“F.M. and His Double” written, directed, and interpreted by Fabio Marceddu with the collaboration of Antonello Murgia, is a show supported by Consorzio Camù (Cagliari, Sardinia) and produced by the Teatro dellarmadio, a company of professionals of theater, music, and stenography. The name of the association itself, literally theater of the wardrobe, born in 2005, suggests the infinite secrets, fantasies, legends that the wardrobe doesn’t know to contain, and it can’t know because of its nature. The company’s work and story are based on the constant research and the individual at the center of each piece. The artistic path of the crew unfolds on different levels, going from the theater of the great masters of the past to new artistic forms, permeable by contamination. “F.M. and His Double,” that won the Audience Awards at the Le Voci dell’anima 2016 Festival, portrays a world that is changing through the point of view of a restless teenager, who is looking for his “stable ego.” F.M. is the story of a life, of a portion of life, in which the engine is theater. It talks about love for theater, of the necessity of doing theater, and of the difficulties of being an actor, especially in the suburbs of one’s own country.
How was the project born?
F.M. and His Double has roots back in 2011. That year, my colleague Antonello Murgia took two years off to get a degree in Film Directing at the ICMA of Milan, and I had to think about how to keep the company going by producing slim shows that would be undouble of interest and could be put on stage in any location. Therefore, when a company from Cagliari, The Crogiuolo, offered me the chance to create a monologue that talked about theater, I joined the project challenging myself and fixing a date. I knew that 6 months after I would have been able to “package” a reading on my theatrical life. My other parallel lives (university, health, and other jobs) are almost only mentioned. And that’s how it went. I have worked at this first sprout of “F.M. and His Double” from October 2011 to March 2012. Then the subheading was “24 years of theater” (now it’s 30). In fact, as I say in the monologue, I was 16 at my first theater workshop in 1988.
What are the strong points of the show? Why should people go watch it?
I think the show is Strength itself, because it mixes different genre and tells in an ironic and light way the difficult form-active path of a teenager that is looking for his human, sexual, and futurable world.
The strong points are the ability of not enduring life but of riding it, quick, simple, and genuine changes, comical and dramatical elements are perfectly fused, and music that is fully part of the play. Moreover, it talks about the passage from the First to the Second Italian Republic from the point of view of a young man from Sardinia transplanted into Calabria. One wants to be an actor, auditions with Gigi Proietti, and he sends him to Calabria!Being confined in Calabria is like a paradox for a Sardinian, but it was a revelation instead…It is absolutely a show Italians have to see, because it is a sort of mirror where to recognized ourselves and learn. But Americans as well, because it’s the confirmation and the mis-confirmation of many stereotypes.
What does it mean to you to perform in New York?
New York is the present. It’s time that moves and is still. It’s the beauty of the arts, the syncretic synthesis of human and artistic knowledge. It’s many reflecting spikes that raise up to the stars. It’s the dream where everything is possible. It’ the Atlantic where all those who couldn’t talk could navigate and have a voice. It’s the redemption from an Italian theater that, just like the entire artistic universe, is too busy worrying about Who we are and Where we come from, and it doesn’t wonder about where we are going. New York is the acting science, the Cathedral of emotions, The promised land to say it the Milena Agus’s way, and the place where Rachmaninov rests as my collaborator and director Antonello Murgia remembers. And if he rests in New York, then it is really the artists’ heaven. Moreover, I have an unfinished business: in 1988 I won a scholarship and I attended a high school in San Francisco for 20 days. Before that trip, where I only had a layover in the Big Apple, a theater company of my city offered me, for the first time, a role in a show that later had great success nationally; I chose San Francisco without visiting New York; today, thanks to InScena! I choose both!
Who or what is F.M.?
F.M. are my name’s initials. But also mid frequencies or masculine and feminine. My gender that goes along with my initials. As I say in my show: “The world chose before I did,” I was gay before knowing what my orientation was, people would insult me saying femminedda, which means sissy in Sardinian. I was persecuted for this. Even in a physical way. At the time there were no social media, you just needed fast legs and flee, and you could escape public mockery that way, other than the insults and physical violence. F.M. is that too. The story of who doesn’t want any labels. The story of who didn’t take the bus for five years to avoid bullies. Or the story of who never went to the men’s bathroom during the break at school to avoid the ambushes of the classmates. But it’s also about love and transformation. There’s a time for everything. F.M. talks about a portion of time and payback. And this payback finds its most powerful weapon in Theater.
Who are the characters in your one man show?
First of all, I. Then, there’s my mother, the uncomfortable, but necessary Jimmy Cricket in the form-active path. Italian mother, who is at first homophobic, but that grew up with me in those 30 years. Then there are my theater teachers, the first research theater in Sardinia inspired by Grotowsky and mediated by Barba. Then there is the workshop with Stiefel, Ariane Mnouchkine’s assistante at the Théâtre du Soleil. Then Vassiliev and ARIAS. Then Onella Vanoni who plays Max Aub. Then a tough director, Marco Gagliardo. And then Funambolo and Antonello Murgia’s songs, there’s Naples, Calabria, Sardinia, the Polish and Poland, the Teatro Ringhiera of Prague, and Amsterdam! It looks like theater on the road, but it’s much more!
What do you want to transmit to the audience with your show?
Everyone gets what they want to get, what they need. But I wish that this concept will pass: you don’t have to stay still on your positions, being them either social or ideological. “Diversity” can be a strong point, a trampoline if you have the courage to live it with sincerity and transparency. You don’t need to maudlin and become a target, but neither become rams before concrete walls. I knew how to seize the opportunity said Seneca. I say that even if we challenge and promise the universe, the universe answers. I had a great teacher, faith, and Nam Mioho Renghe Kyo’s practice supported me, helped me, and defended me in this hard journey; when I thought everything was lost, reopened the scenarios and put me back in the game. I would like to transmit the joy of a life, a portion of life, mine, that was not easy, transformed in a one man show. A gift to suggest the tools to make sure, face, confront, go back in the game, listen, but always being yourself, which can sometimes make you uncomfortable but free. And saying it here, around the corner from the Statue that still rightfully celebrates liberty has the taste of the mission impossible that comes true.
F.M. and His Double will be on stage at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD) on May 9th at 7p.m. and at the Bernie Wohl Center on May 12th at 7:30 p.m.
For more information: InScena!
Translated by Giulia Casati.