NO LONGER PLAYING
While neighboring villages turned to tourism for survival, Monticchielloʼs annual tradition kept the town
together for 50 years, preserved in time.
Every issue the villagers have faced in their history - their near annihilation by Nazis, the womenʼs
movement, the struggles of the townʼs independent farmers, the commercialization of their land - every
major event has been debated and dramatized by the villagers in the center of town.
Leading this process is Andrea Cresti, a painter and sculptor descended from Italian royalty whoʼs
devoted his life to helping his village tell their story. At 75, he still scales scaffolding to adjust lights and
pulls the stage apart after midnight rehearsals. But with no qualified heir and a future generation more
interested in Facebook than farmers, he struggles to keep their tradition and town from crumbling.
“Spettacolo” tells the story of Teatro Povero di Monticchiello, interweaving episodes from its past with its modern-day process as the villagers turn a series of devastating blows into a play about the end of their world.
They call it “the town that plays itself.” Monticchiello, population 118, is a tiny hamlet in Tuscany that, since the 1960s, has annually staged a new play written and performed by the local populace. We’re told in Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s documentary Spettacolo that this tradition “began ...