Leila della Tempesta

written and directed by alessandro berti
from the book by ignazio de francesco
with sara cianfriglia e alessandro berti
production casavuota
in collaboration with UNEDI roma / associazione ca’ rossa bologna / i teatri del sacro roma / edizioni zikkaron reggio emilia
relations caterina bombarda
administration maurizio sangirardi

A precious project of dialogue between italian volunteers and foreign detainees has been going on for years in the prison of Bologna. The focus of this dialogue is the importance, for prisoners, of being aware of their culture of origin, as key to a recovery.
Leila della Tempesta is based on a book by Ignazio De Francesco which recounts four years of meetings with Arabic-speaking convicts, and in particular the relationship with one of them, Leila, a Tunisian young woman.
In this dialogue between the volunteer (a Christian monk and Islamologist) and the convict (Muslim and with simple religious beliefs) strong topics are recurring: the meaning of an experience of faith, the relationship between sacred law (sharia) and Italian constitution (but also the new Tunisian constitution, the only one The Arab Spring has given birth to), the detention as moment to find oneself instead of an interlude of sedated boredom.
When Ignazio told me “do what you want with my text”, I began to follow the essential, even secret traces of the relationship between Leila and the Other (so De Francesco defines himself in the book). I cropped the text of branches that, from a dramaturgical point of view, would have burdened the dialogues with apologetic concerns and I removed those parts maybe necessary to a cultural discourse but not credible as psychological coherence of the characters. What finally emerged is an essential, naked dialogue which tries to translate into theatre-language the disarming strength and sincerity of the relationship between these two people.