Mauro arrives in Verscio with the intention of this being his last trip in the Centovalli. His destination is Camedo. He only has one thing in his head: selling his grandmother’s house and buying a lovely apartment by the sea. But Mauro – who really is one of us – has made his plans without taking the valley into account. He climbs aboard a train without a timetable – because here in this mystical part of the world time runs according to the valley, not the other way around – thinking about getting one step closer to his bright future, sprawled out on a beautiful beach, without knowing that in order to move forward, he will have to deal with what he’s left behind.
Let’s climb aboard. We’re hardly going to let Mauro make his journey all alone in the company of a series of rather dubious – albeit hilarious – characters who seem to pull the strings of history at will, are we? Settling into the carriages of the Centovallina, every metre of track suddenly becomes magical, all heading uphill, just a hairsbreadth from the cliff edge. And in Intragna, next to the soaring silhouette of Ticino’s tallest bell tower, the past in flesh and blood is waiting for Mauro. But in order to grasp it, he has to get back on the train, because life and his journey continue on, tirelessly.
When evening begins to fall, between the pitch-black darkness of a tunnel dug into the rock and the incredible glimpses of landscape that reveal the valley in its entirety, there are places where legends and dreams begin to take shape. That smell of sulphur in the air can’t mean anything good, can it? But is it the monsters in the valley that are the problem or the ones we bring with us? This is not just a train journey. It’s a journey into the legends of this land and the memories of a man who has yet to settle his accounts with the past. Mauro is assailed by doubts because, when it comes down to it, this place was once his home and these monsters are made of memories. How will he defeat them?
After so many adventures, it is now the middle of the night. The sky is quilted by bright stars. Up here in Camedo, there are no city lights to obscure those of the universe. Here’s his grandmother’s house. The table is set for a party. And the party is about to start: it’s the grand finale! Well, if you want to be picky, there are two finales, but don’t tell the author. Polenta and local cheeses accompanied by an excellent Merlot from Ticino are the crowning moment of this adventure that has given us a glimpse of the secrets of the valley. Ah, I guess you want to know whether Mauro sold or not? Well, you’ll find out if you get on the train, after all, it’s not the destination that counts. It’s all about the journey. A journey that climbs up through one hundred valleys of pure poetry.
Keen to experience the charm and fascination of the Centovalli for yourself? Climb aboard and let the legends of this corner of Ticino come to life before your eyes. The show, produced by Masha Dimitri, is a joint project between the Lucerne Theatre Workshop, the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway and the Teatro Dimitri in Verscio. Its large cast delivers a bilingual Italian-German performance that is undoubtedly part of this show’s appeal. After the dinner, at around 11 pm, the train leaves for Verscio and will stop on request up to Locarno. Visit werkstatt-theater.ch or teatrodimitri.ch for dates and ticket information.
Copyright photos: Ti-Press - Pablo Gianinazzi