Skip to main content
Image
Lo spettacolo

the show

On the paths of Europe

What if Alexander the Great had actually been a foreshadowing of Europe? In other words, what if he had anticipated the contradiction between the desire for conquest and the curiosity for otherness, which are at the basis of the historical restlessness of the so-called European civilization, a civilization which has always been divided between the angst of conquest, which destroys, and the apprehension of knowledge, which preserves?

Mattia Cason and Alessandro Conte have been doing research for many years starting from this suggestion. The first result of this  research was a performance called “Etiopjke/Le Etiopiche” (winner of the 2021 Scenario Award). This performance was focused on the arrival of Alexander the Great in Asia and his clash with Memnon of Rhodes, a Greek mercenary commander at the Persians’ service. It was imagined as the precursor of a new, but at the same time very ancient idea: that of an Afro-Asiatic Europe. An idea that Alexander would make his own only at the end of his adventures.

“On the Paths to Europe” is born from the essential themes of “Etiopjke/Le Etiopiche”, in particular it connects the rediscovery of the European civilization’s Afro-Asian roots with contemporary migrations, suggested as a precious opportunity for us Europeans to truly understand who we are.

The dramaturgical plot of this new performance is centered on Mattia and Alessandro’s encounter with Muhammad'Abd al-Mun'im, a publisher, writer and poet from Aleppo who was forced to abandon Syria because of his opinions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Muhammad's latest novel, “Ala Durūbi Awrūba” / “On the Paths to Europe", narrates the story of how he escaped from Syria and his journey to Ljubljana, beyond Turkey, the Aegean Sea and the Balkans. This book makes up the initial inspiration for the performance, along with an ancient 15th century text called Sirat al-Iskandar wa mā fihā min al-'Ajā'ib wa 'l-Gharā'ib / “The story of Alexander and the wonderful things it contains”, which narrates the adventures (in part historical, but mostly fantastic) of Alexander in Africa and Asia. Starting from these writings, an interlacing of stories, symbols and echoes take place that the audience will follow in different languages - from Friulian to Amharic, from ancient Greek to Arabic, from Persian to the language of dance.

The astonished gaze of these three anarchists recalls the adventures of Alexander and the history of Europe, trying to re-collect how originally it too was different, foreign, so wonderfully foreign as to remind us of those who still cross the sea today in an attempt to reach Europe.

But it's not just the people on the stage who do this: along with them, standing by their side, the whole audience will find themselves hoping, sometimes even believing, that curiosity and the wonder that it produces can really be a first step to take the individual beyond identity, society beyond the nation and Europe beyond itself.

The body dances

A performance on the move, which experiments with places on the margin and recognizes the essence of Europe in them. A multilingual, multimedia performance that embraces and mixes temporal planes, involving the audience and local communities in a collective reflection - a reflection which is danced, sung, imagined - around the idea of Europe.

Stavoli / I Stai
ISOLA DI STAVOLI FESTIVAL
Stavoli / I Stai
ISOLA DI STAVOLI FESTIVAL
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Hidden among the mountains, woods and debris of the right bank of the river Fella, between the Benedictine abbey of San Gallo a Moggio and the railway station in Carnia, is the abandoned village of Stavoli, where the people who once lived there, or their descendants, are sometimes taken from nostalgia and go back to make hay, eat something or just spend some time together.

Sankt Peter in Holz / Teurnia
Sankt Peter in Holz / Teurnia
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
On a hill stretching towards the south-east, as if wanting to chase the waters of the Drava, are the remains of a city that was first Celtic and then Roman and which, in the late imperial age, even became the capital of the province of Noricum mediterraneum. Just below, the remains of a church hide a mosaic that makes it seem as if found in Aquileia.

Pontebba / Pontafel
Pontebba / Pontafel
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
A stream that has acted for centuries as a border between the Patriarchate of Aquileia and the Bishopric of Bamberg, the Serenissima Republic and the Holy Roman Empire, the Reign of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On its right, clinging on the old Venetian embankment close to the bridge, is the garden of Mrs. Lazara Bucarely Gardenas, from the province of Matanzas, Cuba.

Ambulanta E preko 4G
Ambulanta E preko 4G
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Pokljuka karstic plateau, with its rough surface full of ridges, sinkholes and hidden craters covered almost entirely by a vast coniferous forest. Here, lost somewhere, is the Konjska Dolina clearing, where it is said that horses once grazed. Not far away, on a hill in the thick of the woods, is the Ambulanta E preko 4G, the partisan hospital that the enemy never managed to discover.

Stadt auf dem Magdalensberg
Stadt auf dem Magdalensberg
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Wall foundations formed in an opus incertum, nestled on the grassy slope of the Magdalensberg, with the emerald green of the hill giving even more depth to the shapes, volumes, and mystery altogether: how is it that two thousand years ago, at these same latitudes, Isis was venerated as if we were in Alexandria and today it all seems so impossible, so distant?

