Sottobosco Chiara Bersani

“Not knowing when the Dawn will come,
I open every Door,
Or has it Feathers, like a Bird,
Or Billows, like a Shore.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson



[2nd winter of pandemic – beginning of Italian vaccination campaign.
Due to the lack of national guidelines to identify priority groups to be vaccinated, regions began to act independently by prioritizing legal professionals, journalists, politicians (…) over fragile and vulnerable people].

No, there is no alliance among bodies now.

Silence has fallen in the bones.
The folds of the joints create hollow caves. Touching you is subversive, making love seem illicit, and I reserve the fiercest gaze for anyone who asks me for a comforting word.

No, there is no alliance, and there is no solace.

I cannot be a welcoming cradle because you have made me wild at heart. In biology, species, animals, or plants in danger of extinction are classified as vulnerable.
Our time has crowned me like this.
Those structures whose long fingers caressed my head, whispering in my ear that I was welcome and well-accepted, have collapsed.

All it took was a change in the biological system for the threshold to be shifted, and many, too many bodies remained out in the night.

No, there’s no alliance and there’s no solace, but if you
surrender, I can take care of you.

Because wounds are a fact, fractures are a concrete event, and we who don’t have a vaccination priority don’t comfort you, no, but we can take care of you if you need it.

You, however, should ease down.

You should drop your weapons and accept that you don’t know where ours are.
It would be best if you moved close to us because we have learned to live without you.

We can start with caring for bodies if you want, then hope something will sprout up.



A group of children with disabilities get lost in the woods. Or maybe they were abandoned. Maybe they were chasing a love. Perhaps the woods, one day, just grew around them. Our present tells us: things happen. They surprise us, and all we have to do is to figure out if we can survive them or not.

spettacolo show sottobosco

What might happen?

What will become of their bodies?

What of their hearts?

Of their wheelchairs and crutches?

Of their several and diverse prostheses?

What will their eyes look at?

And their tongue?

What language will they speak?

And foreigners, who run into them by chance or desire, how should they approach them?

Can they do it?

Will they know how to ask for permission?



habitat (hab•i•tat), noun [from Latin habitare, to inhabit] — properly «they inhabit»)]. In biology, the set of environmental conditions where distinct animal or plant species live, or the single stage of a biological cycle of a species; with a narrower meaning, in botany, the area where a plant finds the environmental conditions favourable to its development.

Enciclopedia Treccani

sottobosco 2

Working on “Sottobosco” will mean, as a first step, building a habitat in which impromptu groups of children can meet and become a community.
To date, we only know the stratification of this environment.
There will be a sky above our heads, unreachable and horizontal, where sounds and light move with the same unavoidable pace of the expanding universe.

There will be a Sottobosco (an undergrowth) that lives under that sky and will be inhabited by the performers, the audience, and other sounds and lights that live trembling like bodies and plants.
We still don’t know what’s between the sky and the undergrowth.



I have been a disabled child, often immobilized. I was left in a place for a long time, so I memorized that location inch by inch. I did not find my way among the many trails, but I knew perfectly the spots where to rest or find peace and relief.

sottobosco 3

What actions does a body that can’t run around perform?
What drives a body that struggles to move, to do it?
Children with reduced mobility, are placed in a space that makes their movement even more challenging, how do they explode?
What makes them laugh?
And what do these laughter cause as a whole?

Eyes that go around the space are they a dance?
Are the fingers buttoning the jacket?
Are the hands tying the shoes?
A swaying head?
An irrepressible smile?
Is a tongue sliding across the lips?
The tongue, intended as language, is a set of signs that enables communication between people. Can a language be a dance?


“How many things remain hidden in an ending, from the South Pole to the North Pole?

When we imagine the sonic apparatus of this work, we can think of the multiform and multidimensional path that a meridian can take, from the South Pole to the North Pole. The evolution of sound during the performance accommodates a hyperbolic movement that crosses states, spots of lights and darkness, textures of different materials, and clear and foggy spaces, sometimes very empty, other times very wide or narrow.

Listening to this movement as the constant evolution of multiples ends, a change and a transformation of spaces, we can find microsounds and infinitesimal worlds that inhabit those macro forms, details that build a living and listening spatial environment in continuous transformation.

Lemmo, Musicista


To create this performance we will need to organize workshops with local people with disabilities.

It will be essential for us to run workshops for children and adults with disabilities who are willing to relate to the memory of the children they once were.

The terms for the workshop will be agreed upon with the host institutions so that we can start from organizations already existing in the territory.

We also believe that ever-changing performers will open the work to potential relationships with local communities. Those are difficult to imagine now, but potentially very enriching for the work.

Once we get rid of the pair of Man/Nature, all creatures can live again, and men and women can express themselves without the limitations imposed by too narrow-minded rationality. These stories, no longer banished to a mere whisper in the night, could be both real and imaginary at the same time. How else to explain that something lives in the pandemonium we have triggered?

“The mushroom at the end of the world.
The possibility of living in the ruins of capitalism

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing



action / creation Chiara Bersani
sound and dramaturgical advice Lemmo
set design, lights and technical direction Valeria Foti
childcare and tour Chiara Boitani
dramaturgy Giulia Traversi / Chiara Bersani
promotion and curatorship Giulia Traversi
communication and press kit Dalila D’Amico
logistics and organization Eleonora Cavallo
administration Chiara Fava
production Corpoceleste c.c.0.0#

Co-production Theaterfestival Boulevard (s-Hertogenbosch, NL), Centrale Fies (Dro, ITA), Tanzt Im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin, BE), Rosendal Teater (Trondehim, NO), Le Gymnase CDCN Roubaix – Hauts–de-France (FR), Kunstencentrum VIERNULVIER vzw / Arts Centre VIERNULVIER, Gent (BE).

With the support of Skånes Dansteater (Malmo, SE), Danae Festival (Milano, Ita), Homo Novus Festival (Riga, LV).

Project winner of Toscana Terra Accogliente, a project by R.A.T. Residenze Artistiche Toscane, in collaboration with Teatro Metastasio, Fondazione Toscana Spettacolo, Virgilio Sieni Danza, Fabbrica Europa from 2020-2024.

Chiara Bersani is supported by apap – FEMINIST FUTURES, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.