IN THE TIME OF THE GODS the shoemaker of Ulysses

Theater | Show - Event posted by elena

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Address: via delle cascine, 41 , Florence

Date: Saturday 01 February 2020


Friday 30 January and Saturday 1 February at 9.00 pm

at the Puccini Theater


Piccolo Teatro di Milano - Theater of Europe

with the collaboration of Estate Teatrale Veronese and Teatro Stabile Bolzano




the shoemaker of Ulysses

by Marco Paolini and Francesco Niccolini

directed by Gabriele Vacis

and with

Saba Anglana, Elisabetta Bosio, Vittorio Cerroni, Lorenzo Monguzzi, Elia Tapognani

original music Lorenzo Monguzzi

with the contribution of Saba Anglana and Fabio Barovero

scenophony, luminisms, Roberto Tarasco style

assistant director Silvia Busato

lights Michele Mescalchin, sound engineer Piero Chinello

technical assistance Pierpaolo Pilla, technical direction Marco Busetto

produced by Michela Signori

We will find the places of Ulysses' wanderings on the day when we will track down the shoemaker who sewed the Aeolian windskin.


When the gods play, they play heavy. If they are wrong they always have time to put things right. For the gods time does not matter: they do not age, they do not dry out, they always have time to do and redo things. Perhaps this is why they cannot understand that what happens to us humans changes things, sometimes forever. To none of us the gods can return the ten years spent on the esplanade in front of Troy, away from home, and the ruin that those ten years generated, for some, is not yet over.

Ulysses' shoemaker

She was born as a pocket Odyssey, has grown over time, in sounds and in space: she has become Olympic and almost alpine. Because the more you know Ulysses, the further away he takes you: and distance (celestial and marine) is the essential condition for understanding and singing it. Because this is what it is: a song. Perhaps the song. Three thousand years old, passed from mouth to mouth, and soul to soul: the soul par excellence. Because this is the history of the West, and it contains everything: from the first moment, when nothing existed, and one day it began to exist, starting precisely from those mysterious, ambiguous, very capricious entities that this history moves: the gods.

Ex warrior and hero, ex aedo, Ulysses is reduced to a traveling shoemaker, who for ten years has been walking towards no one knows where with an oar on his shoulder, according to the prophecy that the ghost of Tiresia, the blind fortune teller, makes him in his journey to the afterlife, narrated from the 10th song of the Odyssey.

This aged pilgrim Ulysses does not like to reveal his identity and weaves words similar to the truth. He hides, tells bales, invents stories that not only end up believing, but that become reality and even myth.

He left at dawn following the bow contest and the massacre of the suitors: he had only the time of a long liberating cry with his son Telemachus and a night of love with Penelope, and he immediately left again. Because an already written fate and the will of the gods forced him to massacre the 108 young Achaean princes, who invaded his house, threatened his wife, and the 12 maidservants who allowed themselves to the invaders.

He could declare himself innocent because the gods dictated him, who consider that blood a sacrificial rite, but Ulysses is not there. Unable to escape that fate of death and violence, and after getting stained with that blood, here's the twist: instead of enjoying the victory with the attached divine protection (Athena and Zeus are at his side to bless him before, during and after the massacre), self-inflicts the hardest of punishments and denounces as a crime what the gods of Olympus consider an ecatomb , that is, the greatest sacrifice that a human being can offer them.

So, after twenty years of absence and misadventures, Ulysses forces himself into a new exile. He renounces the government, abandons his wife and the kingdom, restarts with Telemachus at his side, who follows him without ever opening his mouth. But above all Ulysses abandons the gods who would like him triumphant and immortal: he turns against their whims, their ambiguous will and is not afraid to pay the price of their choice.

This and much more, under the guise of a shoemaker - indeed, of the shoemaker of Ulysses, a stranger with worn sandals, hardened by years, age, travel and shipwrecks - tells the protagonist to a very young goatherd apparently met for case.

They talk along a steeply ascending path, where an infinite row of ant men laboriously trudges, transporting - it is appropriate to say - all good things: because that is the path that leads to the Chalet Olimpo, divine residence where they are in progress preparations for a big and mysterious party. But all this, the shoemaker with the oar on his shoulder, has yet to find out.

«With how many, but above all with which gods does a man have to do today? Obviously I am not thinking of the solid beliefs of a believer, but of the reasonable doubt of those who, looking at the time in which they live, think with amazement and disenchantment of the acceleration possibilities proposed to the human race. Possibility of long life, possibility of mental and physical empowerment, possibility of resistance to diseases, etc. planet.

