The Play

Winner of the international competition "L'altro Festival" in Lugano

Gianfranco Berardi and Gabriella Casolari

Gianfranco Berardi

Direction and Lights Design
Gabriella Casolari

With the supervision of
Marco Manchisi

The play Briganti was born in February 2000 through pure historical-social research. In fact, the work deals with the themes of post-unification southern brigandage (1860-61); the play takes place in a prison cell of the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, where, through the memories of a young southerner who fell prisoner in battle, events that marked the life of the populations of southern Italy are relived. The entire universe of narrated facts is inspired by historical documents of events that really happened and often overlooked by official historiography. However, the world of popular oral tradition is mixed with them, not without fantastic ideas.

The stage presence of Gianfranco Berardi is decisive, nervous and extremely eventful and mutable... Here Berardi proceeds to an extraordinary montage in which Garibaldian generals, provincial aristocrats and priests appear, all in agreement in accepting the new course of events … and a chair that turns into a weapon or a prison and maybe a woman to carry by the arm to the altar.
Il Sole 24 ore • Antonio Audino
… this young actor (also a director playwright) exposes himself half broken to the viewer, making every word, every passage of this rough human story physical … Literally, Briganti is a monologue, but such a crowded stage has not been seen for a long time … Gabriella Casolari's beautiful light design enhances the journey to the border – the border of the ego, the border of the world – of an extraordinary artist who knows what emotions are.
Liberazione • Katia Ippaso
On stage there is a chair, a saucepan and a hanging lamp, there are nine characters and they change gender and dialects, but there is only one interpreter, Gianfranco Berardi. Oscillating between strict dialect, Italian and certain Nordic accents, the protagonist in a dream evokes his mother, his girlfriend, the priest who marries them and preaches, their fellow soldiers and Garibaldi himself, with great ease and happiness of those who see him transform and change environment thanks to his voice and gestures, masterfully exploiting the lights he sets, which at a certain point also allow him to mount a dialogue between three characters obtained by lighting up the right cheek, the left and the face in front.
La Repubblica • Franco Quadri
…The use of light is beautiful – and the innumerable ways in which the chair is used on stage is truly surprising, being the only element that communicates concretely, physically with the actor… A show, Briganti, supervised by Marco Manchisi, built by fragments, situations, almost a sort of choreography of gestures, movements, words, clear and marked, but also capable of deeply involving the spectators. An excellent work rewarded by long, long applause…
Gazzetta di Parma • Valeria Ottolenghi
An emotional monologue about the unification of Italy, with words that seem written to describe today. But the work does not live only on a playwriting that avoids rhetoric by surprisingly adopting a rhyme structure that on the one hand recalls the popular ballad and on the other allows a detachment from the subject matter, but also due to the intense presence of a protagonist who voices a thousand characters, using darkness as a stage space that is both precious and claustrophobic and a chair that becomes a beloved woman, a hiding spot to ambush, a real and metaphorical prison for any existence forced by events to be heroic…
Corriere del Mezzogiorno • Nicola Viesti



  • Briganti - Prologue
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  • Briganti – Prologue
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