Io sono Nikinsky (I am Nijinsky) - Theatre play

Saint-Moritz, winter 1918-1919. Vaslav Nijinsky, who had been living in Switzerland for a year and a half to wait out the war, begins to show signs of imbalance. Although the causes of his illness are not clear, several events seem to have contributed to its onset, and one of them seems to have a particularly symbolic role: the news of the death of his brother, who had been ill with nerves since childhood. As the Swiss landscape turns white, Nijinsky begins to behave incomprehensibly, plunging a small community into chaos. In the process, he feverishly writes a famous diary, which was not published until later. Five years after the production of «Io, Pierre Rivière, avendo sgozzato mia madre, mia sorella e mio fratello…» (inspired by «I, Pierre Rivière, having slaughtered my mother, my sister, and my brother…» by Michel Foucault) with «Io sono Nijinsky», Daniele Bernardi continues his research into the realms of madness, dedicating a performance to the figure of the «God of dance» through a personal elaboration of this writing.

«Io sono Nijinsky» (I am Nijinsky) is a performance project that consists in adapting and staging one of the most painful documents in the history of twentieth-century culture: the diary of the Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Written in Switzerland, in Saint-Moritz, in the early months of 1919, the text is the account of the outbreak of the illness that plagued the artist for the rest of his life: schizophrenia.

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Contributing to the theatre project

This fundraiser is intended to support the production of the theatre play, which is scheduled to debut on November 19, 2021. Any help, however small, is precious for the realisation of the production! It is an artistic collaboration with Elisa Pagliaro, creative assistant, who was inspired by the project by drawing and modelling ceramics of Vaslav Nijinsky’s face. Whether you are a lover of culture, theatre, or simply touched in some way by this story, let yourself be carried along and participate in its realization with a donation.

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Artists featured

Promoter and actor-creator of the project: Daniele Bernardi (Lugano, 1981) graduated from the Accademia D’Arte Drammatica Pietro Sharoff (Rome) and then mastered his training at the Teatro delle Radici (Lugano), under the direction of Cristina Castrillo (Swiss Theatre Prize 2014). Actor-author-director for theatre and radio, since 2015 he has been part of the artistic project of the Ticino company Opera retablO, directed by Ledwina Costantini, with whom he has directed the productions «Köszeg» (2015), «Dahü» (2017), «Lady Shakespeare, studio 1» (2018), «The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body» and «Lady Shakespeare» (2019). He created the plays «La rauca gola del cuore, collage-Majakovsky» (2006), «La bufera è il mio violino, collage-Esenin» (2008), «Ballata di un uomo sottile, omaggio a Bob Dylan» (2010). His most recent work, «I, Pierre Rivière, having slaughtered my mother, my sister, and my brother…», was shortlisted for the 2017 Rencontre du théâtre suisse. He teaches theatre in various settings, with a particular focus on social exclusion. In addition to producing and performing radio plays for the Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana (Rete Due), he is also an author of poems.

Visual artist, set designer and sound designer: Ledwina Costantini (Sorengo, 1976) studied at the CSIA (Centro Scolastico Industrie Artistiche, Lugano) and trained as an actress-creator under the direction of Cristina Castrillo at the Teatro delle Radici. She then went to England at the Northcott Theater in Exeter and the Royal Theater in Plymuth. Back in Switzerland, she worked for five years with the Trickster-P (Novazzano) under the direction of Cristina Galbiati. After a semester of study at the National Opera Academy in Beijing (with the masters Giao Ging Ge and Yi Lin), she founded the artistic-theatrical association Opera retablO in Ticino. She has collaborated as an actress-creator in shows and performances by Swiss and foreign companies and artists, working in Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Denmark, China, Indonesia, India, South America, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Costume designer: Luisa Beeli (Liestal, 1978) works as a stage and costume designer in Switzerland and Italy. After an apprenticeship as a dressmaker, she completed her studies as a set designer at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in 2007, with a period of study at Saint Martins University in London. She designed sets and costumes for the Winkelwiese Theatre for Triad Theaterproduktionen and for the Maralam Theatre in Zurich. She has worked for the Theater Lubecca, consolidating her experience as a freelance assistant for the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Opernhaus in Zurich, the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, the Teatro Regio in Turin, the Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin, the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf.

Voiceover: Raissa Avilés (Bellinzona, 1984) is an actress and singer who graduated in 2009 from the International School of Body Mime in Barcelona, where she also took courses in Técnica Meisner with Javier Galitó-Cava. At the same time, she attended modern singing classes at the L’Aula de Musics music school in Barcelona and with Monica Miralles. She has worked as an actress in several productions with the companies Moveo Teatro, Teatro el Puente, La-A Teatre and with the improvisation company PlanetaImpro. In 2015, she went back to Ticino to obtain a Master of Arts in Physical Theatre at the Accademia Teatro Dimitri in Verscio. Since 2007 she has been working as a professional actor in many theatre projects, performances, improvisation shows, and since 2014 she collaborates as a performer and singer in the creations of Opera retablO.

Project assistant and artistic collaborator for Nijinsky’s head: Elisa Pagliaro (Lugano, 1990) studied literature, anthropology and philosophy at the University of Fribourg, and dramaturgy at the performing arts school La Manufacture and at the University of Lausanne. For several years, she has been working on theatre projects in Italian, French, German and English, as a stage assistant, actress and in the rewriting and translation of texts. She collaborates on the project «Io sono Nijinsky» as a project assistant. Her collaboration also includes the creation of drawings and ceramic statues, inspired by the performance itself, which will be included and sent to the supporters of the Wemakeit Io sono Nijinsky’s project.

Other credits: with the artistic collaboration of Opera retablO; the advice of Kantoratelier; residencies offered by Orto degli Ananassi - Teatro della Brigata, Teatro Sociale - Bellinzona, Rassegna HOME - Teatro Foce; with the support of Pro Helvetia, Repubblica e Cantone Ticino - Fondo Swisslos, Comune di Riviera and with the contribution of Fondazione Ernst Göhner, Fondazione Ferdinando e Laura Pica-Alfieri, Ennio Ferrari SA.

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