Theatre reading from the novel of the same name by Tahar Ben Jelloun
with Maria Paiato
dramatization and mise en espace by Stefano Massini
for Thesis/Dedicafestival


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Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Sand Child portrays an atmosphere disquietingly suspended between the dazzling brightness of a splendid past and the semi-darkness of a squalid present. Within the folds of this seeming contrast, there lies the dramatic potential of the biography and suffering of Ahmed,  a sacrificial creature immolated on the altar of an archaic society, the grammatical error of “male daughter” and “female son”, an unusual contradiction, a paradigm of incompleteness. Deprived of his very identity, which is denied even in the face of the incontrovertible evidence of his body condemned to a wretched life of ludicrous disguises; the protagonist is essentially the most penetrating symbol of the bloody transition that, in many Arab countries, has thus far failed to produce an heir who can be considered as belonging to the present day. Ben Jelloun’s work is thus a colourful kaleidoscope of a Morocco that is eternal, a cradle of learning, but placed in counterpoint with the depths of a commercial 20th century in which the trap of modernity results in lacerating crises not merely of positioning, but even to one’s very identity, dragging the obsessive search for an existential awareness into a tragic vortex.

Stefano Massini


Maria Paiato
is considered to be one of the most refined figures in the Italian theatre. After graduating in 1984 at the Silvio d’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art, she later worked with directors including Luca Ronconi, Mauro Bolognini, Giancarlo Sepe, Maurizio Scaparro, Antonio Calenda, Nanni Loy and Valerio Binasco. Paiato has won numerous awards, including the Flaiano Prize, the Olimpici del Teatro Prize, the Maschera d’oro, the Ubu Prize and the Eleonora Duse Prize.  She is appearing as Seneca’s Medea, directed by Pierpaolo Sepe, and as Celestina in the play of the same name by Fernando de Rojas, again directed by Luca Ronconi.


Maria Paiato >>


Stefano Massini
35, is one of Italy’s most influential new writers. His first experience in the theatre was as an assistant to Luca Ronconi at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan.  With his L’odore assordante del bianco (2005) he won the Pier Vittorio Tondelli Prize, Italy’s highest award for theatrical writing. Then, both in Italy and the rest of Europe, several of his scripts were produced, including Processo a Dio and Donna non rieducabile, which Ottavia Piccolo performed with great success. In 2013 he received the Ubu Prize for his work as a dramatist. His works are currently being prepared for publication by Einaudi.


Stefano Massini >>

Monday 17 March, 20:45

San Francesco former Convent

Pordenone - Via della Motta, 13

Admission € 8,00 (numbered seats)