Produced by:

Associazione Culturale
Ca' Rossa / Centro
Teatrale per l'Oralità

with the
collaboration of:

Emilia-Romagna Region

The Bologna
Arts Council

The Mountain Community
of the Five
Bolognese Valleys

The Co-Operative
Theatre of Budrio
(based on documentary evidence and popular testimony)
written by :
Carlo Lucarelli
Matteo Belli


Paolo Vivaldi

directed by
and starring :

Matteo Belli

director's assistant:
Katia Pietrobelli

scenery, lighting
and sound :

Luigi Sermann

costumes through
the collaboration
Ileana Colognesi

Maurizio Sangirardi

graphic design:
Mirella Pagin

One of the worst massacres of the Second World War –and of the whole twentieth century – is re-read in the light of how history was to treat it from the immediate postwar years onwards.

This terrible event was to undergo judicial proceedings that seem to have set out to cover up investigations into who was responsible for it out of respect for the new geopolitical balance of the postwar Europe.

In the era in which a re-armed Germany became a fully active member of NATO (1955), some European governments and courts thought it ‘inconvenient' to re-open cases liable to cause serious international embarrassment, and so they remained buried in the archives, sometimes ending up truly forgotten.

After all, if Germany had had to pay for its mistakes, then what about other countries, like Italy – which had certainly not come out of its campaigns in Greece, Ethiopia and Montenegro smelling of roses?

File number 1937 remained hidden until 1994, when it was found in a wardrobe with its doorsturned against the wall at the end of a corridor in the Military Public Prosecutor's Office in Rome.

Our narration bases itself upon documents and popular testimony to tell the story of the massacre of 770 civilians in and around Marzabotto from the 29th of September 1944 to the 5th of October by various bodies of German and East European troops.

It also continues with a story of silence and missing court cases lasting up to the present day and bearing witness, once again, of how memory is perhaps one of the very few instruments allowing us to give a voice to the voiceless and transmit the sense of sacrifice to further generations.

This is a performance that offers itself to the public in light of the fact that we should never forget that there is a Theatre of Narration that is not merely superficial but also able to reveal hidden meanings that are part of the warp and weft of reality and that the language of the arts can help to make clearer to the spectator.

We should particularly like to thank Loris Lepri and Germano Maccioni for the documentary “Lo stato d'eccezione” and, for their testimony, Salvina Astrali, Walter Cardi, Renato Clerici, Maria Dani, Caterina Fornasini, Ferruccio Laffi, Gianfranco Lorenzini, Cornelia Paselli, Fernando Piretti, Elide Ruggeri and Lucia Sabbioni.

length: 90 minuti