23 November 2015


Theatre Potlach “Ventimila leghe sotto i mari”

Nathalie Mentha, Daniela Regnoli, Gaudi Tione Fanelli Teatro Potlach

Recently, the stage of the Cultural Centre of Espoo in Finland, a city just near Helsinki, hosted a show of the Potlach Theatre, ‘Ventimila leghe sotto i mari’  (20,000 leagues under the sea) from the French novelist Jules Verne. Espoo Cultural Centre is the main scene for performing arts and cultural life in Espoo: Tapiola Sinfonietta (the Espoo city orchestra), Espoon Kaupunginteatteri (the Espoo Theatre), April Jazz Festival, Espoo Ciné Festival, PianoEspoo and ChoralEspoo Festivals are on stage on regular bases. The event with the Italian Potlach Theatre got the fully booked 300 seats ‘of the Louhisali hall.

Jules Verne, although unconsciously, became the author of one of the first science-fiction novel, and we couldn´t expect better performance from the reinvented Potlach Theatre, which is the first Italian acting company that started to use high technological audio-visual tools.

In fact, their latest production stems from the idea of combining the company’s 30-year experience of work on the actor’s role and on his presence on stage with the latest state-of-the-art digital and lighting technologies.

The actors are literally ‘immersed’ in a magical, dream-like setting with digital projections and latest-generation LED lights, taking the audience along with them in the discovery of the sea depths and of Captain Nemo’s mysterious Nautilus.

The theatre was established in 1976 by Pino Di Buduo, art director and theatre director, and by the actress Daniela Regnoli. They decided to locate the Theatre outside the city, 60 kms. from  Rome, in a medieval village of Fara Sabina.3-DANI~1_press

Potlach means trade, exchange. The term comes from North and North-West American tribes and refers to the winter long-term celebrations, to commemorate dancing, singing and enjoying the banquet with a large amount of invited people. All the invited get a present at the end of the celebration. In return, people had to plan the following festival.

The theatre has been recognized by the Italian Ministry of Tourism for the high-quality performance as one of the 25 Italian theatres listed in the special register for research and experimentation. On the 22d November 2003 the Potlach joined as member of ethno-scenology at the House of Human Sciences in Paris and in 2005 it became satellite laboratory of the Rome Athenaeum Centre ‘La Sapienza’ University, to host the course work at an University branch in Fara in Sabina.

The show here in Espoo got a great success among adult and young too. The unique set design, captivated the spectators as they were on the stage too, thanks to the wonderful fusion between the actors and projections, developed by the Aesopstudio with Luca Ruzza and Andrea Adriani.  Although the design of the set bewitches the audience, the actors never drop their relevance with their makeup masks and costumes, and their way of acting, with their  ighlighted gestures and movements which make them almost dancing. 

The Theatre has been a lot busy even with another project called ‘Invisible Cities’, whose intent is to enhance the city at their citizens’ eyes through an anthropological analysis, based on a historical and cultural research. By this project, the city increases its activities, with musical performances, staging and choreographic events.

It would be really interesting to welcome the Teatro Potlach next time with their project “Invisible Cities”, which could be truly appreciated by Finns, as they have been always proud of their history and city, just think of how close is the theme of the Helsinki city museum exhibition “Mad about Helsinki!”, and perhaps exactly the Tori Quarters (Torikortteli, the heart of the old town), could be the right host area.

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