Il Burattino at Southsea Cinema

Local theatre company Trouble In The Square are taking their unique style of drama to the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe this August, but you’ve still got a chance to catch their play Il Burattino in their home town.

Showing at Southsea Cinema on Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Sunday 16 July 2023, Il Burattino has been professionally shot from a live performance and promises a look at the lives of people who fought for life and the pride of their country.

Il Burattino begins in April 1942 and tells the story of Tino, an orphan native to Varallo Sesia, in Northern Piedmont, Italy. Having always been perceived as the weaker one next to his older friend Romero, the boy is anxious to break away from his brotherly protection to carve out a life for himself. Romero wants the two to escape the draft by hiking into neutral Switzerland, but propaganda has secretly fed Tino the hope and inspiration he needs to go his own way, which leads to him joining the 2nd Infantry Division in Novara, bound for the bleak Eastern front.

With him, he brings a puppet, il burattino (in Italian), which was a birthday gift from his friend, Milana, who adores the boy. The puppet is a constant source of entertainment for other soldiers, as the boy uses it to boost morale by imitating the king and Mussolini in ways that become increasingly derogatory and slanderous as conditions worsen. Partly because of this, a companionship is formed between Tino and an older soldier named Virgil.

Living in Portsmouth means we’re all surrounded by war memorabilia from WWII. War seems ever closer to us now, the recent events in Ukraine echoing some of Europe’s darkest history. Trouble In The Square wanted to ask what it means to be a soldier, what happens to someone’s identity at war, what it means to grow disproportionately older, as so many soldiers do in comparison to civilians.

Rather than depicting the vague unknown warriors carved in memorial statues, Il Burattino tells the stories of individuals who fought for life and the pride of their country; people with dreams, families and traumas whose nuances cannot be fully realised in stone. Stories about the Second World War are often told from the perspective of the allies, but rarely from the side of failure; the side of the people who knew they were fighting for nothing but destructive ideologies and tyrannical regimes. Il Burattino tells the stories of three such soldiers who come to realise they have lost everything, lost who they are, lost their dreams.

Trouble In The Square is a small independent theatre company based in Portsmouth. Specialising in high-quality original works, they engage audiences with unique performances that foster camaraderie, learning, and introspection.

This professionally shot, live performance recording of Il Burattino is playing at Southsea Cinema in Palmerston Road ahead of the company travelling to Edinburgh to perform at the fringe festival.


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