Anykind of show that can come to mind - prose,dance, circus, mime, street band, one man show, puppets, clowns,etc... -they magically spring up in the squares, in the parks and in thecloisters of the medieval borough of Certaldo, thetown of Giovanni Boccaccio,from the 11thto 15thof July 2012for Mercantia– International Festival of street theatre, XXVth edition, thegreatest italian live show festival thatputs on, every evening,more than 100 shows,lots of craftwork and contemporary art exhibitions.Thanks to the dedicated support of Certaldo Council, Toscana Countyand the Ministry of cultural heritage, Mercantia is also one ofItaly's most popular festivals: morethan 31,000 tickets sold(data 2011) and50,000 visitors areour records figures.
THE PLACE -Certaldo Alto, the setting for Mercantia, is a medieval boroughsituated in the heart of Tuscany, half way between Florence, Pisa andSiena, only a few kilometers from San Gimignano. Thehome town of Giovanni Boccaccio,whose house museum (where he died in 1375) can be visited, CertaldoAlto is a borough steepted in art and culture, with three museums, abreathtaking panorama, a rich hospitality network.
Thetheme of Mercantia2012is “THEFIFTH ELEMENT”,or rather collectivegame.
THE POETIC IDEA -“Mercantia has always been based on four main pillars: the theatre,artstic craftwork, the medieval borough and contemporary art”,explains the artistic director Alessandro Gigli, “ as four are thenatural elements: water, earth, air and fire. This year we want tohighlight the fifth element, without which there is no sense inacting, nor living: agame,a collective game. Mancannot live without playing,and perhaps isn't it true that “to act” you can say “to play”in English and “jouer” in French? We play at the game of thetheatre with the public, which at Mercantia is a group of singleindividuals, not an audience but protagonists of a great ritualcollective game”.
THESHOWS: Amongstthe almost 100 groups present this year we can highlight for thestreettheatre,the one man band Barnelli(German, launched as the duo Otto e Barnelli by Renzo Arbore in"L'altra domenica", 1977), and for thefringe theatreMariangelaGualtieri / Teatro Valdoca,and the poet GuidoCeronetti withhis 'Teatro dei Sensibili'.
AmerigoFontani(film and tv actor known from “La vita è Bella”) will play oneof Boccaccio's classic, 'Frate Cipolla', whereas for the fringe,SilviaGuidi,Zaches Teatro, Codice Ivan and Francesca Sarteanesi. And, in thestreets grand multi-coloured parades with Nouvelle Lune and TeatroCarillon, tableauxvivants, inspiredbyCaravaggio with Teatri 35, human statues with 'Teatro di Legno', thefunky beat of the streetbands Fantomatikorchestra, Badabimbumband and the Balkan sound of Zastava Orkestar.Or, to meditate, gongsand bells ofI Suoni di Seba.
Inthe internationalsection, shows from all over the world: the foot theatre of VeronicaGonzalez (Argentina),the fire taming of the fantastic Les Walkyries (Canada),the ironic tightrope walking Hirofumi Tsubomoto (Japan),the melancholic Marionetas Colegone (Spain),the living paintings of Chris Channing (England),the music of the Polish Jews Ruach (Poland)and groups from Chile,Bulgaria,Lithonia,etc.
ART:InPalazzo Pretorio, theCentre of Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci in Prato managesthe latest contemporary edition of “Omaggioa Giovanni Boccaccio”,drawings and paintings of the greatest italian painters of the XXthcentury inspired by stories of Decameronandown by the Council of Certaldo – works by great names like Guttuso,Vespignani, Sassu, Manzu, Maccari, Raphael Mafai, ecc... -will be exhibited together with contemporary works by AndreaSalvino, Francesco De Grandi, Andrea Mastrovito.Also of great interest, the house museum of Giovanni Boccaccio, thefrescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, the original 'Museo del Chiodo' and thegarden of HidetoshiNagasaka.
CRAFT WORK:Theepitome of florentineand tuscan craftwork and not only, with more than 40stands of craftsmen working livein the centre of the old borough, amongst which crafts in leather,stone, wood, millinery crafts, theatrical masks, custom jewellery,and a market of more than 80 stalls of tipical and original bric bracmarket in the lower part of Certaldo.
INFORMATION AND CONTACTS –The entrance of Mercantia varies from 10.00 to 20.00 euros dependingon the days. Information: tel. 0571 661265.