Amen

«I have wanted to write about theatre since I was twenty. I was a real theatre lover. I ate bread and theatre. I didn’t have much money, and the little I had I spent on theatre tickets. Then, as often happens in life, events somehow took me in a different direction: there was philosophy, and there was psychoanalysis, which absorbed me completely. In recent years, however, I have been jotting down notes with the idea of returning to the theatre. I started watching theatre again, I started reading about theatre. And during the first lockdown I started to gather these notes and to write a text; I did what, in a small way, Noah does in the Bible after the flood. While I was writing this text there was death all around: the sounds of bells, of ambulances, of a Milan that was deserted, of our old people dying. And so I wrote this text. As the great painter Rothko would say, when you create art either you talk about life or death, or it is best not to make art at all. I followed this instruction. At the heart of this text is the relationship between life and death, and many questions. Questions about what comes after life, whether there will be “an afterlife”, and what we will be after life: that is, the question of the resurrection, of life after death. Certainly there is this big theme, but above all there is the theme of how life can resist the temptation of death: how we can continue to be alive despite being destined for death, and despite being surrounded by death. Amen therefore expresses the possibility that life can exist even in the face of death, that death cannot have the last say. Amen means ‘so be it’, ‘let it be so’, that life may be alive, that death may not have the last say. […] My personal history partly explains the origins of this text, and I have repeatedly returned to it during my life as an intellectual. I was born destined for death. As a child, the doctors believed I had no chance of survival. The doctor, as my mother told me, called the priest as an alternative to science. I was a child who, when baptised, received his last rites. Baptism, the Extreme Unction, is the rhythm of our existence, the start and the end. This is what Amen is about.»
Massimo Recalcati