Leone d’argento della Biennale Teatro 2021 a Kate/Kae Tempest-Performer. THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSE…Profetico

leone-oroteatro 21

Kae Tempest è “la voce poetica più potente e innovativa emersa nella Spoken Word Poetry degli ultimi anni – recita la motivazione – capace di scalare le classifiche editoriali inglesi e raccogliere consensi al di fuori dei confini nazionali per il coraggio ardimentoso nel dissezionare e raccontare con sguardo lucido angosce, solitudine, paure e precarietà di vivere, i più invisibili eppure concreti compagni di vita della nostra epoca – tra identità, ipocrisie e marginalità vissute anche sulla sua pelle – scaraventandosi contro l’odierna morale imperante e opprimente.

Kae Tempest, con una candidatura ai Brit Awards 2018 e riconoscimenti intitolati a Ted Hughes e T. S. Eliot, è ora attribuito il Leone d’Argento per il Teatro 2021 – scrivono ricci/forte – “per l’audacia luminosa nel posizionare deflagranti inneschi riflessivi e per voler ancora sperimentare in un genere definito di nicchia, come la poesia, mescolando l’aulico con il basso, la rabbia con la dolcezza degli affetti – tra versi e rime taglienti di shakespeariana memoria e dal forte contenuto sociale, miti classici e ibridazioni hip hop – arrivando a parlare col cuore a un pubblico sempre più vasto, entrandoti fin dentro le ossa, costringendoti a specchiarti nella tua dolorosa intimità”.

The Book of Traps & Lessons è l’ultimo dei leggendari reading di Kae Tempest che verrà presentato in prima per l’Italia al 49. Festival Internazionale del Teatroread more


Dal suo sito leggo un’annuncio bizzarro, ma in linea con la sua personalità complessa e poliedrica…Kate è diventata  Kae…

” I’m changing my name!  And I’m changing my pronouns.  From Kate to Kae and from she/her to  they/them…read more”


I mattoni di una casa speciale

Ho voluto iniziare dal suo primo romanzo, The Bricks that Built the Houses, pubblicato nel 2016. Lo scrive da giovane donna  (nata nel 1985),  virtuosa delle parole, con il ritmo dominante sulla punta della sua penna (o sui  tasti del PC). Tempest è una musicista della narrazione,  una personalità contemporanea ricca di contraddizioni e creatività. Non a caso cita nel romanzo un maestro delle contraddizioni, Walt Whitmann.

Mi ha fatto pensare alle storie Londinesi di  Zadie Smith (White Teeth,  Swing Time  e North-West e di Monica Ali (Brick Lane, In the Kitchen). Tutte rappresentano  una generazione di scrittrici che dipingono una Londra fuori dal cliché  spesso vagheggiato dagli stranieri, specialmente giovani e studenti.

La storia, le storie

The Bricks That Built the Houses tells the story of Becky, a waitress-cum-dancer-cum-masseuse, her boyfriend, Pete, a gangly dreamer, and Pete’s sister, Harry, a drug dealer – a “boyish woman who swaggers when she walks”. We first meet Becky and Harry in a speeding car driven by Leon, Harry’s sidekick, on the getaway from a heist. The novel then steps backwards in time, Pulp Fiction-style, to show the trio moving through a London whose cocaine shimmer barely covers its grottiness and venality. The portraits of London are excellent – Tempest is a native and her carefully wrought metaphors work best when they are illuminating cityscapes, giving the reader fresh and vivid visions of a familiar world… continua a leggere su The Guardian

La storia  è in fondo già sentita. Contiene citazioni evidenti. La fuga Europea di Becky e Harry mi ha ricordato Thelma e Louise; la scena di violenza al pub-con-squalo- ha un sapore quasi Tarantiniano; la fila al Job Centre di Pete  riporta a Ken Loach. Ma tutto è funzionale a creare l’atmosfera di rifiuto e attrazione per il mondo complicato delle periferie Londinesi. Nostalgiche le digressioni sul cambiamento di queste zone da aree depresse a quartieri trendy.

La struttura della storia appare volutamente “destrutturata”, quasi una jam session pervasa dal ritmo dell’improvvisazione. È un insieme di ritratti dei protagonisti e delle loro famiglie. Sembra  quasi che il filo conduttore sia la ricostruzione dei loro “alberi genealogici”, in una Londra autentica e ricca di sfaccettature.


Sostanzialmente sono due gli aspetti di questo romanzo che mi hanno colpito:

le atmosfere e i riferimenti alla Greater London che ho imparato a conoscere attraverso le esperienze di vita di mia figlia e della sua famiglia, e a riconoscere, quasi negli odori, tra le parole di Kate Tempest;

i molti passaggi in cui le parole diventano “lyrics” di un rap metropolitano che conferisce alla narrazione un sapore e un ritmo poetico suggestivi. È proprio questo ultimo aspetto della creatività di Kate Tempest che voglio scoprire nelle prossime letture. E sono sicura che avrò molti compagni di viaggio!

