Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa & Jolefilm (Italy)
Photo: Masiar Pasquali

Wednesday, November 20, Main Hall

2h' without intermission 

Odysseus' shoemaker: Marco Paolini
Helen / Circe / Calypso / Nausicaa / Penelope: Saba Anglana
Athena / violin and electric bass: Elisabetta Bosio
Shepherd / Hermes: Vittorio Cerroni
Phemius: Lorenzo Monguzzi
Telemachus: Elia Tapognani

Directed by Gabriele Vacis

Director's assistant: Silvia Busato
Sets, lighting, and style: Roberto Tarasco
Original music: Lorenzo Monguzzi
With the contribution of Saba Anglana, Fabio Barovero
Lighting: Michele Mescalchin
Sound: Piero Chinello
Technical assistance: Pierpaolo Pilla
Technical director: Marco Busetto


The production was made possible thanks to the collaboration with Estate Teatrale Veronese and the Teatro Stabile Bolzano

institutional partners of Piccolo Teatro di Milano - Teatro d'Europa



This Odysseus, an elderly pilgrim, prefers not to reveal his identity and spins words which resemble the truth. He hides, lies, tells stories that he not only ends up believing, but which become reality and even legend. He left at dawn on the day after the archery contest and the massacre of the suitors. He had just enough time for a long cathartic cry with his son Telemachus and a night making love with Penelope before immediately departing once more.Because a destiny that was already written together with the will of the gods had forced him to massacre the 108 young Achaean Princes that had invaded his home, seducing his wife and the 12 handmaidens who had yielded to the invaders.

He could have claimed his innocence, because this is what the gods had said, considering that bloodshed to be a sacrificial rite, but Odysseus did not agree. Unable to avoid that destiny of death and violence, and after having been stained with that blood, here is the twist in the tale. Instead of enjoying the victory with the divine protection that came with it (Athena and Zeus were at his side to give their blessing both before and after the massacre),he condemns himself to the hardest of punishments and denounces as a crime that which the gods consider a carnage, the greatest sacrifice that a human can offer them. Thus, after twenty years of absence and misfortune,Odysseus forces himself into a new exile. He renounces the government and abandons his family and kingdom, leaving again with Telemachus at his side, who follows him without once saying a word. But above all,

Odysseus abandons the gods who want him triumphant and immortal. He rebels against their caprices, their ambiguous will, and is not afraid to pay the price for his decision. All of this, and much more, in the guise of a shoemaker - to be precise, the shoemaker of Odysseus, a stranger in tattered sandals, hardened by the years, by age, by the voyages, and shipwrecks - as he explains to a very young goatheard whom he has, apparently, met by chance. They talk as they climb a steep path, where an infinite stream of ant-men laboriously toil,carrying all kinds of delights, because this is the path which leads to Chalet Olympus, the divine home where the preparations are under way for a grand and mysterious feast. But the shoemaker, with his oar on his shoulder, has yet to discover all of this.

"How many and, above all, which gods does one have to deal with nowadays?I am obviously not referring to the unshakable convictions of a believer, but to the reasonable doubts of those who, considering the times in which they live, think with amazement and disillusion of the accelerations proposed to the human race. The possibility for long life, for mental and physical enhancement, the possibility to resist illness, etc... Staying human seems to be an excessively simple and reductive slogan, too nostalgic and reassuring when becoming a semi-god seems possible, at least for the most fortunate inhabitants of this world.For me, Ulysses is someone who knows a lot about the gods, and when faced by the sirens of immortality, he knows how to find the will to resist."

Marco Paolini

Photo: Masiar Pasquali