Ulysses for me is someone who knows about gods and in front of the sirens of immortality can find reasons to resist. "

Marco Paolini

For years he , for me, has been the man who thinks with his head down and then finds the right words: the man of the Trojan horse and the competition with the bow, that of the Sirens, Polyphemus, Scylla, Charybdis. Then, suddenly, he became the sad man crying on the most isolated cliff of dream islands, where women in love with him promised him immortality and much more, just to hold him back: but homesickness, nostalgia of his wife and son were always stronger than any temptation. Strange attitude for a man that the myth has handed us as the symbol of those who want to overcome every border without fear.

Then one day it became something else: it happened when I, Marco and Silvia Busato read aloud the massacre of the suitors and the bitches handmaids. Everything changed there and we had to start from scratch: we got stuck on a huge problem. How do you marry the point of view of a murderer of those proportions? Unexpectedly we found ourselves in front of a veteran of war who loses control of himself and makes a massacre, worse than the worst psychopathic marine returning from Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq. Because that's what it is: a veteran who, in peacetime, applies the fiercest rules of the battlefield. His revenge is boundless. There is no doubt that the Achaean princes are brazen, arrogant, parasites who besiege Penelope, threaten Telemachus and devour the palace's wealth, but are these crimes enough to tear one hundred and twenty young men and women to pieces?

The day we asked ourselves this question, and we started looking for the answer, that day the show began to exist. But our Ulysses has stopped looking like any ancient and luminous hero: dirty with entrails and blood, muddy, smelly, aged, wrinkled and worn out, in exile for another ten years in the company of only an old and useless oar, we discovered not the ex-warrior, the ex-hero, certainly the veteran of the battlefield but above all a man, who - for the umpteenth time alone and against the capricious and hostile gods even when it seems that they are by your side - tries to appease old new demons, who have accompanied him through thirty years of wars, shipwrecks and unexpected encounters. And all this, with only one possible explanation, that comes to us from the character I love most in the whole poem (and who only apparently has remained out of our show), Alcinoo, the wizard king, who manages to manage all this effort and pain explain in the simplest and most beautiful words: "why posterity should have chants".

Francesco Niccolini

« The wedding of Cadmo and Armonia , the book by Roberto Calasso, bears in the epigraph a phrase of Salustio: these stories never happened, but they are always . That beautiful book by Calasso told the relationship between gods and men. The gods in classical Greece were characters from everyday life. With all the strengths and weaknesses of humans. It is not easy for us moderns to understand this custom with divinities. When I work with Marco Paolini, we often ask for help from one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century: Luigi Meneghello. And he always helps us. In Libera nos a Malo he writes: Here in the village when I was a child there was a God who lived in church ... The God of Meneghello in addition to "living" in church, was making thunderstorms and was also a character of the country . Here it must be something of the kind that the Greeks of two or three thousand years ago had in mind. The same stories that never happened but are always that our parents and grandparents had in mind.

And U.S? Now? Where are the gods today? Where's God? The exact answer to be given to the catechism does not contradict what I want to tell you: where is God? In heaven, on earth and everywhere. When Paolini started talking to me about this show he asked me to read Yuval Noah Harari's Homo deus . There is an answer that does not contradict that of the catechism: now we are the gods. It is we rich Westerners who make storms and live in precious churches: New York, Paris, but also Dubai or Seoul ... We are the ones who, discretionarily, without the need for rational reasons, decide where humans should be and how they should stay. Calasso's book is important because it tells the last time humans and gods sat together at the same banquet. Then the walls began. On one side the gods, on the other men. And in the middle is Ulysses, a man who has a privileged relationship with the gods thanks to his intelligence, his wit. The Ulysses that we would like to tell is the one that has already experienced all its vicissitudes, is an old man of today: still very smart, aware but without futile illusions. He is a confused and bewildered sage who needs to continue understanding despite everything. It is an Ulysses who, finally, tries to listen to his wife, his son, who tries to understand even the capricious gods who have played his fate. For this reason, on stage, Marco will not be alone. Sartre said that hell is the others . This old Ulysses needs to understand the hell that others are. "

Gabriele Vacis


I sector € 30.00

The sector € 25.00

(presale rights excluded)

Tickets on sale in the regional Box Office / Ticketone circuit

Online purchase on

INFORMATION: 055.362067 - 055.210804

Puccini Theater

Via delle Cascine 41

50144 Florence

Tel. 055.362067 -


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