Peršmanhof / Peršmanova domačija
Peršmanhof / Peršmanova domačija
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Among the most eastern peaks of the Karavanke mountains, near a passage hidden in the woods, is a large sloping roof over long white walls with red flowers on the windowsills. The building, renovated in 2012, is all that remains of the old Peršman farm, set on fire by the Nazis in one of their last massacres just before their surrender.

Fusine Confine / Stog Pr Jalen
Fusine Confine / Stog Pr Jalen
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements

The performance will be preceded by the talk "The walking body" with Angelo Floramo, Špela Ledinek Lozej and Emil Krištof. Chairperson: Anton Špacapan Vončina.

The former hotel of the former railway station of the former Ljubljana-Tarvisio railway line dividing the watershed between Drava and Sava, between the Slavic-speaking agro-pastoral community of Rateče and the German-speaking mining community of Weißenfels, with a redundant Italy and a magnificent kozolec around the corner. 

Trenta
Trenta
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
An extraordinary karstic overflow spring engraved like a wound on the rock. The waters of the Isonzo flow out at first calm, diaphanous, turquoise, then abandoning themselves to the drop and giving off an effervescence of waterfalls, splashes and foam. Around the Isonzo is the widespread settlement of Trenta, and in Trenta are the former barracks of the Royal Italian Army, and in front of the former barracks is a beautiful field.

Ravelnik
Ravelnik
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Austro-Hungarian first line barricaded on two anonymous hills to protect the soft underbelly of the front, the Bovec plain at the confluence of the Isonzo and Koritnica. Between the trenches and barbed wire fences, now loomed over by centuries-old lime, ash and hornbeam trees, it seems as though you can still hear the adhān for the Muslim soldiers of the Bosnisch- Hercegovinische 4th Infantry Regiment, and among the fallen leaves of the woods the recollection of the surrender of a soldier.

Purgessimo / Puriessin
Purgessimo / Puriessin
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
At the confluence of Nadiža/Natisone and Aborna/Alberone, is a prehistoric fortified settlement on which later a Roman fort and the medieval castle of Grünenberg/Gronumbergo were added. Just below the castle is a bunker from the Cold War and further back, in town, a barracks serving the bunker which in the 1990s became an emergency accommodation center for refugees from the war in Yugoslavia. It now lies in ruins, covered by ivy and nature. Next to the barracks is another beautiful meadow.

Rut / Rutte di Gracova
Rut / Rutte di Gracova
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
On a spur protruding from the steep southern slopes of the Krn-Tolminski Kuk-Rodica ridge, is a small church with a rare fresco representation of the Riba Faronika, the mythical half-woman, half-fish creature who, by waving its two tails, would cause earthquakes. Next to the church is a wonderful centuries-old lime tree and all around is the small village of Rut.

Montemaggiore / Brezje
Montemaggiore / Brezje
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Natisone river arising from the confluence of two streams, Rio Bianco and Rio Nero, with the two streams descending from the spurs of a mountain cut in half by the border. From the Montemaggiore hill a very intricate morphology opens up before your eyes and, looking at a map, the toponymy doesn't help much.

Kobarid / Caporetto
Kobarid / Caporetto
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements

The performance will be preceded by the talk "Between two rivers" with Nadja Velušček, Anja Medved and Zdravko Likar. Chairperson: Anton Špacapan Vončina.

The Kobarid of the First World War, defeat or miracle depending on your perspective, but also of the Second World War, with the first partisan republic that saw Italians and Slovenians unite together. First of all though, the intersection of two valleys, that of the Soča and that of the Nadiža, which has always been a place of transit between Aquileia and Carinthia, Venice and the Empire, the Mediterranean and the continent. 

Sabotin / Sabotino
Sabotin / Sabotino
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Sabotin of the First World War, the Sabotin of conquests and massacres, along with the Sabotin of the Cold War, with its border guards exchanging coffee, tobacco and porno magazines. Even more, however, the Sabotin beyond any war, always an extraordinary stage on the Julian Alps, on Aquileia, on the world.

Hrušica / Ad Pirum
Hrušica / Ad Pirum
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
A secondary road losing itself in dense and gloomy woods, crossing a mountain pass of the last Alps or the first Dinarics. An old post station now transformed into a tavern but maintaining the name, Stara Pošta. Finally, as an outline, the remains of an immense Roman fortress forming part of the defense system of the Claustra Alpium Iuliarium.

Prvačina / Gradišče nad Prvačino
Prvačina / Gradišče nad Prvačino
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Two small villages on two facing hills, one higher up, the other one lower down, with only the Vipava dividing them with its meanders and Mount Trstelj acting as a guard. But those who know the history of these places know well that part of their soul is elsewhere, beyond the Karst, beyond the sea, in the country of the "black land", 𓆎𓏏𓊖 kmt.

Visc / Visco
Visc / Visco
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Looking from the fortress walls, Visco is right there beyond the Contarini bastion, in the same direction from where the Ottoman raiders once came galloping. On a day with good weather you can still see with the naked eye the concentration camp where the Italians locked up thousands of Yugoslavians, and a little further on, the beautiful 19th century building of the former Austro-Hungarian customs house.

