Omertà is a code of honor that places importance on silence, non-cooperation with authorities, and non-interference in the illegal actions of others.
Omertà was originally created for five women during the Alternative Routes season in 2014. I was extremely flattered when Caroline Finn asked me earlier this year to re-work it for four women and for it to be part of National Dance Company Wales “Roots” programme.
Omertà is a work which brings awareness to the position and jobs of the female figure in South Italian mafia organisations and explores a route towards an unreachable freedom which some of those women look for all their life and sadly realising there might not be one.
My interest to create this work was to investigate deeper into the role of those women which is always characterised by its ambiguity and unclearness, and usually not acknowledged by the general public or the mafia organisation itself, but also to give them a platform to be heard and their stories to be told.
“It is a role that is always been characterised by its ambiguity and confusion, trapped in a tangled spider web of feelings and emotions”, Alessandra Dino (expert and researcher of mafia criminal organisations)
When Caroline first approached me, the first question that came into my mind was, “How do I take back a work which existed more than three years ago and make it relevant to me as the artist who I am now?”
During the short amount of time in the studio I had with the cast, I proposed the four ladies an amount of research (videos, documentaries, stories, real life facts and evidences) to try to get them as close as possible to those mafia women, try to spark a curiosity towards them, try to get them to know each other as much as possible to really understand all the different “games” they played in the organisation.
I was extremely clear from the beginning with the dancers: “Ladies, you are not trying to be them or pretend you are women you shared a similar life path because you are not. Those women are ruthless and have a violent streak but they are still women”
The cast of the four female dancers was extremely curious and intrigued by those characters and found a unique personal way in to relate to them without having any sympathy but also asking themselves that question: What if I was one of those women? How would I feel? Which decisions I would take?
By asking themselves those questions they were able to answer or personally engage with those matters through a physical response which was triggered by a personal emotion commitment to the work, bringing to it a new life and a much more relevant message to deliver within it.
The whole artistic team has been incredible into giving this work a new life, from some new exciting costumes from Rike Zöllner to a rearranged powerful soundtrack from Sarah Everson.
It was a collaborative and collective experience where we all shared the same ethos, not to try to replicate what we have done together in 2014 but build from that and allow the work to develop.
We are opening in Llanelli this Saturday and I am very excited to bring the work in Cardiff next week as part of the Cardiff Dance Festival Programme to then go on tour in Welsh Venues till December.
More dates and infos: http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/roots-autumn-17/ https://www.matteomarfoglia.com/omert
Images from Omerta (2014 by Sian Trenberth)