Etty Hillesum: A Voice outside the Camp

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Applause for Elena Vannoni’s captivating piece


Each moment has “its place” in Etty Hillesum’s journal. The signs: “Jews keep out”, blisters on the feet for being barred from riding bicycles, the “war behind the window”, but also love for writing, joy in sharing, and care for the self within. “Etty Hillesum: A Voice Outside of the Camp”, on stage, for the Holocaust Remembrance Day, last Thursday, January 26th, at the Pavoni Theatre in the city – directed by Elena Vannoni, produced by Theatre Factory Studio and Maddalena Ischiale through Racconti di Scena – is a portrait of the German occupation in Amsterdam: so many small muddy fossils surmounted, around the great and crushed landscape that is Etty. In order to not be trapped by the threatening jaws of Nazi occupation, she divides herself into two. A beautiful game of reflections between Martina Mazzocchi (Etty) and Emanuela Sabatelli (Etty Tide). Same coat, same gloves, same hat, worn in synchrony, but the heartbeats different beats and different temperaments. Etty is a pacifist, spiritual, patient; Etty Tide, a ship without a mooring, navigates more human waters: faced with abuses and injustice, she is indignant, she rebels, she loses her center. Meanwhile, like pawns on a chessboard, the familial and social microcosm moves all around; behind it, mobile barricades. In the beautiful stage design of Maurizio Guidetti and Giorgio Piantoni, highlighted by Lorenzo Brusci’s music, doors become tables, tables become beds, in a continuous coming and going of characters. A deep and courageous study, with several ovations, from which one is sure to leave enriched. With a new gift, as Etty would say, one that is born, instant after instant, when life flows inside like an uninterrupted flux.

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