Presentation by Mimmo Cuticchio and his theatre company Figli d’Arte Cuticchio
As an introduction to the theatre performance Duello di Orlando e Rinaldo per amore della bella Angelica, Mimmo Cuticchio leads the public to the discovery of the ancient art of the pupari, the traditional Sicilian puppeteers. He will also perform a short demonstration of thecuntu. Musical scores by Giacomo Cuticchio.
Mimmo Cuticchio is the direct heir of an age-old form of popular (street) theatre, the Teatro dell’Opera dei pupi siciliani, Sicilian Puppet Theatre, handed down to him by his father Giacomo. It is in fact to Giacomo that we owe the relaunch of this type of theatre, which after the decline it experienced in the fifties and sixties, had become relegated mostly to the realm of folklore.
In 1973 Cuticchio opened the Teatro dei Pupi Santa Rosalia in Palermo, and in 1977 he founded the Associazione Figli d’Arte Cuticchio, with the intention of safeguarding and handing down the artistic tradition of the Opera dei Pupi. In 2015 his collection of Sicilian Pupi which includes 19th and 20th Century marionettes, was purchased by the Fondazione Sicilia, and is now on show at the Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo.
Mimmo Cuticchio is not only cuntista e puparo (storyteller and puppeteer), but also actor and theatre director. He appeared in the film The Godfather Part III, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and in the film 100 Days in Palermo, directed by Giuseppe Ferrara, in which Mimmo was both author and narrator of the final monologue. Mimmo also appeared in the documentary film Prove per una tragedia siciliana, by John Turturro, and in the film Terraferma directed by Emanuele Crialese.
The Teatro dell’Opera dei pupi siciliani, dated with certainty at the end of the 18th Century, finds its roots in the desire for chivalric and literary themes to become part of popular (street) theatre. Thanks to the oprante’s (traditional puppet handlers) fidelity to the most authentic requirements dictated by tradition, and to the methods of staging passed on through oral tradition, the pupi or rather the “armed marionettes” still entertain audiences almost two centuries after their first appearance on the scene. They evoke the epic battles between the paladins of Charlemagne, passionate defenders of the Christian faith, and the terrifying and menacing Saracen infidels, representing betrayals, troubled love stories, miraculous apparitions, and assaults by ferocious animals and demonic creatures. The heroic exploits of these characters are narrated through the re-elaboration of the material contained in the novels and poem of the Carolingian cycle, and The History of the Paladins of France, as well as other sources such as Italian Renaissance poetry, the life of saints, and tales of famous bandits. Among other types of Sicilian storytellers, is the cuntista, who uses a particular technique of storytelling that distinguishes it from the typical work of the cantastorie. In fact in the Sicilian cunto (story) there is no singing, but rather a very dramatic scheme that relies on improvisation and is enriched by a rhythmic form of narration based on changes in breathing patterns. Mimmo Cuticchio is one of the few active cuntisti on the scene.
Presentation is in Italian
Free event. Bookings essential.