Tempest-Bricks purple


Prove di creazione artistica-Paula  fotografa o madre?– “would pick up her camera occasionally, turn it over in her hands, change the shutter speed, raise it to her eye and look through it, but each time, before she could decide on a shot, the baby would be hungry, or need her attention, and the camera would feel like an indulgence. The notion of ‘making it’ seemed so trivial. What was important was Becky being occupied, happy, warm…”they belonged to John’s job”

Conosco bene la zona– “Paula and Becky moved in with Paula’s eldest brother Ron and his wife Linda, and their son Ted, who was only a year or so younger than Becky. Ron and Linda lived in a three-bed maisonette in a quiet cul-de-sac away from the bustle of Lewisham Way, up towards Charlton. The house looked out on to a sloping communal green and if you stood on your tiptoes at the top of the hill you could see the river churning its way to Greenwich.”

Becky e il sogno della danza– “She watched Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker on video every night. She learned the steps for every song. Michael and the community-centre dance classes remained her biggest influence well into adulthood. As she grew older and became interested in contemporary dance, she came at it from this perspective, and it grounded her movements, kept everything deep and strong and low; nothing too upright or rigid.”

Job Centre da incubo-“Pete stares at the ceiling. His stomach whines and squelches strangely. He tries to ignore the self-important man with the Jobcentre Plus name badge who’s making peace with the fact he never had any friends at school by asserting his authority over anyone he possibly can. Reeling off platitudes and identikit slogans as if they were actually his thoughts. Memorised coping devices for difficult customers.”

Pete e  Facebook “He stretches his legs out underneath the table and checks Facebook on

his phone. It tells him things he doesn’t need to know about people he hasn’t seen in years. He absorbs their aggressively worded opinions and quasi-political hate-speak. He sees a photograph of his ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend smiling at a picnic and he realises, with a strange cascade of emptiness, that she is pregnant and wearing an engagement ring. The comments are jubilant. He reads every word before he forces himself to put his phone down.”

Dale on dole– “it’s a fucking trap is what it is. Get on the dole to keep you going, but then you can’t afford to get off it. You take a job, part-time or whatever – you’re worse off than you are getting your JSA.’… (analisi del sussidio) – “‘They just want to keep everybody down.’ Dale knocks his whisky back, maintaining eye contact. He doesn’t flinch as he swallows it. Slams the glass down. ‘That’s the thing. Better for the government, innit, if we’re all skint and miserable and feeling like we can’t even get a day’s work. If we can’t feel good about the work of our own fucking hands, how we gonna rise up, make trouble?’”

Poesia-Musica di parole– “Dance teachers pinched her arms, and she would squeeze handfuls of herself, standing shell-shocked in the shower, staring at the bits she hated. This body. It was all she had.”… “The sun rises and nothing is left of the night.”…”As autumn reared its golden mane”

The village rap– “the dirt and grit of squat brick buildings, broken window frames, road-blackened house fronts. Snarling children. Smiling dogs. He goes slowly past the chip shop, the newsagent’s, the off-licence, some girls on their bikes shouting at each other, the chicken shop, the barber’s, three men in prayer robes leaning against the bicycle racks outside the Co-op, the jerk shop, the Good News Bakery, the funeral parlour, the block of flats, a man moving a fridge on two skateboards, the garage with the arsehole woman who works at the counter, the carwash, the kebab shop, the houses with their whitewashed walls and gravel drives, the pub, the other pub. The nice Caribbean restaurant. Pete ducks through the iron gate and cuts across the cemetery, overgrown and rich with green. Trees everywhere. He stares up into them; they sway in sunlight, the crumbling stones, the angels and monuments, the crunch of the path under his quick feet. The smell in the air of spring.”

Diventare Giuseppe, storia di un’identità di sopravvivenza– “Joseph. His hair was black as onyx and his smile wrapped itself around anyone who saw it. His constant laugh sounded like he’d swallowed a siren, and he was never still, he moved like a bouncing ball, no matter what he was doing. Everyone called him Giuseppe because he was in love with an Italian girl and was prone to outbursts of song in struggling Italian late at night when he was drunk and out of his mind with missing her.”

Ragazze – “The city yawns and cracks the bones in her knuckles. Sends a few lost souls spiralling out of control; a girl is digging through a skip with cold hands, looking for copper piping, another girl is at home reading. Another girl is sleeping deeply. Another girl is laughing in her friend’s flat, getting her hair done, another girl is in love with her girlfriend and lying beside her and feeling her breathing. Another girl is walking her dog round the park, tipping her head back to listen to the wind as it shouts in the trees.”

