and more institutionally were those of the new, have become the guardians, with love, passion and jealousy, of what has led the thought up to the present day. In the meantime, the situations and the “locations” have become other. Paradoxically, this also involves the world of education, which was previously the place dedicated to the transmission of what was consolidated and not also to experimentation and research. As we know, learning has never happened exclusively in schools, this is also true today and yet, in numerous and growing happy cases, there is a strong hybridization even within them. Some of these schools become path factories. The teachers “teach the stage” they really know, the learners participate in the production, or at least this is the experience I have in my classes at the Bologna Conservatory. That is, one can recreate the situation of a technological and variegated workshop, in rapid evolution but not superficial, indeed, a witness of great richness and depth. Thus it happens that those who learn, just not knowing, carry out the parallel effort to know and at the same time discover, invent, compose. In a nutshell, living in close contact with the new generations, it now seems clear to me how much the unconsciousness of the apprenticeship periods is already to a good extent “competent”. It is the competence of the Artist, who not only seeks to know “more” but to discover “what he needs to know” to better produce what is already strong inside him. I know that sometimes it can be difficult to accept this, both as an artist and as a teacher, it requires awareness and humility at the same time, but the “neu” on which you too are incessantly reflecting is precisely in this “tirelessness” of research and the need to know. In the pactaSOUNDzone posters there is always a trio of words that we do not give up: theater, music, research. And the music we try to make here is not stage music, but ON stage.
As a theater and as a review, do you think you will open up much more to multi-channels? For example, by re-proposing part of your shows on video and social channels?
These means have been available for decades and it seems strange to have thought of them only for the pandemic. And anyway yes, PACTA itself is gearing up to keep the streaming channel alive, and to make its production increasingly accessible and usable even outside the live scene. In reality, for some years everything was already online in social networks and with dedicated channels or playlists, we had also designed a multimedia archive, a place for study and research, for thought, for the collection of the many forms of expression that converge here. And I assure you that there are many. Just think that everything starts from the gates: on the wall an important painting commissioned ad hoc from the entrance denotes the social commitment that distinguishes Pacta’s work, and then, from the ticket office going up “the ancient stairs”, you will find the historical posters of the CRT : going up you look at them, and you see the history of the theater. Then, always going up, we arrive at the foyer: there we have a sort of theater in the theater: “Mostre al Cubo”, the sister review of pactaSOUNDzone that Fulvio Michelazzi (one of the founders, light designer and technical manager of the whole ambaradan) holds in the forms more disparate: a framework made of metal bars circumscribes a cube without walls, and inside it … painters sculptors photographers dancers rugby players musicians pass from time to time … A few more steps and we are in the hall: no stage, a long warm wood in a black box . The sound is splendid, the audience around. The company and its voices float in the air even in an empty theater, and pactaSOUNDzone is born from this suggestion, as I wrote in the presentation of this year’s review.
Now a question to the Artistic Director of the Theater and the Company, Annig Raimondi, actress and director, who leads the activities together with the President and actress Maria Eugenia D’Aquino, Fulvio Michelazzi, and the actor and director Riccardo Magherini. Welcome to Neuguitars.com. The question is this: for a production theater and a company like yours, what does it mean to have a review such as pactaSOUNDzone within the programming?
Hello. As artistic director I present PACTA (Progetto Arte Cultura Territorio Associati) which, in addition to being a company, PACTA. dei theaters, made up of artists and professionals in different fields, is a multifunctional center of creation, production, training based at the PACTA Salone in via Ulisse Dini in Milan, a meeting space between theater, dance, music and visual arts dedicated to reality of research. I can give two answers to your question: the first is simply explanatory, the second is sentimental.
Explanatory_ It means strengthening PACTA’s activity based on the idea of theater as an actor and place of social change and creativity, in all its forms, as a driving force for innovation, individual growth and community strengthening. The presence in the programming of the pSz exhibition with its disruptive experimental force has marked a natural and absolutely necessary evolution of the guidelines of the Center, engaged in constant research characterized by nomadism of thought, metamorphosis, permeability to contamination and multidisciplinarity. Among the planned ‘thematic projects’, we mention DonneTeatroDiritti, at the XII edition on the themes of gender-based violence and human rights; TeatroInMatematica-ScienzaInScena, in which mathematical concepts are translated into theatrical plots; Apriamo le Gabbie, dance and multimedia arts festival in the first year; Mostre al Cubo and of course pactaSOUNDzone. The use of different languages allows us to investigate the plurality of areas of action and draw proposals for renewal.
Sentimental_ It means to stimulate to think in music, to hear in images, to speak in numbers, to look in sounds, to smell in letters. In this sense, the contribution of Maurizio’s pSz is exemplary. After the Covid earthquake, I think it is important to reverse points of view; break down one’s intellectual ‘crutches’; ‘Do’ now what we once thought impossible; dare, tirelessly dare, beyond one’s limits. Create a program for the future already immersed in the future. Posterity will judge.
What are the initiatives you are preparing for 2022? Can you give me some anticipation?
For Pacta, the list of shows would be very long, experimental and traditional theater, newly written texts and other historical ones, theater for children and for schools, School of Theater and this year also a dance review. It is therefore better to refer to the general poster ( https://pacta.org/stagione-corrente ).
Speaking instead of pactaSOUNDzone I can give you the entire program, also because this year is very limited.
Let’s start with an unprecedented conduction, not with musicians but with Pacta’s actors. That is, the pactasoundzoneTeatrorchestra was born: a form of improvisation / conduction, which has as its subtitle the phrase: “no voice has ever looked at you like this”. This is because the gestures that will build improvisation and musical Conduction will address the ensemble of actors here, with their unique ability to be on stage, to use and direct the voice, to tell each of a work but guided and intertwined by the Conductor.
All in interaction with two audio-video works: the first is a version of 4’33 “by John Cage made for CittàSonora, the second was created specifically for this evening, with material recorded on the same stage as Pacta in full lockdown: the protagonists are the chairs, which remained empty for almost two years and, in these two years, that Mostre al Cubo had symbolically hung on the external walls of the Theater. A work of fantasy lighting and musical synchrony, with which the actors on stage will interact in turn.
Then it will be the turn of DUET II – strings and sand by Simone Grande and Elisa Capucci, composer, guitarist and sculptress, castings of concrete, colors, parts of building / hydraulic components take on organic features or suggestions, living on the stage together with the sound.
At the end of the review, Grande will again be our guest with MANI ROTTE, where the sound of strings and objects, self-designed software and other commercials, will merge with the work of invention of the hands.
In between we will have the Bluering Improvisers, who will offer the pactaSOUNDzone audience an example of collective invention and pure energy, for an ensemble with Sax, Tuba, Trombone and Trumpet, Guitars, Clarinets, Percussion and Drums, Strings, that really responds to the ancient and everlasting term “for all sorts of instruments”!