A singolar tenzone
in dialogue with Massimo Marino
Mimmo Cuticchio's puppet theater is the engine of a contemporary theatrical machine rooted in the techniques and knowledge of an ancient tradition projected into the future, which takes shape in the performances of the Carolingian cycle. Like the other masters of the twentieth century, Mimmo Cuticchio had to create his own tradition, having behind him-more so, having on his shoulders-an accomplished starting tradition, which he did not want to forget or rape. He broke the fence in which the arts of Opra and Cunto were in danger of being enclosed, preserved and isolated. He took them out of the traditional vision of a "living relic" of the past; out of the walls of an imaginary Museum of Traditions. It has even eroded, in practice and consequently in theory, the boundary between "figure" theater and actor-director theater.
The broad scope acquired by the company under its leadership, the variety of its theater programs and the depth of its projects testify to the immense scope of the work of reworking and growth operated a centuries-old tradition. The company's international success is thus the outcome of inexhaustible research into repertoires and practices of storytelling. The cultural risk constantly practiced by its work in the multiplicity of forms and languages (from musical theater to cinema to visual arts) identifies the company as a leading player in the currents that animate contemporary theater research and innovation.
Although the company is fully within the framework of Figure Theater, specifically Puppet Theater, in its shows, in addition to the puppets, the respective "manianti" are also visible to the viewer. This novelty, which has been considered a real and "tear" from tradition, is not, however, a betrayal of it. In order not to downgrade the puppet to a mere object in the hands and voice of the puppeteer, in order not to create an improper protagonism of the puppeteer at the expense of the puppet, Cuticchio has staged a tertium between the two, namely the love relationship between puppet and puppeteer. Those who have seen the company's shows know that "love" is the most appropriate word to describe the soul of this theater. On stage, puppeteer and pupo become one, a kind of prodigy that Kleist already pointed to in his "puppet theater."