On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God

Conceiving and staging: Romeo Castellucci
Music: Scott Gibbons

With: Gianni Plazzi, Sergio Scarlatella
together with Andrei Benchea, Vito Matera and Silvano Voltolina

Collaboration to the staging: Giacomo Strada
Object’s realisation: Istvan Zimmermann, Giovanna Amoroso
Children’s preparation: Silvano Voltolina
Sound technician: Matteo Braglia
Light technician: Luciano Trebbi
Props: Vito Matera
Management: Gilda Biasini, Benedetta Briglia, Giulia Colla
Administration: Simona Barducci, Elisa Bruno, Michela Medri
Economic consultation: Massimiliano Coli

Executive Producer: Societas
in Coproduction with: Theater der Welt 2010; deSingel international arts campus / Antwerp; Théâtre National Bretagne / Rennes; The National Theatre / Oslo Norway; Barbican London and SPILL Festival of Performance; Chekhov International Theatre Festival / Moscow; Holland Festival / Amsterdam; Athens Festival; GREC 2011 Festival de Barcelona; Festival d’Avignon; International Theatre Festival DIALOG Wroclav / Poland; BITEF (Belgrade International Theatre Festival); Foreign Affairs I Berliner Festspiele 2011; Théâtre de la Ville–Paris; Romaeuropa Festival; Theatre festival SPIELART München (Spielmotor München e.V.); Le-Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg / Scène Européenne; TAP Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers- Scène Nationale; Peak Performances @ Montclair State-USA
In collaboration with Centrale Fies/Dro

Photo: Klaus Lefebvre

It starts with this. I want to meet Jesus in His most extreme absence. There is no face of Jesus. I can look at paintings and statues. I know of a thousand or more painters from the past who spent half their time trying to reproduce the ineffable, almost invisible, grimace of regret that would surface about His lips. And now? Now there is no He.

What makes its way in me more than anything is the will: to put together the will and the face of Jesus. I want to be before the face of Jesus, although what strikes me above all is the first part of that phrase: I want.



Once again, Romeo Castellucci turns to an apical icon of the human history: Jesus, with whom the time too confronts itself in most of the world. Here the picture of Jesus starts from the Renaissance painting and particularly in the topic moment of the Ecce Homo. In this precise instant, tradition states that Christ looks the spectator into the eyes, with a powerful effect of dramatic involvement in the questioning. In this calculated confusion of sights’ touching and crossing, the Face of God’s Son becomes the picture of the man, of a man or even of the very spectator. And so, in the performance, the sight of God becomes a sort of light illuminating a series of human actions which can be good, evil, disgusting or innocent.

The performance doesn’t tell about Jesus, nor about the worship; it has no content of social condemnation and it doesn’t want to be easily provocative. At the same time, Romeo Castellucci keeps his distance from mysticism and debunking because, in the end, it’s just the picture of a man. A man who is exposed naked in front of other men; who, in turn, are exposed naked by that man.


The performance, from its very title, imposes initials which synthesize the name “Jesus” at the maximum degree; Jesus is a name that is so present for so many millions of men on earth that it can become almost invisible because it is so deeply implicit. It is present beyond the conscience and the science; beyond the feeling and history; it is essentially and radically present, apart from one’s will. A name, somehow, sustained by the groove of an experience of references that is millenary.


“On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God” is a performance with some of Socìetas’ theater’s fundamental ideas: religion not as a mystical or theological manifestation, but as part of that stock of primary images and practices the theater draws on. A vocabulary of diffuse symbols and signs which can form the basis for multiple, contradictory and even embarassing relationships is launched at the spectator, who becomes the reagent of this universe.