I libri di Miriam – “‘Well, how about this one then, eh? I’ve heard of this one.’ Pete can hear her picking up books and putting them down. ‘Oh yes, I think I’ve heard of that one too.’ ‘Wuthering Heights,’ says the woman. ‘The Concise Book of Eastern European Fertility Myths,’ says Grandad.”

La cura di un amore“‘Let this be a lesson to you, OK, son? You got to work hard at it mate, OK? You got to treat them good when you got them. Coz when they leave, it’s too late.’”

L’avvocato, papà di Pete e Harris -“Graham Chapel had been a solicitor all his life. He believed in the innate goodness of people… He had no weekends, took no holidays, sat coffee-high in police interview rooms in the middle of the night. He took on legal aid cases for people being tyrannised by landlords, bosses or local councils. He couldn’t help but take the cases personally. Every failing was his failing and the thrumming”

Il libro John Drake, padre di Becky, -“How We Can Take Power Without Power Taking Us. And across the top, as if it’s no big deal: John Darke. She doesn’t”… “‘Where did you get it?’ ‘Online.’ ‘What, did you just search for it?’ Her voice is trembling slightly. ‘No, it’s . . . I subscribe to this website thing, it’s, like, banned books, censored authors, you know. Shit like that. I get, erm, updates when things are found in print and stuff.’ He watches her. She sits and thinks for a while, staring into the middle distance. He waits, drinks his gin. ‘Why do you ask?’”

John Drake: una leggenda in frantumi– “He went to the people, with no cameras, and no story to sell. He put himself in front of single mothers, office workers, immigrants and prisoners and talked and listened, and it gave them hope.”

‘He’s a legend. Quite the man.’ ‘Why? What did he do?’ ‘Ah, well, now you’re asking! He was a politician? I think, yep, and a writer. Teacher, too. He was, erm, a brilliant mind. Definitely. I mean, the book, it’s amazing so far, he had this idea, about how to make democracy accountable, how to reinstall democracy in the West, take power back from corporations and empower people again, but . . . what happened to him? Something awful. Stitch-up. Framed for something. Murder? Something horrible. Rape? Reputation in tatters, whole nine yards. Locked him up for a long time, but his legacy lives on. His ideas, I mean. Think he’s still inside somewhere.’”

Nelle mani di un chip – “These chips, the story went, would be justified in the name of public security and convenience. A cashless economy. One chip and no more banknotes. You couldn’t be robbed. It would be your ID, your credit card. It would be your new smartphone. Your travel card. What did you have to hide? It would be your passport. Without one you wouldn’t be able to move between borders, buy food or pay your water bill. You wouldn’t be able to survive. They’d do it slowly, so we thought it was our choice. We wouldn’t see that it was forced on us, we’d see it as convenient, it would be the new must-have accessory. The solution to our fabricated fears. Why wouldn’t you want one?”

Donne e ballerine-“‘To be a woman, you must struggle, like the ballerina struggles. You have to work hard. It is painful work. And when you do it right, it will look effortless. But where we’re different from the dancers, my sweet, is that we will never be applauded for getting it right.’”

Giochi sulla spiaggia-“Leon finds a triangular stone and uses the point to dig down through the pebbles into the sand, hacking at the space beside his feet. They listen to the puck and glint of stone on stone.”

Il conforto della solitudine– “The loneliness that’s always known her is curled around her ankles, getting comfy.”

Becky e Harry in fuga per l’Europa– “They crossed the Alps. Harry couldn’t help herself, she burst into tears the first time she saw those mountains rising up into the sky and plunging down at the same time, reflected for ever in the perfect mirror of those”…”They were in an internet café in Montepulciano

Londra è cambiata -“Her London has changed. Becky looks around for all the things that she has missed so much, but nothing is the same. The snooker hall has gone; its foundations are wrapped in construction hoardings and it stands four storeys taller than it used to, rapidly becoming another block of luxury apartments.”



Kate to London: “Want to acknowledge south-east London; even though you’re changing, you’re still my engine and my anchor.”

Cosa dicono del libro

“lustrous pageant that dazzles and grips … An irresistible, immersive snapshot of a changing world, delivered in woozy, staccato sentences … There’s great pleasure to be taken from Tempest’s debut’ ” Sunday Telegraph

“A cutting novel based on her brilliant debut album … Turns ferocious rhymes into blistering prose … It stings with the same on-point cultural commentary Irvine Welsh carved into Trainspotting **

“Tempest was born to work with words … Unique and vivid, both playful and arresting … The prose sings … Tempest’s gift for language does frequently turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, her depth of feeling for city life, for her friends and neighbours, pouring into her prose and creating magic’ ‘A novel of discontentment, rage and good” New York Journal of Books