The child in the red coat a show directed by Sasa Russo, the true story of a Holocaust survivor

by Tiana Costa



The little girl with the red coat, a theatrical show written and directed by Sasą Russo, destined to grow ... as we wrote long ago: and so it was. After the debut in May 2006 at the Testaccio theater in Rome, winner of a theatrical award and reconfirmed for the next winter season, tell me if someone really had not seen us really well. We met Sasą a few weeks ago in Rome, the city where he lives, and we took the opportunity to ask him some questions concerning his first masterpiece, what he calls an almost legitimate son.


Satisfied with this almost unexpected success?


Well, I'd take the almost ... and say yes. It all started as a game, as a form of experiment for me, for the actress Eleonora Micali and for all those who worked behind the scenes (for example Marzia Ciccone, Daniela Coljca, Gianluca Russo), an experiment that today , I can say loudly, it is giving the first good fruits ... and for this I am happy.


For the umpteenth time I also want to know why the choice of a theme so strong and delicate.


For the umpteenth time I reply that I love history, events, periods belonging to another era, far from mine, and then because the history of the Jews, of anti-Semitism, of the Holocaust are subjects to which I have always had an eye for attention and careful attention, since school days. I am a pacifist par excellence, as well as a convinced vegetarian; so everything that is "violence" towards someone or something amazes me, hurts me and I try to dig deep into things to understand their motivation. With this text I have been able to understand more about the question of the Jews, about the suffering experienced and above all about the wickedness of men towards other similar ones ... different only by culture or religious belief or who knows for what other ephemeral reason.


So a story, that of the author of the book Roma Ligocka, which has somehow changed you?


No, it didn't change me; perhaps it has captured my interest in this particular subject even more, suggesting some answers to my many questions about events. And then of his story I very much appreciated the innate naivety typical of children that is felt when reading the pages of the book. Practically a story in two voices, that of the adult woman, today, with the sad awareness of what it was, and that of the child, yesterday, reopening the ancient wound never healed.


Is it true that you have visited the places described by the author more than once?


Very true. I believe it was the first concrete step towards the realization of this theatrical experiment. I went to Poland, I visited so many cities, so many characteristic places and above all I traveled all around Krakow, in particular the part of the ghetto. I visited all the synagogues, I met so many people, I asked countless questions, I photographed everything and then, as soon as I returned to Italy, I went to work.


And Auschwitz and Birkenau?


Of course, I would have arrived later. The visit to the concentration camps was a great test of courage, of humanity, of humility, but above all a great test of respect for all those who still retain their damned soul there; the reason for the damn term is self-explanatory. I saw up close those terrifying places where moment by moment you fought for life, for hope, for redemption; places where human dignity was practically zero and where the right to have rights was absolutely an anomalous condition and not at all considered. I remember that there were so many people, countless tourists, but no one tried to say a word or simply make a sound: there was really absolute silence as a sign of equally absolute and profound respect.


Could we say a journey through history and history?


I do not know, surely a journey that allowed me to know something unknown to me up to that point, which changed my vision of things in certain historical, cultural, social and human events; a journey that, later on, I will make again and recommend to everyone.

I would add, however, that Poland is a wonderful land, made up of places, colors, tastes, smells, really special sounds.


Let's go back to the spectacoio. First debut in May 2006, some replicas, the event, the award, the reconfirmation in the next season and probably a mini tour in this now imminent theatrical season. How do you live all this and to whom do you have to say thank you?


Great question! I begin by telling you that all I am experiencing right now is really fantastic and unexpected. The little girl with the red coat is a difficult, complicated, multi-faceted job with a rather tortuous path. The processing isbeen long, almost interminable; despite the simplicity of the theater hall where we debuted and in which we will return in November 2006, the simplicity of the scenography, the scarce presence of props, was not a health walk. I wanted to revisit the origins of the so-called minimalist theater and / or of the actor, a formula that I think fits well with the monologue and that, despite the contours, gives due consideration to the story taken into due consideration. A show of simplicity. But above all of memory and memory, masterfully played by the actress Eleonora Micali who, with her Sicilian temperament, was able to best express the most cruel and angry aspects of the story.


I continue to tell you that we will return to Rome from 7 to 19 November 2006 at the Testaccio theater, where we left five months ago and then without much pretense prepare an all-Italian mini tour, starting from the south, passing through the center and ending up in the north, but still all this is in preparation. In the first half of 2007 I will debut with a completely new show, written and directed by me, assisted as always by my points of reference: Marzia Ciccone, Daniela Coljca and Gianluca Russo and played by Eleonora Micali and Tiziana Procopio. A show that speaks of young people, of ambitions and dreams, entitled "The journey sought after ... when a dream becomes reality at all costs". And then I can't tell you everything right away, right?

I conclude by answering the third question: to whom should I say thank you. You won't believe it, but my thanks goes first of all to all those who alternately help me to make the project and the project come true from the idea; then to all those who believe in our work, support us by coming to the theater and doing a good and healthy word of mouth.

We are young and with many hopes and a great desire to do; we do not want the moon immediately, we would like to conquer it very slowly: the important thing is to be able to take it and hold it tightly in our hands.


Why should people come to see the show at the theater?


First of all because from home it is not possible since it is not a television product; then, seriously, because it is a show that makes you understand, remember, acknowledge, reflect, imagine, know, know, but above all it is a show that talks about a true story that, despite the tragic events, ended with an unexpected happy ending. A monologue that, despite everything, manages to give hope to those who know how to wait and believe in it.


Finally, I want to ask you a question that I am sure, they will have already addressed you numerous times: does this your attachment to history and events about the Jews have somehow foundations within you and in your being?


I knew that sooner or later the time would come.

I always answer in the same way and with the same is words: treating topics of true, authentic and human history goes beyond the fact that I am Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and so on. From this monologue the presence of a superior and much greater entity of every human being is felt very much ... one always resorts to prayer, to faith, to one's own religious belief .. to God. I am a person who believes in God more than anything else, I pray, I seek it, I feel it, I listen to it, I question it, I ask myself to be questioned, to reproach; so how important is it to actually know what philosophy of life or religious belief I approach God? The important thing is to pray and I do it.


One last question: would you like to try curating a film or television direction after the theater?


I won't hide that it would be another good professional test; but, having never done film and television directing, I wouldn't know where to start. I'd love to ... So if a film or TV director needed an assistant or help ... don't hesitate to contact me; this is the wish I can make. However I am writing something for television, a kind of play-cultural column for children, and then, later on, I would like is that my next theatrical text, "the journey I wanted", could become a movie. The idea of ​​shouting is "ciak and stop, good the first makes me happy and gives me so much hope!"


Directors, I look forward to your call!



Satisfying and clear as always. I just have to thank you and greet you, making you many good luck for the show.


Thanks to you and above all I hope that once again you will accept my invitation to the theater premiere.

Thanking Sasą for his availability, we remind you of the dates of the next theatrical performance: 7-19 November 2006 at the Testaccio theater in Rome, via Romolo Gessi, 8; tel .: 06 5755482. Go see them and you will not regret it.