—Creator, actor, playwright and director Pippo Delbono is one of the main figures on the Italian stage. Described as “unique among Italian artists” by the La Reppublica newspaper, Delbono has been the precursor of a kind of theater whose great audiovisual content is the backdrop for intimate stories, normally based on personal experiences and performed by him and a special company made up at different times of deaf-mutes, youngsters with Downs Syndrome and homeless people. This is Delbono’s second time at Santiago a Mil, having presented Enrico V, his own version of the Shakespearean tragedy, in 2008.
—Since its premiere in March 2018, La Gioia has received positive reviews, both for its emotional story - which aims to convey that joy doesn’t exist without pain or suffering - as well as for the onstage performances of Delbono and his troupe. The most touching moments occur when the voice of Bobò - Delbono’s partner who died in January this year and to whom the play is dedicated - is heard. “Bobò’s lifeforce can be felt in each word, each gesture on the stage: the same as when he was alive, but yet so different”, says Franco Cordelli, columnist for Corriere della Sera.
—The production seamlessly incorporates different performing arts genres: theater, music, dance and even circus all come together in Delbono’s journey through the emotions. “To preserve joy, you don’t need to keep it in a jar, but rather make a pact with it: you need to decide that joy will be your path in life”, he says.
—Thiérry Boutémy: He’s the Belgian floral artist responsible for the impressive garden of flowers seen in La Gioia, something highly symbolic, since Pippo Delbono has said that he included it in the play because flowers are like happiness: beautiful and short-lived. Boutémy is famous for being the florist for Lady Gaga’s shows and for working with Sofía Coppola on productions like Marie Antoinette.
—Commedia dell’arte: Born as a popular form of theater in sixteenth-century Italy, this style blends dramatics with acrobatics, masks and dances. It could be said that La Gioia has some of this genre.