The word sortita designates a military excursion in which a besieged community sends out troops to attack its besiegers. Twenty years after the first Teatro Povero play, the village’s thoughts turned back to the historical siege by Spanish-Imperial troops in 1553; but this experience was now dramatized as part of a complex metaphor. With also an underlying theme of ‘transgression’.
One siege in 1553, then, by the troops of the Emperor Charles V. Another in which the community of Monticchiello feels that the outside world is threatening to ‘colonize’ it or take possession of it, precisely because it offers a theatre spectacle every year. (There had been an offer of sponsorization from a food manufacturing firm—which the Teatro Povero had turned down.)
The first act seemed like a digression, but wasn’t: a group of bandits in the late 19th century passes through a Tuscan farmhouse, and the son of the family tries to joing them (first transgression). In the second act, the siege of 1553 was evoked through costumes, scenery and epic language; but it was gradually transformed into a more modern siege, in which the Monticchiellesi felt threatened with bein turned by public perception into full-time theatre practitioners. Was it too late to go back to being just themselves? The show’s first night was scheduled, in any case, for 19 July.