Seeking Unicorns

Chiara Bersani performing Seeking Unicorns

ph Roberta Segata, courtesy Centrale Fies


Nothing is known about the Unicorn. Its roots have been lost in the succession of generations of distracted human beings.
Perhaps it all started from a misunderstanding, from the wrong interpretation of artefacts minted in India during the Bronze Age.
Here a sort of ox appeared, depicted in profile, having a single horn.
Historians believe that, given the two-dimensional iconography of the time, the second horn could have simply been hidden by the first.
Yet the writing of Ctesias of Cnidus, historian of ancient Greece, in which he narrated an encounter with this animal during a trip to India, was enough to give life to a creature with fragile origins.
What happens if a figure with mythological traits appears in the collective imagination and yet is orphaned of a myth that motivates and describes its existence?
A symbol is born. Fragile. Uprooted.
Perfect sacrificial victim for anyone who wants to fill it with meaning.
Thus the Unicorn has changed shape over the centuries (“ox with a single horn”; “a mix between a horse and a donkey”; “a horse with a beard, goat’s hooves and a lion’s tail”…), fathers ( from pagan creature to papal symbolism), meanings (from magical healer to guardian of the chastity and purity of girls to defender of Catholic ideology from the Turkish invasion…) until becoming a contemporary pop icon.
The Unicorn, a creature without a homeland and without history, has been used and abused by human beings, deprived of the right to speak.
Now I want to compensate him for the wrongs he has suffered.
Give him a story, a love, a choice.


I, Chiara Bersani, 98 cm tall, proclaim myself the flesh, muscles and bones of the Unicorn.
Not knowing his heart I will try to give him my breath, my eyes.
I will collect the image of him, I will make a costume destined to first become armor and then leather.
In the dialogue between my acting form and his dressing form, we will discover our movements, kisses, greetings, yawns.
I, Chiara Bersani, 32 years old, take on the responsibility of welcoming his centenary loss.
I declare that I am ready to give breath to the universal questions that have crossed him:
“Why do I exist?”
“Where am I from?”
“If you found me in your garden tomorrow morning, what would you think?”
“Am I good or bad?”
“Do I believe in God or am I God?”
…it’s still…
“Where is my Love?”
“Who killed him?”
“Why, now that I have reached the most humiliating point of my old age becoming just a horned horse with rainbows coming out of its butt, can’t I choose to die?”


Since I started working, first as a performer and then as an author, I have always placed the body as the guardian of a unique and unrepeatable story at the centre of my reflection.
After a journey through biographical and autobiographical imagery, the very concept of the body began to transform before my gaze.
No longer a simple testimony of a lived history but a political entity, crowned as such by the encounter / clash with society.
Thus I began to define the contours of the concept of the political body.
The body responds to its social function at the very moment it chooses to immerse itself in society, imposing itself on others to be seen.
Whoever meets him will not be able to avoid giving him meaning, interpreting him, creating expectations around him.
The body chooses to respond to its political duty when it accepts the meanings attributed to it, analyzes them and personalizes them, transforming them into a conscious manifesto of itself.

“You are not the one to interpret me but I will be the one to show you the way to understand me.
I accept the responsibility of designing the image the world will have of me.

This reflection has informed all the works I have authored from 2012 to today.
Declined in different ways and on different bodies, the Political Body has been a topic of transversal study over the years.
Now, with Seeking Unicorn, the time has come for me to face it directly by embodying it in my person, alone, on the scene.

version for unconventional spaces

Seeking Unicorns is the version of the work designed for non-theatrical spaces: empty, full, silent, and crowded spaces.
Spaces whose light and history ask to be listened to and inhabited.
Spaces in which the Unicorn tries to find itself in a new form, in which, stripping off its best clothes, it renounces the fairy tales of the theatre to begin a journey of eyes and breaths destined to be different for every audience.

The search for a site-specific sound environment aims to create communication between the spectators and the stage action, sharpening listening and the senses, and training the gaze.
The unicorn is always looking for the other, it is on the hunt.
He experiments with new forms of love, finds something, or maybe not, and in the meantime, small wonders can happen that perhaps completely change his search, his “Seeking of… Seeking for…”.

NOTE: in this version the artist requests the collaboration of trumpet players (even non-professionals) to be found on site.


Ideazione, Creazione e Azione Chiara Bersani
Musiche F De Isabella
Disegno Luci e Direttrice tecnica Valeria Foti
Tecnico in tour Paolo Tizianel
Consulenza Drammaturgica Luca Poncetta
Dramaturg Gaia Clotilde Chernetich
Coach Marta Ciappina
Mentoring Alessandro Sciarroni
Occhio Esterno Marco D’Agostin
Cura e Promozione Giulia Traversi
Comunicazione e ufficio Stampa Dalila D’Amico
Organizzatrice di Produzione Eleonora Cavallo
Consulenza Amministrativa Chiara Fava
Foto di copertina Roberta Segata courtesy Centrale Fies

produzione Associazione Culturale Corpoceleste_C.C.00#
co-produzione Santarcangelo Festival, CSC – Centro per la Scena Contemporanea (Bassano del Grappa)
creazione realizzata presso le residenze artistiche Centrale FIES (Dro, Trento), Graner (Barcellona), Carrozzerie | N.o.T. (Roma), Gender Bender Festival (Bologna), CapoTrave/Kilowatt (Sansepolcro).

Chiara Bersani è tra i 7 artisti sostenuti per il 2018 dal progetto ResiDance XL – luoghi e progetti di residenza per creazioni coreografiche azione della Rete Anticorpi XL – Network Giovane Danza D’autore coordinata da L’arboreto – Teatro Dimora di Mondaino.