x-ics-8Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò (MOTUS)

Motus was founded in 1991 by Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò. Right from the start of this artistic adventure the personal lives of Daniela and Enrico have been inseparable from their theatre activities, sharing all the phases of the creative process with the actors of the various “theatre bands” set up.

Motus has always sculpted its projects by action and reaction with regard to everyday facts large and small, like litmus paper, feeding on the contradictions of the contemporary, translating them and making them active material for reflection and provocation. It indipendently produced numerous theatre shows and space-specific events/happenings conceived for unusual venues.

With the productions Occhio Belva (1994), Catrame (1996), O.F ovvero Orlando furioso (1998) and Orpheus Glance (2000) Motus’s theatre in perpetual transformation gained considerable fame at home and abroad. The video of Orlando Furioso won the production prize at the 1999 Riccione TTV Festival. In the same year the company was awarded both the Special Ubu Prize (“For the obstinate and creative coherency of a visionary research into redesigning spaces and filtering myths”) and the Young Talents prize, put up by the magazine Lo straniero, editor Goffredo Fofi.

In November 2000 the Ubu Prizes judges awarded the company the Special Prize for Project Prototype. In connection with this experience Daniela and Enrico contributed a section to the book Certi Prototipi di Teatro. Storie, poetiche, sogni di quattro gruppi teatrali, edited by Renata Molinari and Cristina Ventrucci for Ubulibri. Still in the same year the show Visio gloriosa, which debuted at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, won the competition “Seven Shows for a New Italian Theatre in 2000”.

In 2001 the idea of the theatre project Rooms was developed, on the theme of hotel rooms. The show Twin Rooms was an important co-production with the Venice Theatre Biennale and the international network Temps d’Image of Paris. In this case the stage became an actual film set, intermingling theatre and cinema narration.

In May 2002, again in the context of the Rooms project, the company premiered Splendid’s, based on Jean Genet’s play. To crown two years of intense work the company was awarded the Special Ubu Prize “For the play of doubling images and story in the evolution of the Rooms project”. Splendid’s was a finalist in the most prestigious category “Play of the Year”. Twin Rooms won the prize for best foreign show in Montreal, Canada.

In 2003-2004 Motus began a new journey, through the words and images of Pier Paolo Pasolini, with the creation of the shows Come un cane senza padrone [Like a Dog without a Master] (presented as part of the project Petrolio, organised by Mario Martone in Naples) and L’Ospite [The Guest], produced with the Théâtre Nationale de Bretagne in Rennes. The following year the publisher UBU Libri brought out, in its “I libri quadrati” series, Io vivo nelle cose. Appunti di viaggio da “Rooms” a Pasolini, by Daniela Nicolò and Enrico Casagrande.

In Spring 2005 Motus began to tackle the Anti-theatre of Rainer Werner Fassbinder with the creation of Piccoli Episodi di fascismo quotidiano [Little Episodes of Everyday Fascism], inspired by Pre-Paradise Sorry Now, and the disturbing Rumore Rosa [Pink Noise], freely adapted from The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.

In 2007 the company set out on a specific, almost documentary exploration of adolescence, subdivided in the project X(ics) Racconti crudeli della giovinezza [X(ics) Cruel Tales of Youth] into four shows, a film and eclectic moments of performance. Focus was thus shifted to the outer cities and today’s youth, disoriented and dispersed in the metropolitan scenario, in order to grasp and give voice to those forms of anomalous resistance among adolescents in the French, German and Italian banlieues.

In the same year the Rimini Municipal Administration awarded Daniela and Enrico the prestigious “Sigismondo d’oro”.

The project Syrma Antigónes, begun in 2008, grew out of the idea of analysing the relationship/conflict between generations, taking the tragic figure of Antigone as archetype of struggle and resistance. Silvia Calderoni, who has been with the company since 2005, is the intelligent and tireless protagonist. She won the 2009 Ubu Prize for best actress under 30. The project has resulted in three contests – Let the Sunshine In (antigone) contest#1, Too late! (antigone) contest#2 and Iovadovia (antigone) contest#3 and the show Alexis. Una tragedia greca [Alexis. A Greek Tragedy] premiered in Fall 2010. Jury of the Association of Theatre Critics of Quebec (A.Q.C.T.) has awarded to Motus’s Alexis. the price for Best Foreign Performance for the season 2011-12.

In 2010 Enrico Casagrande, on behalf of the whole company, was artistic director of the 40th Santarcangelo Festival, part of a three year project that envisages across the board collaboration with another two theatre companies in the region: Societas Raffaello Sanzio of Cesena (2009) and Teatro delle Albe of Ravenna (2011).

In Summer 2011, Motus has opened a broader and visionary front of observation to “collect” figurative projections of the “Tomorrow that makes everybody tremble”, darting into the intricate panorama of revolutionary artists, writers, philosophers, comics artists and architects who have imagined (and still try to imagine) the Upcoming Near Future.

2011>2068 AnimalePolitico Project a new itinerary that through public actions, workshops, residencies. The plot is the revolution, the first opening-encounter of that new project, took place at the Teatro Petrella in Longiano as part of the Santarcangelo Festival 2011, an event that saw the meeting of two “Antigones”, Judith Malina of the Living Theatre and Silvia Calderoni: a dialogue between different generations, experiences, voices and physicalities that leads us to go on believing in theatre as a possibility of influencing the present.

For almost two years, Motus navigated throught injuries, conflicts from today and hallucinated visions of tomorrow, between utopias – distopiae and a little adrift between ages, reading Huxley, DeLillo, Ballard, Dick, London, Thoreau… During the journey the fuse was finaly found : Shakespeare’s The Tempest, play-within-the-play, and, amazed and irreverent, Motus’ directors decided to mangle it to go even deeper into that urge overflowing from each character: the desire of freedom. NELLA TEMPESTA, the new theatre production was premiered at Festival TransAmériques in Montréal (Canada) from 24th to 27th May 2013.

All Daniela and Enrico’s artistic work goes hand in hand with an intense programme of public meetings, lectures and master classes at Italian and foreign universities, precisely in connection with the company’s complex theatrical and videographic projects.


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