Like a Little Grain of Sand

May 6 - 8PM - Atelier at Theaterlab

May 10 - 6PM - Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo'

LIKE A LITTLE GRAIN OF SAND. Giuseppe Gulotta. The story of an innocent man. (COME UN GRANELLO DI SABBIA. Giuseppe Gulotta, storia di un innocente.)

Written and Directed by Salvatore Arena and Massimo Barilla
With Salvatore Arena
Set design Aldo Zucco, Original music Luigi Polimeni
Light design Stefano Barbagallo
Historical Consultants Giuseppe Gullotta, Nicola Biondo
Production Mana Chuma Teatro

Running Time: 65 min

At the age of 18, Giuseppe Gulotta underwent a harrowing ordeal, being subjected to torture and coerced into confessing to the murder of two carabinieri in a small barracks in Alcamo. This heinous crime conceals an unspeakable mystery, involving statesmen entangled with neo-fascist groups, arms, and drug trafficking. Any convenient scapegoat would suffice to veil the truth behind this atrocity.

Through the lens of Giuseppe’s personal narrative, as well as those of Salvatore and Carmine – the two victims of the massacre – and others like Giovanni, Vincenzo, and Gaetano, who were wrongly designated as scapegoats, the play endeavors to render justice to lives completely stolen for reasons too dark to articulate.The performance is the last chapter of the quadrilogy A Sud della Memoria that Mana Chuma has devoted to the contemporary history of Southern Italy.


Inbox 2016 Award
ANCT Critics Award 2019
Audience Award & Best Actor Award, International Monodrama Festival Bitola 2023

English translations by Simon Bartolo – Supertitles by Elizabeth Grech for Mana Chuma Teatro.

Massimo Barilla – Playwright, poet, theatre director and producer. Former director of the Teatro Siracusa in Reggio Calabria, former cultural manager of the Hocynus Orca Foundation in Messina. Director of Mana Chuma Teatro (Premio della Critica ANCT 2019), in the framework of which he has written and directed, among others, Spine (finalist of the Premio Ustica per il teatro 2003); Di terra e di sangue (2005); ’70voltesud (2007); Come un granello di sabbia. Giuseppe Gulotta, storia di un innocente (Premio Selezione In-box blu 2016); F-Aìda (2019), and Calmarìa (2022). He wrote and directed the film 26 settembre 1970 / il cielo limpido. He also wrote the screenplay of the feature film Primula Rossa (2019) in which he also played a role. He published: Ossa di crita (Mesogea, 2020), collection of poetry in the dialect of Reggio, some of which feature in the literary guidebook Stretto di carta by Dario Tomasello (Il Palindromo, 2021); The short story Tre ombre piccole davanti al mare in Dentro più dentro dove il mare è mare (Historica, 2021); long excerpts from two of his plays in 1990-2020. Le théatre italien en résistance (Les Éditions théâtrales, Paris, 2020). He translated from Maltese into Italian with the author, and with Virginia Monteforte, Elizabeth Grech’s poetry book, Terre sospese (Capire edizioni, 2019). As a poet and writer, he represented Italy at the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2018.

Salvatore Arena – He studied in Barcelona and Messina and currently lives in Reggio Emilia. He is of Sicilian origin and Reggio Emilian by adoption. He is an actor, director and playwright and collaborated with important artists such as Marco Baliani (Giufà, San Francesco di Saramago, Bertoldo, Terra Promessa, Decamerone), Letizia Quintavalla (Fango, Il Pinguino senza frac), Scimone and Sframeli (La busta, Pali, Giù). Since 2002, he is the co-director of Mana Chuma Teatro, developing, with Massimo Barilla, a research path between ‘other’ forms of narration and new dramaturgy (Quadrilogy: A sud della memoria: Il mondo offeso, Di terra e di sangue, ‘70voltesud, L’ultimo Inganno; Terribìlio di mare; Historia du surdatu; Spine; Lunga notte di Medea; Come un granello di sabbia, Quanto resta della notte, F-Aìda, Calmarìa). He wrote Spine with Massimo Barilla. Directed by both playwrights, the performance was finalist of the Premio Ustica 2003. He wrote the text Longa è a jurnata with which he was finalist for the Premio Riccione in 2005. As an actor, he won the Premio Eolo with the performance Per la strada, in 2006, for the best Italian performance for children. As an actor, he won the Premio Ubu in 2009 with the performance Pali for the best Italian innovative theatre. He wrote and directed the performance La cisterna with Massimo Zaccaria, finalist of the Premio Ustica 2009. With Massimo Barilla, he wrote and directed the play, F-Aìda, finalist of the Premio Dante Cappelletti 2019. 

Mana Chuma Teatro is dedicated to converging the use of stories, figures and styles drawn from Mediterranean cultural tradition with the use of innovative artistic forms. It is a Calabrian and Sicilian contemporary theatre company directed by Massimo Barilla and Salvatore Arena engaged in the field of social theatre and in telling the contemporary history of southern Italy, awarded with the 2019 ANCT Critics Award. Recognised and financed by the Region of Calabria under Law 19/2017 as a theatre production company. Since 2021, the company has been recognised by the Ministry of Culture as an innovative theatre production company. The play Come un Granello di Sabbia (Like a Little Grain of Sand) was among the winners of the prestigious In-box 2016 Award. Mana Chuma is an artist collective with multidisciplinary backgrounds (theatre, music, video, poetry, cinema, dance, interactive technologies). It has developed its own poetic and artistic research in order to create new forms of dramaturgy and narrative theatre using both Italian and the regional dialect and paying special attention to research on space and the experimentation of different places for theatre performance. Mana Chuma Teatro develops its performances as projects in collaboration with artistic, cultural, educational and civil society organisations.

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