When you listen to Rossini’s opera, it’s difficult not to associate it with images from the fairy tale that inspired its creation. When we think of Cinderella, we think of the images we constructed during our childhood when we heard the story for the first time, and which were later patented into our collective western memory, after seeing them as illustrations in a children’s book. Finally, in the 20th Century, Disney’s images gave a definite and fatal shape to the representation of the story.
The script for La Cenerentola is inspired directly by Charles Perrault’s fairy tale, who apparently took, in turn, direct inspiration from another Chinese tale. La Cenerentola transgresses Cinderella, and it proposes a gender variation in every sense of the word. Cinderella is not moral, in a modern sense of the word, however La Cenerentola is. Both comic and serious, La Cenerentola, or The triumph of kindness, is inscribed into a world of male cultural values.
Mapa Teatro’s Cenerentola is radically contemporary. Radical because in their interpretation, this fairy tale is seen as an unfair and ruthless reality pierced through by crumbling dreams. On an urban stage, emptied of fantasy, but filled with figures and icons from our popular culture. Fairies and ballroom dances in palaces won’t be seen, nor will we see a prince charming with shoe in hand. The secret of magic will, this time, be replaced by a grotesque world. The fairy-tale has been ousted by soap operas and reality shows.
"None of them, not even Cenerentola, appear as great lords, but rather as ridiculous and even tragic characters, representing that easy rising, that rampant social climbing that we inherited from the drug trafficking culture, where what matters is the easy, vertiginous, economic success, similar only to the ease and speed with which reality shows make people famous without any merit [...] I don’t believe that the staging by the Abderhalden won’t be provocative, as comic operas should be, and that it will not shock many Colombians, imbued as we are with all the exaltation of patriotic symbols, thanks to an excess of the use of the word homeland.
And if that is in fact the case, then I welcome the controversy, which we are in such need of, amongst so much informative unanimity and so many reality shows inventing clay idols. This type of staging, for being so provocative, is a good indication that culture is in quite good health. "
María Jimena Duzán, El Tiempo 6th September 2004.