Flying high with Compagnia Finzi Pasca

Combining clowning, opera, dance and theatre, Compagnia Finzi Pasca (CFP) produce contrasting and complex work that successfully straddles several genres. Based in the Italian region of Switzerland, the company was formed from the merger of Teatro Sunil and Inlevitas in 2011, connecting the artistic abilities of Daniele Finzi Pasca, Maria Bonzanigo, Hugo Gargiulo, Julie Hamelin and Antonio Vergamini.

Describing itself as, ‘driven by the desire to develop artistic projects which continue to broaden the ‘Theatre of the Caress’ spectrum, a theatrical technique based on the invisible gesture and the state of lightness,’ the team is led by Pasca, who created the Cirque du Soleil show Corteo. Bonzanigo acts as composer for the group, Gargiulo as set designer with Vergamini working on script and film projects. Hamelin, for her part, takes on the role of creative director and leader on international development.

The strength of this five-pronged partnership was seen in recent work La Verità, which premiered in 2013 and has since made over 200 appearances before more than 200,000 spectators. Taking inspiration from the work of Salvador Dalí, La Verità is a surreal exploration of the human psyche, combining dream-like costumes and imagery with highly physical dance and acrobatic routines. It is the first show produced by the team since its amalgamation as CFP, although the company continues to stage shows Donka and Bianco su Bianco that were created in its previous incarnations as Teatro Sunil and Inlevitas.

It also creates traditional opera and theatre shows, though even these have a CFP twist. Its adaptation of Verdi’s Requiem at Marrinsky Theatre in Moscow, for example, featured a blindfolded choir and saw members of the cast flying out across the orchestra pit and over the audience. And while theatre show Icaro was quite restrained by CFP standards it still featured acrobatics and audience interaction.

Confirming CFP’s quirkiness is the esoteric Encuentro Project. It aims to answer the question of what we should say to aliens when they eventually arrive on earth. While aliens might be the nominal audience, the idea is that by addressing this question humans will discover something about themselves. Or, as CFP put it, ‘The work of any artist meeting his public is based upon these very questions.’