The stimulus for the 2009 autodramma—perhaps the most ‘political’ one so far produced here—was the financial/economic crisis which had been precipitated in the previous year. Through satirical mockery, the play accused the current government on the one hand of pretending that there was no crisis, and on the other hand of inventing fictional panacea solutions, delivered especially through a manipulated TV service. There were also brief allusions to possible crises within the Teatro Povero itself: could story-telling on stage really be a sufficient response to urgent contemporary problems? And indeed were the company’s energies beginning to decline, along with the energy needed to survive during the crisis?
In a fantasy version of a modern, economically deprived Monticchiello, the people were faced with a compulsory scheme obliging them to purchase an ‘Economy Stove’, fuelled by nuclear pellets, which would allegedly rescue the economy and even save the world. Their confusion and resentment were opposed by anonymous radio messages, and also by the visit of some threatening, but increasingly monstrous and farcical, Information Officers. In a mood of protest, the villagers heatedly debated the current situation, and assessed how far their memories could give them comfort.
The autodramma culminated in a kind of fable, presented as a cartoon play within the play, narrating the fantasies and power games of an all-powerful ruler. The Information Officers tried to impose order on his behalf; but in the end they were met with a loud collective ‘NO!’.