by Gli Omini
by and with Francesco Rotelli, Francesca Sarteanesi, Giulia Zacchini and Luca Zacchini
lights Emiliano Pona

production Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese – Centro di Produzione Teatrale
sponsored by Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Regione Toscana regional government
Gli Omini are a company in art residency at Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese

organization and production office Daniela Sanesi and Sara Bruni
press office Francesca Marchiani
photos Gabriele Acerboni

Duration 1h
Compulsory reservation

One of the oldest railway lines in Italy. An insane engineering feat. Ninety-nine kilometres of  track with 47 tunnels, 35 bridges and viaducts, and a 550-metre altitude difference. Dizzying views. Stops in the middle of chestnut woods. A river running alongside with waterfalls and tiny beaches. Stations off-limits. Constructions gone to ruin.
Hamlets, villages, scattered houses, mountains. A work of art. 

Since its birth in 1864, the Porrettana Transapennine Railway, which joins Pistoia to Bologna, has had a chequered history of grandiose ideas, dreams, sacrifices, enormous difficulties, losses and extraordinary engineering feats. After a period of closure, the train line set out on its journey again in 2014, celebrating its 150th anniversary.
A project has been put into place to revitalize the Porrettana railway, salvaging the memories and culture along its route, right up to the present day. And the theatre is also playing a part in this journey.
The way is still long to giving this great work of art a new face. The mission is to bring it back to life, document it, transpose it into something else, revitalize its spaces and populate them with people and activity.
Part of this programme is “Progetto T.”. It started on its way, on the train, at the station of Pistoia. Destination Porretta Terme. Lending a listening ear, gathering images, confessions, faces and stories, to give back theatrical productions in return. Research and interviews on the ground, to find stories and personalities. Performances, installations reflecting this area, theatre produced by reality and real people. Events on one of the oldest railways lines in Italy and in its abandoned places. Three years to transform a carriage into a travelling theatre, a mobile cultural venue.

A station in the backwoods is not just somewhere you go through. It isn’t a moment of transit, it isn’t just a non-place. A small-town station has its own identity, its inhabitants, its voices, its rules.
Gli Omini spent a month at the station in Pistoia, on the platforms, in the bar where you have to buy a drink every other time you go towards the toilets, to sit on the benches. They understood the rules and saw them being broken. They met the people. Some commuters, lots of ex cons, as many on probation, pigeons, confused students, prostitutes, people travelling by train because they haven’t got a car any more, all kinds of couples, all forms of love, pigeons, drug users, homeless mandolin players, women who read at the station and then talk like they’ve swallowed a dictionary, and, pigeons.
People hiding, people looking out of the corner of their eye. People watching the trains go by and keeping behind the yellow line.

We apologize for any inconvenience made its debut in July 2015 at the Deposito dei Rotabili Storici in Pistoia, the historic locomotive depot full of memories, a protected corner that not everyone knows about. Now open to the public, its dead-end tracks and period carriages set the scene for the play.