Sometimes it just so happens that failure is the guise for great opportunity instead. This is the case of the Teatro India, an excellent example of rehabilitation and conversion of abandoned spaces. It was the destiny of the now former citadel of the Mira Lanza factory, that industrial reality which, from the beginning of the 20th century until the end of the Second World War, should have represented the Italian dream of industrialization. From the ashes of these plants an innovative cultural reality arose, a place of experimentation for international art. From theater to dance, from performative events to music, a space to have meaningful encounters, to create beauty from intellect, communication, new ideas. In short, a place to transmit culture.
In September of 1999, a few steps from the city center, along the Tiber, the second theater of the Municipality of Rome was being inaugurated. The place still has a surreal atmosphere that makes it seem like it exists outside a specific dimension, taking us back in time to a place without precise coordinates. It is the Teatro India, founded by the actor and director Mario Martone who was also its first director. A space with a vibrant iconography, sometimes unique and extremely characterizing. An area dominated by the immense Gazometro, another industrial fossil that has become a symbol of an era and of industrial archeology that has brought various structures of the Eternal City to be redeveloped and reused, giving it new life and new meaning.
The idea behind the theater is the same that underlies a lot of contemporary theaters. The need for non-traditional spaces, where it is possible to stage performances that are immersive, involving, that create an interaction with the audience. Banning the classic frontal dimension, to create a reality where the viewer is on the same level as the actors. It is a place that wants to act as an incubator for itinerant artistic projects that can be located on multiple levels. For instance, a new proposal that has come to life on its stages is the epicity between supra and sub-human explored by the Teatro Valdoca, the constantly evolving group by Motus, the multimedia research by the American Big Art Group, which hosts the Short Theater, a multidisciplinary festival in which artistic currents from every corner of the world can meet and mingle.
The reason behind the name? A calling, a prophecy, a link with the other Capitoline theater. Argentina and India. Two continents lend their names to the two theaters. Thus, the concept of travelling, of adventure, of discovery becomes an immediate metaphor of knowledge, of the plurality of the world, of cultures, of being. At the end of the day, what is art if not the gradual collision and discovery ofthe Other and of the Self?
You can visit the theater, a place where past hopes and current certainties intertwine. For info see the official website.
Theater India, Lungotevere Vittorio Gassman, 1, Rome.
Photo: from the site of the theater.