We talk to the lead of bizarre Salvador Dalí-inspired circus opening in the capital on August 21
La Verità, a circus performance inspired by the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, is coming to town. Sarah Riches talks to the actor who plays Tristan, a Cornish knight who falls in love with a princess La Verità’s contortionists, raging bulls, can can dancers and creepy dolls make it sound bonkers. What’s the plot? It is not easy to define. As the director Daniele Finzi Pasca says, dreams are an important visual reference in his way of representing and, as we know, a dream does not have a well-defined beginning and end. The images appear and disappear as fast or slow as they are born. In any case, the show tells many stories: the truth and falsehood in life and on stage; the myth of the Celtic legend Tristan and the princess Isolde, the two characters represented in the theatrical curtain Dalí painted; Dalì’s life and the issues dear to him and a strange story of knights and warriors with poetic names.
That clears that up, then. La Verità means ‘The Truth’ in Italian. How did it get its name? Truth is the show’s main theme. We question what is and is not true, what is and is not credible – on stage but also in real life. When we see a fake flower we say, ‘It looks so real,’ and when we see a beautiful real flower, we say, ‘How nice, it looks fake.’ So in the show we deal with the relationship between true and false. Can you describe the opening scene? It opens with a character who introduces the audience to the evening; a sort of prologue. The character is an auctioneer selling the great Dalí painting with social purpose and to finance a retirement home for old circus artists. But before it ends, beautiful images barge onto the stage. Almost all of Daniele’s shows have a prologue as they allow the public to empathise with the scene. There are lots of references to surrealism, or Dalí’s world, like rhinoceros which appear to watch the scenes, girls in harlequin costumes who climb ladders in the shape of DNA in the air, a girl who twirls inside an eye-shaped trapeze and cabaret dancers that sing the improbable stories of Dalí’s images... How long did you rehearse for the role? The historical research began in 2010; that’s when the creative team began working on it and Daniele began to create the musical score. But rehearsals didn’t begin until November 2012. It took a cast of actors from all over the world three months of daily work to prepare. The cast is truly international with artists from Switzerland, Italy, Mexico, Uruguay, Quebec, Spain, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. La Verità is part of a world tour. Can you tell us more about it? The first show was held in Montreal in Canada in January 2013. The tour started immediately after the premiere. We’ve performed in Uruguay, Brazil and Columbia in South America, as well as Europe.