Written by Salvatore Arena and Massimo Barilla, “Like a grain of sand—Giuseppe Gulotta, story of an innocent” tells the story of Giuseppe attempting to give justice to a life nearly entirely taken away for dreadful reasons.
by Elizabeth Grech
Image by the play’s producers
A play by Mana Chuma Teatro, established in the Strait of Messina and devoted to addressing the contemporary history of southern Italy, using innovative artistic forms and developing its own approach to dramaturgy to raise awareness and voice the rights of those who are subject to injustice or have little or no means to express themselves, those who make history but are never in the limelight.
Written by Salvatore Arena and Massimo Barilla, “Like a grain of sand—Giuseppe Gulotta, story of an innocent” (Selezione Inbox Award 2016) continues the research of A sud della memoria addressing a case of judicial fraud. It tells the story of Giuseppe attempting to give justice to a life nearly entirely taken away for dreadful reasons.
At the age of 18, Giuseppe Gulotta, a young construction worker with a life like many others, is arrested and forced to confess the murder of two policemen in “Alkamar”, small barracks in the province of Trapani. The crime hides an unspeakable mystery: secret services and statesmen who deal with neo-fascist groups, arms trafficking and drugs. In order to cover up the silence, any scapegoat would do. Gulotta lived 22 years locked up in jail for a crime he did not commit and 36 years of legal hell. He never escaped. He struggled with dignity, remaining there come un granello di sabbia (like grain of sand) in an infernal spiral until the obstinately sought and obtained revision process (the tenth one of a long series) when he was definitively released.
Gulotta lived 22 years locked up in jail for a crime he did not commit and 36 years of legal hell.
On the day of Giuseppe Gulotta’s appeal process, 36 years after the arrest, on the 12 of February 2012, Massimo Barilla meets a journalist friend working for RAI who was present in court and relates the incredible story. After having researched more, Massimo Barilla and Salvatore Arena, the two playwrights realise that behind this judicial error/horror, there is the story of a man. They discuss the possibility to tell this injustice that happens more often than we think, and to tell the history of Italy that impacts the life of “common” people and as such, Giuseppe is the most relevant symbol. Telling the 36-year long story of a man in an hour (duration of the play) was quite a challenge. On stage, Salvatore Arena voices Giuseppe Gulotta but also the various characters that weave this plot: friends, wife, lawyers, and judges.
The aim of this theatrical work is to point a beacon of light on this dark story, to raise awareness among the different audiences, to provide space and open debate, invite people to reflect and understand better.
The aim of this theatrical work is to point a beacon of light on this dark story, to raise awareness among the different audiences, to provide space and open debate, invite people to reflect and understand better. A responsibility that the authors have assumed even though stolen years of life can neither be repaired nor cancelled or brought back.
The play is on display at Valletta Campus Theatre on 26 of October 2019 at 20:30. Tickets are available here.
“It is an intense performance. There is rigour in the way it is designed, lived, performed, acted, not only with the “political” certainty concretely contributing to the construction of a serious, free and democratic conscience in our country but also with the right awareness that the truth is the only honesty that theatre can guarantee (…).”
Paolo Randazzo / dramma.it / Come un granello di sabbia
“Every now and then, one can watch performances that have a necessary raison d’être, plays that tell stories without rhetoric, without trying at all costs to seduce the audience, that keep us awake, make us reflect and above all have a soul (…), performances that gift us with true “theatre moments”.”
Marco Menini / Krapp’s last post / Un granello di sabbia grande come un macigno
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