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Project Mercury is the third (and final) chapter of OHT’s Performance Series, an on-going archive of shows inspired by the sociological research of Richard Sennett on emotional differences due to their working condition. A catalogue of the limits of daily life, embarrassments and deficiencies of our society that becomes theatrical matter through the use of irony. In this show, Patric’s vicissitudes go to Fiora and Chiara train to become astronauts. They are going to tackle what is an actual space odyssey. The inability to affirm themselves is concealed in every gesture and word of theirs.

However, they don’t give up and they fight to conquer their portion of space. Is their total absence of cynicism that transforms a cold photography studio into outer space bringing the show on the edge of an illusion and a real interstellar journey.

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The performance investigates the emotional consequences of broken dreams, inspired by Mercury 13, a failed American project that tried to send thirteen women into space. Launched towards the end of the ‘50s, Mercury 13 (the name echoed Mercury 7, coeval NASA program that first launched seven men into space) was supposed to prepare thirteen women to become astronauts. The project failed for the simple fact that the astronauts, being women, could not be part of the American army, nor, consequently, of NASA. However, in 1963, the Soviet Union sent the first woman into space: Valentina Tereshkova. This represented not only an immeasurable success of the USSR to the detriment of the USA, but also to the profound delusion of Jerrie Cobb, the front-woman of Mercury 13 who, despite flight hours superior to any male pilot of the era, saw her dream go up in smoke due to the para-military origin of NASA.

The performance is also linked to the first and only strike in space, which occurred on 28 December 1973, when the crew of Skylab, composed of Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue, decided to cut off all radio communication with NASA for 24 hours, passing the day relaxing and watching the earth from space. Once communications were reinstated, there were discussions between the crew and NASA, and the mission continued for many weeks before the crew returned to earth in 1974. Shifting between these events, the performance becomes an analogical mechanism that creates dialogue between the two aspiring astronauts and John Fiztgerald Kennedy, Jerrie Cobb and the protagonists of the first strike in space.

The first show (title: "Self-portrait with two friends") deals with failure in a private space. The second (title: "Weaknesses") turns on exposing one's own weaknesses in a public place. Finally, the third (title: "Project Mercury") revolves around the absence of privileges in the outer-space.

Richard Sennett
Born in Chicago in 1943, he is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and at New York University. His studies focus on the analysis of life in urban contexts, the emotional consequences caused by excessive precariousness and the ways in which people produce culture. He was a personal advisor to former President Barack Obama and his studies have influenced many scholars including Zygmunt Baumann. His research was recognized with the Hegel Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2006) and the Gerda Henkel Prize (2008), a prize worth € 100,000.

"The evil you tolerate depends on the good you want" - Richard Sennett

year

2017

running time

0:53:00.0

genre

theatre

credits

by OHT | Office for a Human Theatre

> idea, directing, set-design Filippo Andreatta
> by and with Fiora Blasi, Chiara Caimmi
> previous version with Sara Rosa Losilla / Isabella Mongelli
> dramaturgy Filippo Andreatta and Charles Adrian Gillott
> outer-space expert Paolo Giuseppe Bianchi
> costume Andrea Ravieli
> technician Giovanni Marocco
> stage manager Rosario Fontanella / Massimiliano Rassu
> producer LauraMarinelli
> administrator Chiara Fava
> production OHT
> supported by Fondazione Caritro, Provincia Autonoma di Trento
> residency Centrale Fies, Residenze IDRA, Teatro Cantiere Florida
> dedicated to Kat Elle, Rasmus Exo and Frida

production history

26.XI.2016 Firenze, Teatro Cantiere Florida
29.VII.2017 Dro, Drodesera Festival - Centrale Fies
02-03.IX.2017 Andra, Festival Castel dei Mondi
25.XI.2017 Brescia, Wonderland Festival
02.III.2018 Modena, Teatro delle Passioni - ERT
05-06-07.X.2018 Milano, Zona K
06.IV.2019 > Asti, Spazio KOR

number of replica

10