Love, Tragedy, Eternity
“La Divina Comedia” or “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri is considered as one of the treasures of the world literature coming from Italy’s remarkable cultural heritage. The epic has been translated and appreciated by people from all culture across the world. Written between 1308 to 1320 this Italian epic still mesmerizes us with its grandeur, philosophical negotiation and art of literature. It also opens up world about eternal curiosities of human beings about mystery of love, life and death and afterlife as a representation of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church in the 14th century. Through time, the epic has inspired some of the greatest artists, of various Countries and different periods, such as Sandro Botticelli, William Blake, Gustave Doré and Salvatore Dalí.
On the commemoration of 700 years of the epic, Kolkata Centre for Creativity announces a laboratory named “LOVE, TRAGEDY, ETERNITY” for musicians supported by Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata, dedicated to “La Divina Comedia”. This laboratory aims to inspire, explore and create “music and movement” performances responding to the selected portions of the epic looking through the lenses of artistic sensitivity of today’s time.
The chosen excerpt (please refer to line 73 on page 49 to line 142 on page 51) is taken from the “Inferno” part of the epic, where Dante meets with Paolo and Francesca from Rimini (A summary of the story is mentioned in English at the following webpage. https://www.italiantranslation-teaching.com/culture/italian-love-stories-paolo-and-francesca
A Bengali translation of the same excerpt by Shyamal Ganguly is available here in PDF.
Kolkata Centre for Creativity and Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata invite artistic proposals intending a confluence between of musicians (of all genre) and contemporary dances/ movement artists inspired by the chosen tragedy from the epic.
story of Francesca and Paolo poses many questions to our modern sensitivity.
Coming out of the fables of Christian morality their love story challenges the
sanctified idea of institution of marriage and the transactional relationship
that it promotes on the contrary of spontaneous connection between two hearts.
The forbidden love story on one hand, falls in the category of epic love
stories like Lyla Majnu or Romeo Juliet – on the other does it also promotes
the supreme power of love that may concur all differences across cultures,
religions or castes?
the same time today’s artists can look at it as a hetero normative love story
that does not have representation of love of all kind across all gender and
sexuality. Even the appearance of Giovanni Malatesta, husband of Francesca in
the text can be criticised in the light of inclusion and body positivity. Or
even can it become the story of Frank and Paolo or Francesca and Paulina? May
be in today’s time the epic tragedy for the protagonists does not have to
exclude and interfere but can be an inclusive counter narrative! May be with
the new writing after 700 years finally the tragedy would get its chance of
some comic relief!
This project is an invitation to dancers, movement artists and musicians to respond to the story from their modern artistic sensitivity to re-interpret, alter, and challenge the age old epic with today’s creativity.