Sinopia by Marco Pergallini and Maria Stella Pitarresi (extra band, not strictly Under-25) is performed in a traditional theatre setting. The word ‘sinopia’ refers to the preparatory layer of a drawing in which a red earth is used. In biblical terms, Adam and Eve are the sinopia of human life. The base layer of Sinopia comprises two spotlights: man and woman, half-undressed, and very alone. In one spotlight, Pergallini writhes, back turned, muscles awkwardly fragmenting themselves under skin. Nearby, Pitarresi ripples rather than twitches, though is confined all the same. The juxtaposition between their enclosure and surrounding sounds of birds and breeze is an uneasy suggestion that utopia is not what it seems.
They magnetise through a series of counterbalances, approached hesitantly but then repeated and accelerated. Pitarresi soon airplanes over Pergallini’s shoulders, and they use each other as pillars to swing, spring and lean from. Synchronised floorwork of extreme virtuosity is a whirlwind physical feat that unfolds too fast to comprehend. They collapse into the ground only to be propelled upwards again.
They are no longer slaves to their spotlights, but rather to the force compelling them to exhaust themselves, a confinement of more sinister implications. This is their expulsion from paradise. Facing each other, and not only in the physical sense, feels foreign but necessary, even if they don’t know why. Stripped nude and collapsed atop of one another, they have nothing left to give to us. Yet it is very clear this is only the beginning.
The exhaustion goes beyond the physical kind, so is relatable despite spectators being seated, unmoving themselves. Piarresi and Pergallini pushed on and on, but by the end, had they actually gone anywhere? Their progression didn’t feel like a forward one, rather a cyclical, enclosed suffering, reminding me of how futile the climate fight can feel, how persistent outcry renders only small increments in social change, and of the stubborn inevitability of losses along the way. If anything, their two bodies coming together was a passionate reminder that our humanity mustn’t be forgotten within the unforgiving, often backwards patterns in contemporary society.
Tu. Io e te. Tu ed io. Noi. Loro. Noi e loro (Under-25/#NOPRESENT) is another outdoor duet, created site-specifically elsewhere and adapted for Senza Titolo. Alessandra and Roberta Indolfi play to our fascination with identical twins as they morph between two individuals and one. Facing the audience directly, one conceals herself behind the other, before clambering onto her shoulders. They run incessantly up and down stage, sliding on their knees, disturbing the ground into small clouds of dust and gravel. Fighting in the brick archway, they move side to side like crabs, in and out of view as they claw and shout. Beyond this, interaction with the space is unmemorable. But their confrontational expressions, daring us to be there – I couldn’t seem to forget them. If there is a piece demanding to be heard, just as youth do, in their furious, enlivened activism, it is this one.