Jens Hillje, Alessandro Renda (DE/IT)

NON SIAMO NIENTE, SAREMO TUTTO

3 - 4 December 2022

A ZONA K project

One often overhears the expression that has become common: “do we work to live or do we live to work?”. The term ‘work’ describes any transfer of energy, so a more open answer might be that ‘we work to exchange energy’. A type of energy, that produced by work, which like love, music and mourning, is one of the few concepts that anthropologists and sociologists manage to recognize whenever they venture into foreign lands to decipher cultural and social aspects. Many of the choices we make at work shape our future trajectories, define our self-esteem and beliefs, shape many of our values and determine where and with whom we spend most of our time.

But does our work really define who we are? And how do we work in an age that wants us to be more and more productive? We often run the risk of living at too high a pace that leads us to conditions of disorientation, anxiety or even anger and antisocial behaviour. Competition has become the defining condition of human relationships, shattering the social fabric and individual identities.

Work can also be a key observation point for assessing the health of a society. There are also many jobs that are done out of passion or joy, not out of compulsion. Through work, we should enhance everyone’s passions and abilities, promoting dignity and personal satisfaction. And not just ‘toil’, as in the etymology of the word.

Non siamo niente, saremo tutto is the literal translation of a line from The International written by the poet and revolutionary Eugène Pottier 150 years ago. We are nothing, we shall be everything is also the theatrical project in which Jens Hillje and Alessandro Renda try to tell the story of workers without leaving them in their own categories, exploring individual stories to approach the theme from a different perspective: can we mirror ourselves in the work stories of others to feel more interconnected? How aware are we of the effects of our choices? How much does following vocations, making choices or being chosen condition our lives? Does understanding individual happiness or unhappiness help us to understand collective happiness and unhappiness? What mutations is this pandemic period bringing?

The chorus of stories becomes an investigative tool to transform the collective experience into a shared narrative, a chorus conceived as a total work of art and social sculpture to re-embrace a desire for community and, through theatre, find new forms of representation of reality.

Non siamo niente, saremo tutto is a theatrical project produced by ZONA K that develops between the territory of La Spezia and other Italian locations including Milan, Pergine, and Ravenna.


show info

c/o and in collaboration with Olinda onlus, ex. Osp. Paolo Pini, via Ippocrate 45 Milano – M3 Affori FN


directed by Alessandro Renda; dramaturg Jens Hillje; with Roberto Corradino, Milena Costanzo, Matteo Gatta, the citizens of La Spezia and Milan, and the Four Steps Choir and Coro Ragazzi F. De André of La Spezia, Batebalengo conducted by Gloria Clemente and Pietro Sinigaglia; set design Denise Carnini and Francesca Guarnone; lighting design Mario Loprevite; video shooting Alessandro Renda and Francesco Tedde; editing and visual effect: Francesco Tedde (Antropotopia); photos Luca Del Pia; production ZONA K (MI); co-production Pergine Festival (TN), Association 47|04 (GO); executive production Valentina Picariello and Renata Viola; organization Federica Bruscaglioni; with the support and collaboration of Fuori Luogo La Spezia/Gli Scarti; in collaboration with Olinda onlus, Project For People, Stratagemmi Prospettive Teatrali.

The project is realized with the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo in the context of Art Waves Produzioni di cultura contemporanea and with the support of Fondazione Cariplo and the Municipality of Milan
and presented within STOP project presented for Milano è Viva

Alessandro Renda is an actor, director and filmmaker in the Teatro delle Albe in Ravenna. He joined the company when he was a teenager, participating in the non-school workshops, an anti-academic theatrical-pedagogical practice created by Marco Martinelli. In 1998 he was chosen to play one of the twelve “palotini” in the play I Polacchi, text and direction by Martinelli, and since then he has been actor and director of the company. Since 2001 he has been guiding the non-school workshops. Since 2003 he has been working on videos, making projections for the stage or video “translations” of many Teatro delle Albe shows and documentaries on the company’s theatrical experiences around the world.

Jens Hillje (Germany, 1968) studied applied arts at the University of Perugia from 1989 to 1995, continuing his studies in Hildesheim and Berlin. Since 1990 he has been working in the German independent theatre scene as actor, author and director. In 1996, together with Thomas Ostermeier, he founded the space ‘Barracke’ at the Deutsches Theater. From 1999 until 2009 he was chief dramaturg and member of the artistic direction of the Schaubühne in Berlin with Thomas Ostermeier and choreographer Sasha Waltz: with them he created a permanent dance and drama ensemble of international importance. As dramaturg, he worked with leading European theatre figures: in addition to Ostermeier, Yael Ronen, Falk Richter, Luk Perceval, Sebastian Nübling, Nurkan Erpulat. During his time at the Schaubühne, Jens Hillje created the F.I.N.D Festival in 2000. The festival for international and contemporary playwrights presented emerging authors from the theatre scene and today is one of the most renowned festivals in Germany. Since the 2013/14 season, Jens Hillje has been co-artistic director and Chief-dramaturg of the Gorki, together with Shermin Langhoff. Since 2021 he has been free dramaturg. In summer 2019, he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.

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