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Artists lockdown at Italian theatre to create a play about confinement

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Artists have confined themselves in Naples' Bellini Theatre to protest the ban on live performances in Italy and work on a play depicting the lockdown.

Six artists, as well as four actors and two playwrights, are currently inhabiting the theatre and working on a play about the lockdown experience, called "Red Zone" — the name given in Italy to high-risk areas for COVID-19.

"We are shut in a theatre, but people have been shut in their homes for a year," director and playwright Licia Lanera told Euronews. "I think what drives us will be mirrored in the audience when they come to see the show.”

It is also meant as a protest against what they decry as political apathy towards the role theatre plays in modern society.

"The idea was born from talking about what theatres should do politically," Daniele Russo, artistic director of Bellini Theatre, told Euronews

Davide Sacco, co-author of the "Red Zone" project, concurred: "The audience, when the curtain rises for the first time, again, must see that some people did actually resist, despite everything, in the same way as all other types of resistance in Italy."

"That is why it will be a work of art," he added.

The play is to be performed only once, on the day theatres are allowed to welcome an audience again.

Theatres were first shut across Italy in spring 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, and reopened in June. But a second wave of infections prompted the authorities to once more order the closure of cultural venues in November.

Italy is continental Europe's most severely-impacted country with more than 80,000 COVID-19 fatalities and over 2.3 million confirmed cases.

Watch the full report in the video player, above.