The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games Chiara Bersani performer artist dance danza

photo Alice Brazzit

“All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street”
W. H. Auden, September 1 (1939)


The Olympiad, a four-year-based unit of time according to the ancient Greeks, is a multidisciplinary sports event that engages the best world-class athletes. In ancient Greece, during the Olympic Games, an Olympic truce was declared (it used to be called “ekecheirìa”, i.e. “still hands”), that consisted in the temporary suspension of any internal conflict, either public or private, and that would allow athletes and citizens to enjoy the event fully. During the truce, any kind of tension, fight or social unrest would be sublimated and transferred into sports competitions.

Would this tool take on a new meaning today? Would it still be significant?
In which form and with which set of rules has Europe been redefining its internal conflicts? What meaning could be attached to the Olympic truce nowadays?

In this work, we will organize our Olympic Games.
We want to celebrate with a melancholy eye, like the one of a fallen aristocrat, a kingdom that is slowly going to pieces. We want to lead the audience on a trip where sport is still war and where sportsmen/women are warriors.

We are Italian artists in our thirties. We have been living a life in which we witnessed the unmasking of a dream: as children we were raised up with the belief that a Europe of solidarity and common values was going to be the only possible scenario.
Now that the truth has been told we find ourselves angry and lonely, and we want this anger and this loneliness to become visible, to be shaped as a conflict.
If we canʼt have answers, we have clear questions. Above all, the most important one: why are we all talking about this, and not doing something out there?


The performance will paradoxically follow the format of the Olympic Games:


  • An Opening Ceremony with all its typical and stereotypical elements (spectacular moments, choreographies, live singing, teams parade). A theatrical show works on the expectation and excitement of the audience, using all possible rhetorical skills to give the illusion that a celebration of something is taking place, but finally turning into a speech in which war is being declared.
  • A series of Competitions, not to be intended as literal re-creations of the sports themselves, but instead as moments of a very specific encounter between the audience and the performers, not necessarily busy with any difficult or virtuous activity. The space of the competition is the one where we’re looking for a profound and unexpected shift in the way the audience will participate in the performance, the space for an almost invisible but inevitable crack of the whole apparatus. Our athletes/performers are men and women revealing in an almost violent way something very intimate to them, the reason why they’re angry, the reason why they would explode themselves.
  • A Closing Ceremony, with no human beings on stage: a final moment for the audience looking at something happening in front of them, made for them, and revealing something about them. The possible celebration of an end (the end of the Games, of the world, of an era); or, on the other side, the opening of something new.
The Olympic Games performance di Chiara Bersani

photo Alice Brazzit


by Chiara Bersani, Marco D’Agostin
performed by Chiara Bersani, Marta Ciappina, Marco D’Agostin, Matteo Ramponi and with a group of young local dancers
sound Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld
Olympic anthem Hani Jazzar
co-creation Closing Ceremony Luca Poncetta
design and creation Olympic rings Paola Villani
dramaturgical advice Igor Dobričić
technical direction Paolo Tizianel
logistic Eleonora Cavallo
promotion Marco Villari

co-produced by K3 Tanzplan Hamburg as part of the project TOGETHER APART

funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, CapoTrave/Kilowatt, VAN dance company, european project «
BeSpectACTive » (supported by CapoTrave/Kilowatt, Tanec Praha, Teatrul National Radu Stanca Sibiu, Bachelit Multi Art
Centre, Domino Zagreb, York Theatre Royal, B-51 Ex Ponto Lubjana, Lift London)

creative residency at Centrale FIES art work space
supported by Corsia Of – Centro di Creazione Contemporanea, Ateliersi