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Farewell Luca Ronconi, Master of Utopias

Luca Ronconi, one of Italy’s greatest theater directors, died on February 21, 2015, just before turning 82. His last productions touched on the theme of death, which he probably felt breathing down his neck during his countless sessions on the dialysis machine, during those innumerable hours of immobility. A man who was constantly boiling over with new ideas was forced to face up to the ghosts of his mind, the same ghosts that were represented on stage. Suspended deaths, like in his recent production of ‘Celestina’ that opened with the body of Melibea. Doors on set opened to reveal pulsating worlds of sex and intrigue, then led back into emptiness before returning, at the end of the play, to the lifeless corpse of the young protagonist. Ronconi’s rendering of  Spregelburd’s ‘Panic’ comes to mind, as well as his final production, Stefano Massini’s ‘Lehman Trilogy’ performed at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan after his death. In this play, the world of the living - thanks to further doors designed by Marco Rossi, which were more ethereal and minimalist than those in ‘Celestina’ - intermingled with the world of the dead. In the case of the Lehman Brothers saga, people who had no desire...