In Sicily in the mid-nineteenth century the Teatro dei Pupi explodes with something prodigious, with its particular characteristics that make it unique and unmistakable. This type of theater is one of the heirs of the oral story that starts from the Bible and Homer, to cross the centuries, especially the medieval ones, where it flourishes with the jester's theater.
The protagonists are the Puppets, who have no strings like puppets: the puppeteers move them with rods, to the rhythm of shields and swords, against the backdrop of naive and colorful scenarios. The Opera dei Pupi, as it is then called, tells us the deeds of Charlemagne and his Paladins of France, first of all Orlando, drawing inspiration from the Carolingian cycle and Ariosto's poems. < / span>
But it is legitimate to ask: what are the Paladinids of France doing in Sicily and why were their stories so loved and represented? It is believed that the Carolingian epic arrived in Sicily with the Normans, in the century. XII. At the beginning it was above all the storytellers who handed down the memory of a chivalrous epic in which people fought for high ideals, such as religious faith, homeland, honor. In starting from the 19th century the folk tale used the puppet, , however, covering it with shapes that drew on sixteenth-century iconography. The heroes represented, the Paladins in fact, exalted the moral values of which they were champions and for which they were willing to fight and die. These themes had a great success in the nineteenth century, thanks to the romantic-Risorgimento culture, and made the characters of the Paladins lived by the people between myth and true history. Among other things, their battles staged the confrontation between European and Islamic civilization, of which Sicily was the scene for long historical periods.
For centuries the Sicilian puppets, skilfully animated by generations of puppeteers, have been the only source of education and one of the few opportunities for recreation and entertainment for the humbler classes, for the poorly educated or illiterate people , although later they were also appreciated by the bourgeoisie. < span> puppeteers tell their stories improvising and acting. They tell how it was told once, when the narrator spoke in a circle of wide eyes and he too believed in his fable. The puppeteers tell stories of rebels. They tell the fable of those who are they fight against an overbearing and incomprehensible power and somehow manage to win. A fable. A Sicilian fable.