Teatro Stabile di Catania (Permanent Theatre of Catania)



From the autobiography of Vincenzo Rabito (1899-1981)


Adaptation, stage setting and artistic direction by Vincenzo Pirrotta

Featuring: Vincenzo Pirrotta,

Lucia Portale, Marcello Montalto, Alessandro Romano, Luca Mauceri, Salvatore Lupo, Giovanni Parrinello, Mario Spolidoro

Costumes: Giuseppina Maurizi

Original scores: Luca Mauceri

Coreography: Alessandra Luberti

Lighting design: Franco BuzzancaIMG_7131 (1)

@ the Italian Forum Cultural Centre 23 Norton Street, Piazza Level,

Leichhardt NSW 2040

TICKET SALE: http://www.trybooking.com/JSQG

17-19 December 2015

Thursday 17 at 8:00 pm

Friday 18 at 8:00 pm

Saturday 19  at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

ticket prices

ADULT $ 30.00;  CONCESSION* $ 25.00;  CHILD $ 15.00

NOTE: This play is in Italian, without subtitles however, an accompanying booklet that explains the show, in English, scene by scene, will be given with the ticket.

*Concession available to

Senior Citizens, Students,


FILEF, NIAWA, Italian Institute of Culture, Coordinamento Associazioni Siciliane (CAS), Dante Alighieri Society, CoAsIt and to all the residents of the Italian Forum in Leichhardt.


“Terramatta” by Sicilian Theatre Company at the Italian Forum

The Sicilian Teatro Stabile di Catania, one of the most accomplished theatre companies in Italy, presents in Sydney in December the stage adaptation of “Terramatta” (Crazy Land), re-enacting the extraordinary autobiography of Vincenzo Rabito, an illiterate peasant who lived through incredible hardship and adventures, over seven decades of the last stormy century of Italian history.

The four performances, from 17 to 19 December at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre in Leichhardt, will be part of the Double Belonging Italian/Australian Cultural Festival 2015, which for the second year features theatre, music, a short film festival, art exhibitions and conferences.

Vincenzo Rabito, born in 1899 in the small village of Chiaramonte Gulfi in Sicily’s hinterland, worked as a farm hand as a young boy, then fought in the trenches of the First World War, digging mass graves for the dead, worked in German coal mines during Nazism and in Italian colonies in Africa. He witnessed the allied landing in Sicily and managed to survive through Italy’s troubled transition from fascism to democracy. And finally he had the joy of seeing his three sons go through school and university, and become respected professionals.

Then for seven years, from 1968 to 1975, Rabito locked himself up in his room and every day, on his son Giovanni’s faithful Olivetti typewriter, produced a diary of over 1000 pages. His epic tale of the dispossessed, recounted from the perspective of those who struggle a daily war of survival, was discovered and made public by his loving son Giovanni, 14 years after his father’s death. In an abridged version it became a best seller when published by the renowned Einaudi Editore in 2007. Literary critics were united in hailing it as one of the most extraordinary examples of Italian popular literature, with its expressiveness of a unique spoken language, a mix of Italian and Sicilian.

The Teatro Stabile di Catania produced a stage version of the book with “the declared intention of penetrating the traditional roots and history of our island”. Their adaptation gives Terramatta a theatrical edge that preserves the author’s concept, giving back truthfully the language of an anti-hero, his narration of a “maletratata e molto travagliata e molto desprezata vita” – ofan ill-treated and very troubled and very loathed life.

TERRA MATTA Teatro Stabile di Catania

at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre in Leichhardt

Thursday 17 and Friday 18 December at 8 pm

Saturday 19 December two shows, at 2 pm and 8 pm


The first edition of the the Double Belonging Italian/Australian Cultural Festival took place in 2014, thanks to the vision of a group of Italian/Australian cultural associations and independent artists, who teamed up to organize a festival of artistic productions. Again being held at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre in Leichhardt, the event is an important showcase for local artists of Italian background.



