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FRUTTA FRESCA | Marco Merenda

„Dice che sono pazzesca, sarà il fascino della tedesca. Vuole uno spicchio della mia pesca, mmmh frutta fresca“. (M¥SS KETA, Pazzesca)

The performance project FRUTTA FRESCA shows an open deconstruction process. Two Italian performers appropriate a number of Italian-related cultural stereotypes through choreography, physical theatre and spoken word, thus creating two “hyper-Italian”, drag-inspired characters. Throughout the performance, they will search for their true, authentic self - their identity beyond external, culturally conditioned attributions – by getting rid of their disguise piece by piece. Drawing upon personal experience as well as theoretical discourse, FRUTTA FRESCA aims at highlighting the fine line between appreciation, exoticisation and ascription of identity.

In the tradition of old, white, sunburned teuton explorers, I had the great pleasure to plunge deep into the ocean of Italian music. Verdi, Mascagni and Rossini, intoned by Caruso and Pavarotti have, as well as Renato Carosone, Gianna Nannini, La Rappressentante di Lista and M¥SS KETA found their way into the soundtrack. As a "Tedeschi" traveling through the history of Italian music, I continuously confronted myself with the question: when does collecting and re-arranging become problematic? Am I entitled to use an Italian opera that I grew up with as a German orchestra boy? What about Gianna Nannini, whom my dad used to listen to in the car when we went on vacation? Are songs property of someone and when does romanticization of something turn into gringe and cultural appropriation?

Music dies if it doesn't travel, get used, spreads and changes. It dies as well if we forget where its roots are, if we stay silent and aren't aware of the people behind the songs. Which feelings they sang about and which struggles they fought. Appropriation for me happens if we fail, on purpose or by ignorance, to establish a connection with the culture we encounter. My attempt for Frutta Fresca was to find an approach to the music of Italy that doesn't hide the fact that I'm not from Italy; That is respectful towards a culture and its people; That doesn't reproduce constructs like nation-states and binary genders but deconstructs them and turns them into glitches. I tried to listen to: Marco, my partner, Karin and Margherita, the singers and composers of the songs I sampled, the birds of La Emilia Romagna when I made field recordings and the Old House in Aione, whose doors and stairs found their way into several tracks of this piece.

Marco Merenda [Concept, Performance, Artistic direction];
Karin Rossi [Performance, Co-Creation];
Christopher Ramm [Sound, Performance];
Margherita Scalise [Dramaturgy];
Giulia Limone [Make-Up];
Leander Steve Oelmann [Costume];
Pauline Schönfelder, Marco Fragnelli [Outside Eyes].

Funded by the Behörde für Kultur und Medien Hamburg. Supported by: Hamburger Sprechwerk, Probebühne im Gängeviertel, Studiohaus Osten, Unterstützungsfonds der WIESE eG.