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Tableaux Vivants

It all started in 2006, when the Malatheatre company’s founder Ludovica Rambelli — passed away in April 2017 — gave a lecture at the University of Naples, on Caravaggio’s way of working. That’s when Ludovica realised that the best way to explain it was through a theatrical performance. “He used actors to build the scenes he painted, in fact we did not reproduce his work, but recreated what happened in his studio,” said current company director, Dora De Maio, referring to what for a few years has become a real play entitled La conversione di un cavallo. 23 Tableaux Vivants dalle opere di Caravaggio, or simply, Tableaux Vivants.

Inspired, among others, by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s short film La Ricotta, the intention of this show is to achieve “a great visual impact” with a minimalist scenography, baroque melodies — by composers such as Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi — and a focus located on one side, which emulates the suggestive light effect of the Italian master’s paintings. The show is told by David Capone through a short documentary.

Tableaux Vivants at Museo Diocesano Napoli – Photo: Sonia Ritondale

The company offers new performances once a month at the Museo Diocesano in Naples. Today, thanks to its success on the Internet, the theater group is close to fulfilling its founder’s dream of acting outside of Italy. “We have never been able to do it for budgetary reasons, but in recent weeks we have been called from Spain, France, Israel and a theater festival in Portugal. Going abroad would be a great tribute to Ludovica,” said Dora.

They also were in Milan, Galleria del Corso, for a show on the works of the master Perugino.

Tableaux Vivants from Perugino (Milan, 2018)
Tableaux Vivants at Museo Diocesano (Naples, Italy)
Adorazione dei Pastori – Photo: Gennaro Parricelli
Martirio di Matteo – Photo: Gennaro Parricelli
The Raising of Lazarus – Caravaggio
Flagellation of Christ – Caravaggio


2 thoughts on “Tableaux Vivants Leave a comment

  1. May I suggest you contact David Hockney and introduce your work to him? He has done a lot of work on Caravaggio and the use of the camera obscura to achieve the effects which you are achieving so brillitantly. Best wishes. Dr Alan Halliday. France. PS David Hockney lives in Normandy and is exhibiting at the Lelong Gallery in Paris in the New Year, if that helps you to establish contact with him.


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