by Davide Enia
Actor Robert Dölle has been awarded the AZ Star of the Year 2021.
Translated from the Italian by Susanne Van Volxem
The Italian writer Davide Enia is invited to a literary festival in Munich by his German colleague Albert Ostermaier – who suggests that he bring with him a text about the situation of the refugees in Southern Italy. For the Sicilian Enia, this is a pretext to travel to the island of Lampedusa, which he knows only as a holidaymaker. By October 2013 at the latest, when a shipwreck nearby caused hundreds of people to lose their lives, the island had become a shocking symbol of the European Union’s inability to prevent refugees dying in the Mediterranean Sea.
Davide Enia invites his father, a taciturn retired cardiologist, to accompany him. It is the first time that the two of them have gone on a journey together. They witness a «landing»: an experience that moves both of them deeply. For Davide Enia this will be followed by many more visits to Lampedusa, as the island and its inhabitants will not let him go. He listens to voluntary and professional aid workers, a rescue diver, a doctor and even a cemetery attendant. As he does so, the voice of his beloved Uncle Beppe, who is dying, gravely ill with cancer, continually accompanies him on the telephone.
«Before you go to sea, you leave your memories, your thoughts, everything that might weaken you, behind on land.»
Enia weaves together his incisive experiences on Lampedusa and the danger of losing his uncle into a poetic and humane reflection on the elementary issues of being human.
He initially described these in his documentary novel «Notes on a Shipwreck», which he later reworked into a monologue for the stage that he has successfully performed himself. In the German language premiere, Robert Dölle becomes the narrator of Enia’s story. The actor who won the AZ’s Star Award for the Zoom version of the production, can now be seen on the Residenztheater stage in the live version.
Davide Enia is a dramatist, actor and novelist. He was born in Palermo in 1974 and studied Literature after graduating from High School. His play «Italy – Brazil 3:2», in which he acted and directed himself had its world premiere at the Stadio San Siro-Giuseppe Meazza in Milan in 2002. In 2003 «maggio ’43» (English: «May ’43») appeared, which was awarded First Prize as Best Play at the Moldavian International Teatrul Unui Actor. He also won the Tondelli Prize for Playwriting at the Riccione competition in 2003 for his play «Scanna», which was then staged in his own production at the Venice Biennale in 2004. He wrote, directed and performed in «L’asso dell’aviazione» (English: «The Ace Aviator») for Italian television. This was first broadcast on 10.9.2004 and deals with events that took place in Palermo in April 1943.
Enia has won numerous awards for his work as a writer and performer, including the Hystrio Playwriting Prize and the Olimpico-ETI Prize as Best Young Italian Writer, both in 2005.
His first novel «So on Earth» published in 2012, was a finalist for the Premio Strega Prize and was translated into eighteen languages. I. 2013 he was Writer in Residence for the Netherlands Literature Foundation in Amsterdam and 2015 Writer in Residence at the Passa Porta in Brussels. In 2017 he directed «L'oca del Cairo», an unfinished opera by Mozart at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. In May 2017 he published his second novel, «Appunti per un naufragio» (English: «Notes on a Shipwreck»). Enia then toured Italy with the stage version of the novel «L'abisso» (English: «The Abyss»). The monologue won him the «UBU Prize» in 2019 for Best Script, the Maschere del Teatro Prize in 2019 as Best Actor in a Monologue and the Hystrio Twister Prize.