Spettacolo: The Story of a Small-Town Theater Skip to content

Spettacolo: The Story of a Small-Town Theater


On Sunday afternoon, a small audience in the Loft theater was treated to Spettacolo, which chronicles a year in the life of Monticchiello, a small town in Tuscany, Italy.

The documentary focuses on the town’s incredible 50-year-old tradition of story-telling, in which the community comes together to collaborate on a yearly “autodrama,” and puts on a live theatrical performance to acknowledge and commemorate the real drama of everyday life in Monticchiello.

Townspeople take on the role of themselves in the yearly summer production, which, over the decades, has documented current events including civil wars, economic depressions, and the commercialization of Tuscany.

Following the year-long development of the play, from initial brainstorming sessions to opening night, Spettacolo tells not only the story of a small-town theater, but of the town itself and the people who call it home. Monticchiello’s aging population look back on the beginning of the “Poor Theater,” as they call it, a tradition that some of them pioneered in their early 20s and 30s. Fifty years later, this generation searches for young members of their community who are willing to take up the reigns, and reflect on the changes they have seen in their home.

Some wonder what the future of Monticchiello and the yearly play will be, others wonder if there really is a future at all. As promised, this question lies not only at the center of the community, but at the center of the play, as the actors and actresses of the Poor Theater script a drama about the end of the world as they know it.

By Abigael Sleeper


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