Fuoco! juxtaposes and interweaves two distinct pieces of literature. The first, Russian Overture by Heiner Müller, is set in 1941 during the Nazi occupation of Moscow and recounts in first person - as if it were a memory flashback - the story of a red Army commander who finds himself having to decide whether or not to shoot one of his soldiers who has deliberately shot himself in the hand in order to avoid having to go to war.
The second draws inspiration from the poetry of Mayakovsky and though beginning with elegies such as I Love from the autobiographical poem The Backbone Flute, in which the “poet of the revolution” tells of his tormented love for Lili Brik, Mazzarelli draws also on works that are lighter in tone, more playful and provocative such as The Cloud in Trousers as well as more socially committed poems such as Letter to Comrade Kostrov, his crude appeal against war.
As the action alternates between commander and soldier, from man to adolescent, literature’s most familiar and enduring archetypes come face to face: love versus war, life versus death. In Fuoco!, these universal literary texts, characters and archetypes find renewed expression in a theatrical tale performed by the solo artist Paolo Mazzarelli, who once again adopts the monologue format he successfully experimented with in his show Pasolini, Pasolini!
Fuoco! is brought to life in words and movement in two “scenic locations”, each simultaneously representing two distinct places within the soul: a blood stained memory bunker for the army commander and the text by Müller and a snow white crucifix like door for the condemned soldier and his ‘final hour’ as a lover, as a man.