Descraziate siciliane terramatta‘’Wretched sicilian crazyland’’. With these words, Vincenzo Rabito, describes and judges the Island (Sicily) and its people, looking back in anger to his interminable ordeal made of injustice and deception. Born in 1899, the railroad station master from Chiaramonte Gulfi (Ragusa) lives adventurously through the ‘Age of Extremes’, visibly showing his scars. His harsh memories are revealed in his secret diaries written in a curious mixing of Italian language and dialect, another variation of popular expression, almost reinvented, processed, day after day into a language as suggestive as well as improbable, atavistic, ancestral, verbal. This is the only possible language for an illiterate like him ‘’inafabeto”, however, he is compellingly determined to take off his chest his life story that hurts and moves at the same time. It is a candid, sincere confession brought to us by his loving son Giovanni fourteen years after his father’s death in an abridged version, which made a best seller in Italy by the title Terra matta (Crazy Land).

The book was published by the renowned Einaudi Editore in 2007. The Teatro Stabile di Catania (TSC) produced a stage version of the book with ‘’the declared intention – as stated by TSC Director Giuseppe Dipasquale – of penetrating once again the traditional roots and history of our Island, in line with our institutional mission of enhancing our Sicilian cultural identity’’. This is the starting point and the reason for choosing such a text. Its unique concept was commended to Vincenzo Pirrotta, a brilliant artist, a ‘cuntista’ (story-teller), a cantor of Sicilian beauties and horrors, of its glorious history and decadence.

The stage setting and direction are by Vincenzo Pirrotta; Giuseppina Maurizi designed the costumes; Luca Mauceri wrote the original music; Alessandra Luberti is responsible for the choreographies; Franco Buzzanca is the lighting designer. Together with Pirrotta on stage are: Amalia Contarini, Marcello Montalto, Alessandro Romano, Salvatore Lupo, Giovanni Parrinello, Mario Spolidoro. The actors give voice and body to a raw description of last century’s society. A tale told not by the usual winners, but by the lower class, the underdogs, the defeated. By those that are sinking further down, with no hope of ever be able of re-emerging. Vincenzo Rabito says that he always felt like the turtle reaching the finishing line “come la tartaruca, che stava arrevanto al traquardo” and yet, right at the last step, he tumbles down! “all’ultimo scalone cascavo”.

At the end of his life marathon, the meaning of every sacrifice endured gave Rabito his revenge through the liberating disclosure of facts not always morally edifying. ‘’If a man, in this life, doesn’t embrace adventures, he has nothing to tell.’’ The former Sicilian farm worker, locks himself up in his room and every day, from 1968 to 1975, without giving any explanation to no one, together with his old and faithful Olivetti typewriter, produces 1027 pages, without line spacing and no margins neither above, below nor laterally. The literary critic was unified saying that the result is a monumental work, probably the most extraordinary example of Italian popular literature. It is either the extraordinary expressiveness of such a macaronic language, a mixed of Italian and Sicilian, or Rabito’s literary talent that enables him to offer a brand new perspective to over a half of a century of Italian history.

It is an epic tale of the dispossessed from the perspective of those who struggle a daily war of survival. A life that was sorely tested at the beginning in the trenches of the First World War, then followed by the ‘African Campaign’ in which the colonial dream of the Italian fascists crashed, and again under the Second World War bombardments. A life marked by the atavistic starvation typical of the South of Italy and –on a more personal level- by a marriage spoiled by the presence of an acidic mother in law. Hardship never alleviated not even by the sudden prosperity produced by the so called ‘economic boom’ that allowed Vincenzo to provide his beloved sons with a high education and a dignified future of which he, as a father, was immensely proud. Nevertheless, for himself he chose a voluntary, domestic confinement to emancipate his soul through his tragicomic testimony that unfolds at an irresistible literary pace.

Vincenzo Pirrotta’s adaptation gives Terra Matta a dramaturgic edge that sensibly preserves the author’s concept for future audiences, giving back truthfully the speech that our anti-hero painfully sculpted in his, very private, last battle of his «maletratata e molto travagliata e molto desprezata» ‘’Unwelcomed and very troubled and very loathed’’ life.

IMG_7063 (1)IMG_7055 (1)


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Our Mission

    Double Belonging Festival is a non-for-profit event created directly by associations, individuals, artists and social activists exclusively to promote the best of the Italian culture and art in all its forms


    With DIEGO BONETTO Saturday 24 October @ 10am Callan Park, Rozelle