Jewish cemetery of Rožna Dolina
Jewish cemetery of Rožna Dolina
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements

The performance will be preceded by the talk "Once upon a time in Gorizia" with Hans Kitzmüller, Renato Podbersič and Anja Medved. Chairperson: Anton Špacapan Vončina.

Where up until the day before yesterday it was only the cart road to Vienna that went up a valley of roses, today it’s a mishmash of roundabouts, overpasses, petrol pumps and Casino Royal. The only steady point in the tumult of jackpots, pretentious car engines and breathtaking necklines on the billboards with a three rotating faces' prismatic support, is the ancient Jewish cemetery, and inside the cemetery a boy denouncing rhetoric.

 

Marano Lagunare / Maràn
Marano Lagunare / Maràn
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
An ancient fortress without anymore walls, suspended between a Sea Gate and a Golden Gate. Just outside are the typical fishermen's houses made of wood, straw and marsh reeds. All around are lagoon, sandbanks and egrets. Forgotten in the mud of the seabed are terracotta pipes in the shape of a Turk's head, complete with a turban and mustaches

Škocjan / San Canziano
Škocjan / San Canziano
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
In the center of the Karst there is a small stone church dedicated to the holy martyrs Canzio, Canziano and Canzianilla. Next to the church there is a free-standing bell tower, in Aquileian style. All around, a meadow of soft green grass surrounded by stone walls and a little further out, the abyss of the Reka river, which right here goes underground becoming Timavo.

Prosecco e Contovello / Prosek in Kontovel
Prosecco e Contovello / Prosek in Kontovel
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Just above the Miramare castle is the overhang of the Karst ridge and above the ridge, among caves, ravines, ancient Castellieri (fortified prehistoric settlements), Austro-Hungarian cemeteries and bunkers from the Second World War, we can find the villages of Prosek/Prosecco, Kontovel/Contovello and the more recent Borgo San Nazario, built in the 1950s for exiles from Koper.

Mouths of the Timavo / Monfalcone
Mouths of the Timavo / Monfalcone
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Timavo springs return to light after sinking into the Karst. There is a church here, too, but much earlier there were Roman mithraeums, Greek temples, a sacred forest. It seems impossible that where in ancient times there was peace, a short time ago there was a world war, just as it seems impossible that where in ancient times there was a lake, today there is an industrial area.

Aquileia / Oglej
Aquileia / Oglej
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements

The performance will be preceded by the talk "Afroasiatic Aquileia" with  Andrea Bellavite, Gian Paolo Gri and Giorgio Banchig. Chairperson: Anton Špacapan Vončina.

The last remnants of pine forest on the sand dunes overlooking the Grado lagoon, there where in ancient times similar woods covered the entire coast at least up to the Timavo. On a dune the small church of San Marco, where legend has it that the evangelist from Alexandria arrived to begin his catechetical work. A little further in, going up the course of a river, a basilica with a mosaic floor beyond belief.

Botazzo / Botač
Botazzo / Botač
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The Rosandra stream marks the border between Karst and Istria, among cliffs, screes and sheer walls. Above the cliffs are prehistoric Castellieri, the usual anti-Ottoman fortress and a small church for penitent cursers. In the village is Ferruccio, who despite his clear progressive orientation, ends up cursing too, when passing migrants steal his watermelons.

Kaštel / Castelvenere
Kaštel / Castelvenere
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Marking the border between Slovenian Istria and Croatian Istria (do they really exist?), beyond the deep incision of the Dragonja/Dragogna, is the fortress of Kaštel/Castelvenere. Many of the houses are abandoned, many terraces are in disuse, and in the cemetery of the church of San Sabba the majority of the surnames are Italian. Something in the air reminds me of Palestine, but Vlasta Svetina tells me of another tragedy.

Labin / Albona
Labin / Albona
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
Beyond the deep incision of the Arsa, the historical border between regio X Venetia et Histria and Illyricum, is the fortress of Albona, formerly a Roman municipium and then a Venetian citadel controlling important coal deposits, where the lion of Saint Mark still stands out among imposing noble buildings and the ruins of the exiles’ homes. On a wall there is written 2.3.1921 Kova je naša, and suddenly it's a completely different story.

Osòr / Ossero
Osòr / Ossero
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements
The very long wall of the former Benedictine abbey on a meadow plain falling into the sea, the sheep ruffled by the wind and Mount Televrina motionless in the background. Idir ann is idir as/idir thuaìdh is idi theas/idir thiar is idir thoir/ idir am is idir áit... but what does Ireland have to do with it now? Is a sea channel really enough to separate two islands?

Trst / Trieste
Trst / Trieste
Waters
Borders
Conflicts
Traditions
Estrangements

The performance will be preceded by the talk "The Balkan route" with Egidio Ivetić and Roberta Altin. Chairperson: Anton Špacapan Vončina.

The central railway station inaugurated in the presence of Franz Joseph. Opposite is the monument to his wife Sissi, stabbed to death by an anarchist. While some volunteers give the migrants coming from the Balkan Route a hot meal, a barrier is there to prevent anyone from mixing with the blue blood of the empress.