Sixty years of Brecht at the Piccolo are told through six keywords –
KNOWLEDGE, HUMANITY, JUSTICE, WAR, WORK, POWER –
which are emblematic of the German writer’s works and the poetry.
Every word is illustrated through audio-visual and photographic elements
from the Brecht shows produced by the Piccolo Teatro di Milano over the
period of time from 1956 to the present.
Of the 27 stagings of works by Brecht, or based on Brecht, created at the
Piccolo, 14 carry the signature of Giorgio Strehler, beginning with his
version of the Threepenny Opera which made its debut in via Rovello on 10
February 1956 in the presence of its author.
It was the spark that was to bring life to a story which was destined not only
to never be interrupted, but which was to periodically return in the history of
the Piccolo in a continuous exchange of ideas with contemporaneity.
From Life of Galileo (1963) to The Good Person of Szechwan (1981), from
Story of an abandoned doll (1976) to the experience of the Festival Brecht
in the autumn of 1995, Brecht was, for Giorgio Strehler, a constant and
continuous confrontation in his rapport with society.
The Piccolo of the third millennium does nothing to interrupt the relationship
with the playwright from Augsburg: Robert Carsen with Mother Courage
and her children (2006) and Luca Ronconi with Saint Joan of the
Stockyards (2012), the only Brecht staging of his career, add further pieces
to the Brecht mosaic. Brecht, in sixty years of history, from his origins as a
contemporary writer, has taken his place as a classic of Western literature.
The rapport between Brecht and the Piccolo is closely bound to the events
which signalled profound changes in the world. An essential chronology,
created with competence and sensibility by the critic Maurizio Porro and
projected on the wall to the right of the entrance of the multimedia space,
evokes the context in which the shows were conceived. This temporal scan
also highlights dates and essential moments in the history of the Politecnico
di Milano, the Piccolo’s partner in the creation of the project, bearing
witness to how the histories of the two Institutions have always run parallel,
in close contact with the society in which they both operate.