C’era una volta


from the Brothers Grimm’s “Snow White”

Much more than a show about princesses and heroes.
The fairy-tale land of our imagination, so sweet and lovely in our memories, will be transformed, and the lines between Good and Evil will become deeply ephemeral.

Stories and legends that come from the tradition of great authors, from the Brothers Grimm to Lewis Carroll, and Johann Karl August Musäus to Hans Christian Andersen, are reinterpreted in a noir atmosphere with a “bittersweet” air.

Is it possible that Little Red Riding Hood has a dark side? And why can’t a Witch or a Stepmother have a good, sweet-natured or even melancholic side?

C’ERA UNA VOLTA is a colourful and enchanting revue, a multidisciplinary work where fascinating moving objects, water effects and the fusion of technological influences work together to create an evocative and expansive experience for the audience.

It is a contemporary work that shakes up old traditions by stripping away the “sugar-coated” essence of a fairy-tale.

Premiere: FIRA TÀRREGA (ES) – SEPT 2013
On tour: 2014 – 2020

Cast and crew: 12/13 people on tour (9 actors)
Running time: 60 mins.
Venue: This show is suitable for large open spaces and historic locations.
Language: No text >> non-verbal show
Techniques: Physical theatre / Dance / Machinery and large moving objects
Audience: Best suited to approx. 2,000 people. It can accommodate up to 3,000 audience members.

Target: Any age bracket. Suitable for an international audience.
Miscellaneous: Use of pyrotechnics and water effects.

Directed by: Margò Paciotti
Intellectual property rights: ONDADURTO TEATRO / Margò Paciotti and Lorenzo Pasquali

Assistant director: Roberto Andolfi

Cast: Chiara Becchimanzi, Giorgia Conteduca, Daniele Ginnetti, Marco Golinucci, Valerio Marinaro, Giorgia Marras, Lorenzo Pasquali, Dario Vandelli, Giulia Vanni.

Machinery: Lorenzo Pasquali and Massimo Carsetti

Music: Recognizable melodies by various authors

Costume Design: Claudia Tortora
Light Design: Costel Iulian Prodran
Videos: Cristian Paraskevas

International Consultancy: Ute Classen Kulturmanagement – Germany

A dusty attic, an abandoned house, an old set.

Scenery hidden under large plastic tarpaulins, everything seems to have been abandoned there, beneath the dust, who knows why…

The clock is ticking, time is flowing…Suddenly, the clock strikes 12, it’s midnight and everything has begun!

Dancing to an old-fashioned overture, the actors help each other to get dressed and ready and then they pull out a large structure made of stairs and various platforms…It all seems like a Great Variety Show!

The wicked Stepmother appears and they all become puppets in her service, manipulated throughout the space, according to her whim.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?” “Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen. But more beautiful still is another Girl, as I ween”.

And then the Girl appears: a Girl, with a red hat and coat… Could she be…? Who knows…! A timeless character, who, like a common thread, will lead the audience into our story.

An imaginary world, where an improbable Mad Hatter and his Carousel of Time will bring our heroine on a surreal and fantastic journey. She will pass through stories and legends on a breathtaking tour of enchanting and colourful locations.

A glittering Fairy with her absurd beauty salon comes on the scene, followed by a moment played out in the style of an old gangster movie, where, through the use of video-projection, sounds effects and comic-style acting, the smoke-filled Chicago of the past is recreated on stage. In this atmosphere, a charming Wolf and his bungling minions act out their adventures, including shoot-outs, chases and beautiful dolls…they even beat up the poor Grandma! But their every effort fails.

It is the Girl who will finally subdue the Wolf and make him her faithful puppy.

Suddenly, two Half-Sisters appear with their entourage of servants, busy eating and constantly trying on every kind of shoe imaginable. A grotesque scene with a dramatic atmosphere that culminates in an uncontrollable jet of water: the desperate tears of two rejected women, who were not chosen, for whom the shoe doesn’t fit!

And just like in the original story, our heroine will find her shoe and then will be saved by her Prince charming, who will come to her tower in a flying Vespa.

But the wicked Stepmother will not like this happy ending: she only believes in her own beauty, and she is the only one who can be happy in this story! Her Magic Mirror moves closer to dance a sad tango with her, a melancholic Milonga.

The Mirror will turn into Light, the Stepmother into Shadow, and the Shadow into a story of love, an eternal, impossible love…Jealous of both the happiness and love of our heroine, the Stepmother will use her magic for the last time, changing our heroine into a white swan.

