Strange season this summer 2021. The pandemic, which still affects us, has however triggered a series of new behaviors and activities that have in some ways redesigned the city. The explosion of open-air bars and restaurants is before everyone’s eyes: wherever there is even a small segment of sidewalk or an open space, tables and umbrellas have occupied it.
And the extension to July of a theatrical program that did not exist this winter and that traditionally was suspended in full heat wave is also a novelty, at most outsourced to festivals and reviews. Even in the case of theaters with the discovery of outdoor spaces: they go great, just think of a program suitable for the place and the season, or light but not disengaged.
It was an “experiment” that involved all the main Milanese theatrical realities, from Piccolo to Parenti, Menotti, Elfo, Cooperativa, Atir, Mtm, Fontana, Triennale, while at the same time reviews and festivals did not stop (“Estate Sforzesca” , “Vapore d’estate”, “Up close no one is normal”, “Triennale Estate”). Open more for stubbornness and desire to be there, but with many doubts about the presence of the public, the theaters have discovered that “Milan exists”, outdoors or indoors (this is the real unknown: after so much lockdown, we bet on the desire of evenings within four walls and to challenge the virus, albeit with distant and masked spectators).
Now July is running out, and we can try to take stock. «For years we have been trying to extend the season – explains Ferdinando Bruni dell’Elfo -. But until July we had never really pushed ourselves: the theater was open but for rehearsals, not to the public. This year we dared, using all three of our rooms: even the less showy shows sold out, whether it was our bestsellers such as “The Strange Case of the Dog Killed at Midnight” or the titles of the “New Stories” review . Of course the numbers were those reduced by the quota, but they still surprised us. Our audience supported us in every way. It wasn’t so obvious that he decided that he could return to the theater. What about that we worked twice as much? In the evening on stage, during the day the rehearsals. We hope it is a prerequisite for a lively and uninterrupted 2021-2022 season. Also for this reason I am a firm supporter of the Green Pass, which can give us full audiences and certainty in programming ».
«I confess guilty of not having believed before in the possibility of a“ summer season ”- admits Emilio Russo of Menotti-Perego -. I used to live these months as a synonym for reviews, parties and theatrical festivals, as well as rehearsals for new shows. And instead. “Menotti in Sormani” is going very well, almost always sold out: a fantastic and new experience due to the essentiality of a scene without … a scene. A little more difficult was in June with the shows of “Fragile as the Earth” indoors, in the newly restored theater and the newly repealed lockdown. But resuming was important ».
Renato Sarti is also full of doubts and hesitations. “But our audience didn’t leave us, whether it was the Niguardians or those who came from“ outside the area ”. The shows we scheduled between the end of May and June went well, the “Risalita” exhibition by the disabled artist Santina Portelli went well, and even better for the titles of the Genoese G8 re-enactment. Now we are preparing for the resumption in September with “Theater in the courtyards”: it was a bit like our summer, it became the beginning of autumn, in mid-September. Made thanks to the support of Abitare Società Cooperativa and the Together in the Cortili Association, it is a truly important, free and popular event ».
Bruni and Russo also spoke to us about an autumn that anticipates the traditional October openings: at the Elfo with “MilanOltre” and then “Diplomazia”; from 23 September with a “surprise” billboard the Menotti.