Ballata di fine millennio
(Ballad of the Millennium's End)

A fascinating show of warnings, wittiness and songs but also an Oratorio of poetry, spirituality and memories, an instructive catalogue of questions, unease and songs full of longing, Ballad of the Millennium's End by Mara Cantoni and Moni Ovadia can be defined as a striking and lyrical Cabaret dealing with the illusions of a century, our century, which coincides with the end of a millennium.

(Rodolfo Di Giammarco,
la Repubblica
, 22 march 1997)

This touching show, so Mittel-European and at the same time so internationalistic, which makes fun of Hitler, the Nazis, the Fascists, Stalin, planification and the false myths of our day, is like a how-to book of political theatre: signs and slogans, agit-prop megaphones, songs (...) In this voyage through the years and events, the pain and joy, the loss of all illusions, the struggles, punctuated by the yearning dances of a couple dressed in black, we find the whole meaning of a journey which unites us and divides us, made of solidarity and thought.

(Maria Grazia Gregori,
l’Unità , 20 february 1996)

We find here a century which on its way out makes an inventory of its own dusty attics, ideological or not (...). But on that stage, between a sign and a megaphone, between the cabaret of Karl Valentin and a few pages from Mayakovsky, we find an acute meditation on the present and, perhaps, even the future. It talks about us, of the men who will inhabit the new millennium, of the folly of this world we are bequeathing to our children (...). Allen Ginsburg would have appreciated this show, so poor and yet so rich, which addresses our intelligence while touching the strings of our heart.

(Carlo Muscatello,
il Piccolo
, 10 april 1997)

This show is so full of grace and of such violent intensity it quite literally carries you away.

(Osvaldo Guerrieri,
La Stampa
, 2 march 1996)

The relationship with images
was particularly important
in the construction of Ballad.
I had the chance to speak about this at the IED

A letter to Diario makes reference
to this show, in a marginal but not inconsistent manner

Fast, disheveled, vital, amused. With a touch of décadence.
A show created, so to say, with...the left hand, full of interests and complicities which border on a secret language.
A show founded on a great clarity of ideas and intents, on real feelings, a bit disenchanted perhaps, but present.

Ballad was based on a consolidated structural model and touched thematic territory beaten before in both theatrical and non-theatrical endeavours, but its specificity laid elsewhere: it was created for the Festival Brecht, and therefore had to measure up to not only Mr. B.B. but with the historic Piccolo Teatro of via Rovello, Milan.

So...what to do?


In theatre...


To "enter" Ballad pass by
Dalla sabbia dal Tempo
Note spettinate

Gruppo Folk Internazionale

make a brief stop at
Storie di ordinaria emarginazione

move lightly to
Parquet (il Giovedì)

have a look to l'Internazionale

and finally... enjoy the Suite!

a show by Mara Cantoni and Moni Ovadia

musical arrangements and re-elaborations by
Carlo Boccadoro   Maurizio Dehò   Alfredo Lacosegliaz
Gian Pietro Marazza

sets and costumes by Luigi Benedetti

sound by Mauro Pagiaro    lighting by Gerardo Modica

with Moni Ovadia   

Mara Cantoni   Lee Colbert   Elena Sardi


Ivan Calaminici   Gianni Cannata   Amerigo Daveri
Maurizio Dehò  Cosimo Gallotta   Aleksandar Karlic  
Alfredo Lacosegliaz   Gian Pietro Marazza  
Massimo Marcer   Patrick Novara
Vincenzo Pasquariello   Luca Trolese   Emilio Vallorani

and the dancers Ida and Ettore

produced by CRT Artificio
There is History and history

A tango, a waltz and in between, History. The Weimar years, misery and war, internationalism, revolutions betrayed, real socialism, divided Germany, the American myth. A waltz, a tango, Brecht's profile. His wild youth, Marxist ideology, exile, old age.
With the help of more or less twenty songs, by Brecht-Weill and Brecht-Eisler but also by Bierman and Vissotsky or from the Warsaw ghetto, through the words of excellent Russians and Germans (from Tucholsky to Enzensberger to Mayakovsky) and including the ever-present spirit of the Wandering Jew, Ballad of the Millennium's End brings back our attention to the point of intersection between private and political, between history and History, which is not only a dominant theme in the life and work of Brecht but also a crucial knot in every culture, a finality which has been left adrift for the past twenty years. Thus, laughing and crying, we go through moments of different and diverse importance of the century, in a theatre piece which is at once linear and bizarre and which does not spare us emotions and a few surprises. With leave from the imperturbable Mr. Brecht.

february 1996

The photographs of Ballad
are by Maurizio Buscarino