In the end, the Mad Hatter and his Carousel of Time will come back to try to restore order, to guide our heroine and to help her…but what will happen? How will the story end?

The dark, hidden side of the story, the moments of melancholy, disillusion…Ondadurto Teatro gives new life to these fairy-tale worlds through the use of a poetic and grotesque style.

The use of machinery and objects in movement follows on from and develops the research conducted by the company during all its previous performances.
The set design concept revolves around a set of stairs, which create various levels on the stage: a series of different shaped stairs, positioned as if they were being examined from different points of view.
Each part, taken separately, is perfectly realistic and consistent, but considered as a whole, they seem impossible and even made up of contradictions. These stairs can be seen as the symbol of the link between various states of being.
Connected to this is the idea of up and down, of movement and the hierarchy between the different levels; space itself becomes a structure that is articulated by various planes, steps and the interplay of solid and void. This expressive space is a cohesive characteristic of the show – the space is moved and transformed by the live action of the performers on stage, who, therefore, become both actors and manipulators at the same time. The show also features moving screens, a tower structure, an iron dress, a flying Vespa, a large mechanical clock, a unicycle that pulls a sitting room along behind it, and a water fountain.

The choice of using video and projected images is connected to the search for balance between the various media.
Closely related to the dramaturgical structure, video is an essential part of the show, as is the music, actors and machinery / objects in movement.
These projections invade the different spaces. Thus, there are a variety of surfaces which can display images, creating solids and voids, which are then disassembled and recomposed, transformed and multiplied.
Words, lettering and video effects become the virtual background, which is constantly changing: these are no longer fixed images on static screens, but dynamic projections in movement.

Taking its cue from the vast repertoire of the most famous Italian “songs” from the 1940s, and from Ennio Morricone’s masterpieces, mixed with contemporary music and electronic sounds, the soundtrack completes the relationship between the different media, as do the mechanical objects and video projections.
The vintage flavour of the soundtrack is offset by songs composed especially for the show: a composition that becomes a true dramatic element.

la Repubblica – Italy
(“… the strange obsession of the Stepmother gazing at herself in her mirror […] a repertory of fairy tales narrated from a decidedly noir perspective.”) 

Corriere del Mezzogiorno – Italy
(“Prince Charming driving a flying Vespa…”) 

La Vanguardia – Spain
 (“… the fantastic “C’era una volta”, by ONDADURTO TEATRO, will surely end up with a major international tour. “C’era una volta” reinterprets the most famous fairy tales with a dash of satire. The spectacular, vibrant and colourful staging left the audience at Saint Eloi park amazed and excited.”)

El Periódico – Spain
(“The great multidisciplinary show by the Italian ONDADURTO TEATRO company, “C’era una volta”, was another gem. A magical, dreamlike journey with great visual impact that takes the audience by the hand to follow Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wicked Stepmother, ending with a reversal of roles  …”)

Gazeta – Poland
(“… one of these is ONDADURTO TEATRO from Italy. The show “C’era una volta” is a colorful and fascinating review, a multimedia spectacle, in which the technological effects enhance and intensify the experience of the spectator…”)

Online Review – Poland
(“One of the stunning performances at Festiwalu Teatrów Ulicznych is “C’era una volta”, a new production from the Italian group ONDADURTO TEATRO…”)

Online Review – Mexico
(“To laughter, applause and a festive atmosphere, the Italian ONDADURTO TEATRO company presented their show “C’era una volta” on the evening of Friday, April 17, near the Palace of Fine Arts.”)

AM – Mexico
(“The piece […] combines dance, physical theatre, live music and contemporary circus with pyrotechnics, machinery and multimedia that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey.”)

Online Review – Italy
(“It’s a production where all the elements of the scene are complementary: the outdoor stage captures the attention of the viewer who is no longer sitting on a seat in a theatre; music that fills the air, acting and makeup that transform the actors into fantasy characters and the stage machinery all combine in a mise-en-scene that adds a touch of playfulness to this Italian show.”)

Ruhr Nachrichten – Germany pl
(“The characters are quickly identified, they are the good and bad guys from the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen […] in this multimedia performance with video recordings and magical music…”)

Online Review – Republic of Ireland
(“This is much more than a show about princesses and heroes.”)

Do you want to see the other photos of the show? Go to our dedicated section, where you can get to know the actors, discover the scenes, and much more …

Do you want to see other videos of the show? Go to our dedicated section, where you can see excerpts from the show, and much more …

Get in touch
with us!

Are you interested in our shows and want to learn more? Write us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.