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Matteo Spiazzi


Director Matteo Spiazzi

Bitter comedy
World premiere

Opening December 2023


Matteo Spiazzi (born in 1987) is an Italian director and theatre pedagogue. He graduated from the Nico Pepe Academy of Dramatic Arts in Udine with a degree in theatre directing, specialising in mask work. He has worked as a director, theatre pedagogue, lecturer, producer, and event organiser in Italy and internationally. He has held lectures and given practical seminars on theatrical masks at the University of Verona, the Central University of Quito in Ecuador, the Art Department of the University of Tartu in Estonia, the National Academy of Dramatic Arts of Belarus in Minsk, the University of Culture of Kiev, as well as at the Theatre Academy DAMU in Prague. Spiazzi is a recipient of many awards and prizes for his work as a director.
His bitter comedy Paradise, set in a nursing home of a small Slovenian town, portrays the life of its residents. It is based on documentary (memoir) material, which makes it authentic and unsentimental. It introduces the theme of ageing by means of interwoven themes of exclusion, isolation, loneliness, death, (un)fulfilment of life and physical and mental health. Paradise does not aspire to be (just) a documentary testimony, but a contemporary fairy tale celebrating life – with equal opportunities for all. It assembles stories like a mosaic, proceeding from memories that evoke regrets, fears, melancholy in the elderly, and elicit bitter laughter of recognition by the audience. The stories blend into a subtle eulogy of the moment when we glimpse the meaning in the daily drift of often underestimated values, since the play explores the value of life from the only relevant point of view – the end of the timeline, close to death. This point of view, using a delicate prism of bioethics, as it were, touches also upon the individuals’ right to end their suffering and pain. 
Paradise is mostly a non-verbal performance, based on a mask play in the manner of Spiazzi's specialisation – commedia dell’arte. The style of commedia dell’arte, employing full masks, is characterised by comic features, albeit spiked with a theme of bitter aftertaste. Spiazzi has already dealt with the theme of ageing: in Minsk, Belarus, he created Family Album, an original project, presenting three generations of a family stuck in a small flat of the elderly grandmother and mother. In Kiev, he paid several visits to a nursing home together with drama students, where they collected the residents’ reminiscences and created a performance called The Belvedere Boarding House. In Paradise, Spiazzi aims to explore the uninhibited draining away of time (life) taken-for-granted, as we spend it rather miserably in our service to the capital on a daily basis, and take notice of all that is worthwhile rather instantaneously, impatiently, distractedly. When was the last time, for example, that you sat down in a comfortable chair and gazed through the window without saying a word?

A modern fairy tale celebrating life – with equal opportunities for all.

Director Matteo Spiazzi
Dramaturg Tatjana Doma 
Set designer Primož Mihevc 
Costume designer Dajana Ljubičić 
Mask designer and maker Alessandra Faienza 
Sound designer Mitja Švener
Lighting designer Gregor Počivalšek

Žan Brelih Hatunić
David Čeh
Maša Grošelj
Lucija Harum
Aljoša Koltak
Rastko Krošl
Urban Kuntarič
Manca Ogorevc
Lučka Počkaj
Tanja Potočnik
Branko Završan

Opening night 1 December 2023
Performance duration: 1 hour 10 minutes. No interval.

We would like to thank the Dom ob Savinji Celje nursing home for their help.

Stage manager Anže Čater • Lighting master Gregor Počivalšek • Sound master Mitja Švener • Property masters Roman Grdina, Manja Vadla • Front-of-house Sven Bauman •  Make-up artist and hairdresser Andreja Veselak Pavlič •  Hairdresser Sibila Senica,  • Wardrobe masters Suzana Pučnik, Maja Zimšek •  Tailor Anita Kragelj • Seamstress Ivica Vodovnik • Head of construction Gregor Prah • Technical manager Aleksandra Štern • Assistant technical manager Rajnhold Jelen


  • Lučka Počkaj, Maša Grošelj, Rastko Krošl

  • Rastko Krošl, David Čeh, Lučka Počkaj, Branko Završan, Urban Kuntarič

  • Rastko Krošl, Lučka Počkaj, Branko Završan, Manca Ogorevc, Urban Kuntarič

  • Aljoša Koltak, Urban Kuntarič, Žan Brelih Hatunić, Lucija Harum

  • David Čeh, Aljoša Koltak, Žan Brelih Hatunić, Manca Ogorevc, Urban Kuntarič

  • Maša Grošelj, Manca Ogorevc, Žan Brelih Hatunić, Lučka Počkaj, Aljoša Koltak

  • M. Ogorevc, U. Kuntarič, L. Počkaj, Ž. Brelih Hatunić, M. Grošelj, L. Harum

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • David Čeh, Lučka Počkaj, Manca Ogorevc, Aljoša Koltak

  • David Čeh, Lučka Počkaj, Branko Završan, Žan Brelih Hatunić

  • Maša Grošelj, Urban Kuntarič, Manca Ogorevc, Lučka Počkaj, Branko Završan

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Manca Ogorevc, Maša Grošelj, Urban Kuntarič, Tanja Potočnik, Branko Završan

  • Foto Uroš Hočevar/SLG Celje

  • Žan Brelih Hatunić, Lucija Harum

  • Tanja Potočnik, Branko Završan, David Čeh, Lučka Počkaj