production Tib Teatro
author Daniela Nicosia
director Daniela Nicosia
cast Marco Continanza e Massimiliano Di Corato
scenes Bruno Soriato
light and sound design Paolo Pellicciari
Video images Mirto Baliani
Scene photos Alberto Bogo
Education may simply means get used to observe, think, discuss, listen and understand […]. Put simply, get into the habit of thinking. -Alberto Manzi
The teacher is a fundamental figure of a democratic society: Alberto Manzi’s experience attests how literacy is both emancipation and also expression of an inclusive future which makes use of the talents of its citizens respecting their rights and duties. The show traces the biography of Alberto Manzi from the first post-war period, in the Aristide Gabelli juvenile prison in Rome, to the 70s in South America with the Indios, passing from teaching for adults on TV with the famous broadcast “It is never too late”. All these experiences were moved by the belief that literacy is helpful to escape from the prison of ignorance that generates violence, authoritarian models and social marginalization.
Educating to the pleasure of thought, this in synthesis Manzi’s pedagogy. For all his life he considered his role as a mediator of knowledge transmitted through questioning about things, expressing opinions, ideas and knowledge without fear. From this perspective he deduced meanings and teachings, according to a rigorously scientific method in the approach, but extremely creative in the ways. “Can’t you write? Come here, let’s do it together, you’ll see it’s easy.” A polite and kind invitation that applies to children, Indians, immigrants and adult illiterates, because it’s never easy however it’s never too late to learn to read and write life.
Alberto Manzi is considered the inventor, in the 1960s, of distance learning. At that time, distance teaching responded to a social emergency: illiteracy. Today, instead, it responds to another social emergency: the pandemic. The difference is in the ways: he did distance teaching while keeping the cognitive tension very high even if beyond the screen. Thus, two million illiterate adults graduated in primary school.
An emotional reason binds me to Alberto Manzi: I was just a few years old when with my grandfather - called Mimì, like an opera heroine - I watched, enchanted, that sweet teacher teaching on black and white TV. He taught by drawing and asked us to guess what that sign made with black charcoal was. He taught with his eyes, he taught with a smile, he taught in a way that in schools weren’t able to do … My grandfather Mimì resembled that teacher not in the physical features but in his mildness, in the irony always underlined by a slight smile. From him I learned to love stories and perhaps to tell them, from Alberto Manzi I learned to write my life. Always with a smile, always with the desire to learn ...