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a dead forest for the trojan women

a dead forest for the trojan women



Stefano Boeri Architetti




Syracuse, Italy


Fondazione INDA (Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico)


Concept design of the scenic project, final and detailed design, construction site supervision


Stefano Boeri Architetti
Founding Partner: Stefano Boeri
Project leader: Anastasia Kucherova
Light Design:
Angelo Linzalata


Technical Partners: Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia Innova FVG Presidente Michele Morgante Referente progettuale Nicoletta Ermacora Rete Filiera Legno FVG Consorzio Boschi Carnici Presidente Luigi Cacitti Comune di Sappada Manuel Piller Hoffer AIBO FVG Presidente Agostino Michielin Le aziende boschive: Cigliani Albino e Mirco Arta Terme Agostinis Luigi s.r.l. Reana del Roiale Danta Legnami e Biomasse Verzegnis Del Fabbro Maurizio Forni Avoltri F.lli De Infanti

The scenic project for the Euripide’s tragedy The Trojan women is an idea of a landscape rather than an architectural presence in the suggestive environment of Greek Theater of Syracuse. But the nature brought to the scene is not flourishing or picturesque, it’s the devastated and devastating power of nature to debut on the ancient stage. The message of the tragedy is as clear as evergreen: any war is destructive, useless and there’s never a winner, no matter what either side of the battle believe. The project of the Dead Forest takes the idea of universal antimilitarism to an even further level: it zooms out from the wars between men to a global relationship between human species and nature. According to the idea of the Director Muriel Mayette-Holtz, the Trojan women are among us as the refugees escaping the destruction and disaster in their homelands in search of a better luck overseas. They are the victims of the terroristic attacks, confused and disoriented. But they are also millions of fir trees and spruces smashed down by the Vaia storm in the North-Eastern Italy, in the Carnic forests of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The economical and environmental impact of the storm that on October 29th 2018 has destroyed the area of 41.000 ha of forest is yet to be analyzed, but even the rough estimations demonstrate that the amount of wood nailed to the ground by the strongest wind this area has ever experienced, is 7 times superior to the material that all italian sawmills could potentially elaborate in 1 year.

So the idea of the scenic project is born out of necessity of creating, by the means of culture and design, of a bridge between the two tragedies that are 2000 years apart, between the two regions separated by 1500 km, between humans and nature.

The Dead Forest invades the stage of the theater as a contrast with the ancient living trees right behind it. In fact the project faces and speaks both with human public and the audience of the trees, giving equal importance to both of them. The regular setup, recalling the perfect proportions of classical greek temples and the very archetype of the column at the same time, is abruptly interrupted by the violence of wind, the path of smashed trees cuts the “temple”, bringing about the sensation of instability and anxiety. 250 trunks, 4,5,6 and, exceptionally, 8 meters high compose a forest, destined to be a refuge but also a prison for the protagonists and the choir, as the defeated Troy appeared to its widows and orphans. The actors are anonymous, the greek and trojan people are all covered with the dust of the war, as well as the entire surface of the stage, they are still alive but the prologue of the tragedy predicts sore end for both slaves and masters, giving them the same appearance of walking dead.

However the performance leaves the audience with a sign of hope after all: it’s up to each of us deciding whether the human presence on the planet has to be so devastating or there’s still a chance for a rebirth.

At the end of each representation the 50 actors involved are going to distribute among the spectators the plants of little oak trees to be planted in a specifically designated area in the periphery of Syracuse.

This gesture is a tangible confirmation that the slightest effort of each of us can make a difference, that the 50 people involved in the plantation after 20 replicas are going to make a forest of 1000 trees for their city.

The forest of the Trojan Women.