The performance is based on a literary-political essay written by Bertolt Brecht titled Writing the truth: five difficulties. Written in 1934, after Hitler’s rise to power, for the German exiled playwright this was like a manual of military strategy through which he could dictate rules on how to tell the truth to the weak and fight the lies of those in who held the power. ErosAntEros decides to divulge this text together with some poems by the same author, in a performance concentrated on sound and voice, with the vocal presence of Agata Tomšič and the live electronics by Davide Sacco, and on the visual aspect with the projection of reality images by the photographer Michele Lapini, a sensitive observer of the social, environmental and political issues that characterize today’s world.

The work that ErosAntEros is trying to accomplish can be explained through Walter Benjamin “citation” (quote) technique. It was a way of pulling a segment of the past full of “now” – which provided an answer to the political situation of today – and then installing it into the present, in a similar way as the company is now trying to work, putting the text in relation to the images of our present. Lapini’s pictures are themselves dialectical: they unfold on multiple planes, they associate within the same framing different meanings that assembled together lead to a new legibility of the reality of which they are a trace. The artistic act becomes a political action. A battle to make this essay known, relating it with frames capable of making people see reality in a different light, following Brecht’s idea that a book is a weapon, and Benjamin’s theory that art should hit the spectator like a bullet. 

“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgement to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons. These are formidable problems for writers living under Fascism, but they exist also for those writers who have fled or been exiled; they exist even for writers working in countries where civil liberty prevails.” Bertolt Brecht, Prologue to Writing the truth: five difficulties

based on the literary-political essay Writing the truth: five difficulties by Bertolt Brecht
translation by Bianca Zagari

concept and direction Davide Sacco and Agata Tomšič / ErosAntEros
texts Bertolt Brecht
stage adaptation Agata Tomšič
with Agata Tomšič
live electronics Davide Sacco
photos Michele Lapini
video Francesco Tedde

production ErosAntEros – POLIS Teatro Festival

copyright Suhrkamp Verlag AG Berlin courtesy of the Agency Danesi Tolnay

duration 45 min

The matinée is a special project dedicated to Ravenna high schools

ErosAntEros was born from the union of Davide Sacco and Agata Tomšič in 2010. Their artistic research brings forward an engaged theater that does not give up the aesthetic value of form, in a strong relation whit the history, the present and the places in which is created, with the aim to connect theater to life and make the imagination a weapon to transform reality. Over the years they have been produced and supported by important theatrical institutions, such as Emilia Romagna Teatro ERT / Teatro Nazionale, TNL – Théâtre National du Luxembourg, Ravenna Festival, Campania Teatro Festival, Teatro della Toscana, TPE – Teatro Piemonte Europa, Teatro della Tosse. They have been involved in important international projects at: the Festival d’Avignon (in 2023 and 2022 with European Theatre Convention; in 2018 with ProHelvetia and MiBACT); the F.I.N.D. plus festival of the Schaubühne in Berlin (in 2015, with Emilia Romagna Teatro and Prospero Project); the Grotowski Institute of Wroclaw and the Odin Teatret / Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium of Holstebro (between 2014 and 2017). Since 2018 they are directing POLIS Teatro Festival.

Michele Lapini is a Bologna-based Italian freelance photojournalist. He studied Development Economics and International Cooperation and holds a Master’s in Development, Cooperation and Human Rights. His work is characterized by a deep interest in social, political and environmental issues: he has been chronicling the impact of the climate crisis in Italy on local areas and communities for several years and has been following the struggles of social and environmental movements. He also collaborates with NGOs, following international cooperation projects. He has been collaborating with La Repubblica since 2015 and is a co-founder of Arcipelago-19, a network of photographers. In addition to his work as a photojournalist, he also works in various sectors: cinema, publishing and public art. His work has been published by Internazionale, Stern, El Pais, L’Espresso, The Guardian, Die Zeit, Nature, and others. He won the 2021 Environmental Photographer of the Year award in the Future Landscapes category and the 2021 Italian Sustainability Photo Award for best single photograph.