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When the director Simona Vannelli commissioned me the poster for her theatrical show "The teacher with the red apron", I was working on the #quellache project, and the first thing I thought was the strange case that crossed the history of Italy Donati, victim of prejudices at the end of the 19th century, with that of my contemporary women, who tried to rebel against prejudices and stereotypes.

Below the history of Italy, in the words of Simona Vannelli.

The theatrical show will see on the stage the succession of actors and actresses in a chorus of voices enclosed in their intimate pain. They are the characters who have lived in first person, or touched, in some way, the life of the young teacher. The voices intertwine with each other in a crescendo of emotions. The guilt of almost all the characters emerges, guilty of not having understood the pain of Italia Donati crushed by slander and forced to find peace only in death. The story of the "teacher with the red apron" unfolds in a basic historical period as far as education is concerned. We are at the end of the 1800s and the level of illiteracy is very high in Valdinievole, just the daughters of the rich could have expected from life the least infamous treatment available. Italia Donati, in addition to being a woman, was also poor, two miseries that no one wanted to alleviate. Nobody but her. A little over twenty years old, in 1883, Italy left his illiterate peasant family from Cintolese, in the municipality of Monsummano, to begin his new life. Against every class law, overcoming the fatigue and terror of inadequacy, she had managed to escape the fields and the spinning mill and become an elementary teacher.

In Porciano, in the municipality of Lamporecchio, her first assignment was waiting for her, but also the web of violence that would have led her to suicide in three years: the harassment and sexual blackmail of the mayor Raffello Torrigiani, the slander of the people, the hostility from other women. No one, apart from a couple of timid exceptions, ever took his side. Italy was very young and also very inexperienced, so much so that she fell deeper and deeper into that sort of witch hunt that made her unable to rebel for fear of losing her job. Approaching the history of Italy we ask ourselves many times “why doesn't he go away?”. The same question that the writer Elena Gianini Belotti asks herself before giving life to her beautiful book “Prima della quiete”, where she traces the very life of the unfortunate teacher. He rightly reflects on the fact that it was the wrong question, as it repeats the "imposed pattern" whereby it is the victim who must escape persecution, while the persecutor is not touched.

In the end, Italy really goes away. One morning in June 1886 he put on his “scandalous” red apron, climbed onto the wall of the bridge and threw himself into the bottaccio of the Rimaggio mill. His suicide may seem like a surrender, but instead it is in fact an indictment of a narrow-minded, petty and inhumane people. His last letter is unequivocal. Italy leaves his body exclusively to claim the medical examination that he had been denied in life and which would have proved his innocence. As it happened then. Why a show on Italia Donati? Because even today, years later, little or nothing has changed in terms of prejudice and slander. Subtle forms of violence that still claim victims today. After knowing the story of this young teacher, who lived in places known to me among other things, I felt the need to talk about her, to remember her. Through this show with the pure matrix of the theater of speech, I tried to retrace through a chorus of voices the one who sacrificed her will to live in the name of justice and honor stained by slander.

simona vannelli e laura corre.jpg

Simona Vannelli, actress and director with Laura Corre.

simona vannelli-serena-dandini.jpg

Simona Vannelli with Serena Dandini.

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