Italian play to mark Da Vinci's 500th death anniversary in Manila

Italian play to mark Da Vinci's 500th death anniversary in Manila

MANILA, Philippines — If you were to travel back in time and chance upon Leonardo da Vinci, what would you tell him? Knowing all the things he had accomplished, what would you ask him if you had just one question?

Would you ask him about "the" "Mona Lisa," his famous painting on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris? Would you put the mystery of the portrait of a lady with an enigmatic smile to rest?

Or would you ask him if there are really secret cosmic messages concealed in his works? Or would you get personal and inquire whether he had been involved in religious masonic group?

Perhaps, would you rather just sit with beside him on a bench in a park in Florence, basking in his intellectual aura while observing how the mind of an all-around Renaissance man work? Would you just have a simple conversation on what his thoughts about life in general?

That is exactly what happens in “Being Leonardo da Vinci, An Impossible Interview,” a one-act play about the Italian genius, his life and his works. 

Directed by Italian director and actor Massimiliano Finazzer Flory, the play will take the stage on November 21, 7 p.m., at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Cultural Center of the Philippines' Little Theater).

Director-actor Flory channels the Italian genius on the stage. Dressed in period costumes and wearing make-up which reconstructs the Italian genius' face, Finazzer as Da Vinci would answer questions about his childhood, his civil and military activities, his paintings, the dynamics between arts and science through an “impossible interview” with a journalist, portrayed by actor-writer Lito Casaje.

In the original texts of Renaissance language, "Da Vinci” would share his thoughts on "The Last Supper" and the figures of the apostles, comment on his enemies' attacks, prophesy man's flying, and offer maxims and aphorisms to live by in our times.

The “Being Leonardo da Vinci” play premiered during the Expo 2015, and gone on a successful international tour in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Miami in the USA, Moscow in Russia, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Geneva in Switzerland, Paris in France, Venice and Milano in Italy.

Flory's latest project is in commemoration of Da Vinci's 500th death anniversary. At the age of 67, Leonardo da Vinci passed away in 1519, at the small manor house in the Loire Valley given to him by King Francis I of France. He was buried nearby in the church of the Château d’Amboise, which was demolished in the early 19th century.

Half a millennium has passed, and Da Vinci continues to fascinate the world. His legacy in the arts, inventions, science, and even in culinary, among others, is vast and still inspiring many people. His life and works remain a popular topic of researches and studies. Recent developments include rediscovery of “Salvator Mundi” painting, the restoration of his “Adoration of the Magi,” and the discovery of a document on the "Mona Lisa."

On this important historical milestone, the Philippine Italian Association, the Embassy of Italy in the Philippines, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, in partnership with CCP and Rustan's Group of Companies, will hold a series of cultural and artistic activities that commemorate the Renaissance icon.

Besides the theater play, a screening of a film with the same title will be held on November 20, 2 p.m., at the CCP Dream Theater; followed by a masterclass on interdisciplinarity, through the conjugation of art and science, memory and imagination, tradition and technology, theater and cinema.
Since 2011, Flory has been investigating the life of Da Vinci, as well as the relevance of his genius to contemporary generations. The versatile and interdisciplinary works of Da Vinci brought him to render his investigations in different artistic forms such as theater and cinema.

Throughout his life, Da Vinci defined himself not just an artist and a philosopher, but also as an inventor, a scientist. He believed that inventor is a person who can create an artifact or an artwork by assembling different elements in a new configuration that doesn't exist in nature.

If Da Vinci was alive in modern times, what would he think about all the fuss over him?

We would not have known what would be running in his mind, but one thing is for sure: He would be glad to know that his legacy is very much alive.