by Sandro Bernabei
To speak again of Pinocchio means to take note of an idea that has no time, because it can be inscribed in the concretization of the present. The attention of various art forms towards the tale of Collodi, from cinema to musical to opera, as well as the recent decision by France to adopt it as a textbook in schools, is a tangible testimony. If we succeed in understanding the sense of actuality in this universe, we believe that the fable of the puppet-child will always preserve the roots of the presupposition. In these terms we have oriented our rereading that is not constantly looking for new and more complex styles, capable only of amplifying tones and characters that have little to do with the intuitive freshness of the author. Even before exegetes or discoverers of unpublished ‘news’, we simply wanted to consider the structures that underlie the spontaneous and universal consent of a fable that has no merit of great literature, but which certainly has brilliant insights.
The poetic and existential substance of Pinocchio collodiano, in our opinion, should not be found in artificial extrapolations of more or less traceable social prototypes, more or less defined, like those who want to see, for example, in Mangiafuoco “the parody of the typical attitudes of the proud” , but in the childhood experience, which populates the surrounding reality with ghosts of interpretation, giving shape to the fears and requests for reassurance, to emotions, ultimately, through a fairytale, and therefore irrational, approach to the world. Lived from the Manichaean dualism that ignites the smile of the Fairy and the ambush of perfidy, naively perceived as the correct alternatives of choice, and which instead prove to be opposed not equally practicable in relation to the consequences that underlie.
The precise definition of the supporting structures of the evolutionary age does not open up to a range of interpretative possibilities if not in the context of an artificial, even wrong, reading. Pinocchio is not a jumble of actions and bad thoughts that suddenly orders itself in a coherent and organic path thanks to the discovery of a lost Paradise. It is a child who gradually discovers the ephemeral consistency of freedom, of the natural condition, of the ideal segment of life. And the tension to recovery, to the rebalancing between the original track and the granitic bump with the codes of an apparent civilization, generates a continuous adaptation that can not be immune from inevitable clashes of existential dimensions.
The subtle flow of irony in the real awareness of the thinking and acting of the adult, actually substantiates this transition, and the convergences or divergences that guide the choices, result in the fracture of the initial natural balance. So good and evil are simply aspects of an interrupted unity, which in the attempt to rebuild itself determines a set of psychological processes that heighten the sense of individuality, of loneliness, of the mistaken approach to reality.
If the theater, as it was probably in the soul of the Greeks, is not the representation of life on the scene, but moves along the scenes of life itself, one more reason justifies the dramatic transposition of the story, giving it a finally realistic and not more simply nested in the child psyche. Transposition that plays the role of an opera, aimed at recovering simplicity, ingenuity, irony and sense of reality in a game of music and words that frees the child’s imagination and speaks with serenity to the adult with a language that adds to the force that impersonates and that says, the contribution of a music capable of not being estranged, but of adhering with energy and with a meaningfulness to the essence of the object.
The result, we believe, does not only become engaging, but pervasive, towards childhood for the aforementioned reasons, towards the adult for the irrepressible nostalgia of returning to the myth of a lost age. In fact, because of its characteristics of indeterminacy and allusiveness, music succeeds not only in enhancing contents with more evident and precise contours, but also in adding nuances of sentiment and emotion that are not otherwise available.