An evening with Marco Presta and Antonello Dose
Hosts of the popular radio show "Conigli Ruggenti" (Roaring Rabbits), Antonello Dose and Marco Presta partnered with comedy musicians Max Paiella and Attilio Di Giovanni in Mantua on Wednesday night inside the historic Palazzo Ducale. They entered the stage to roaring applause, which soon turned into roaring laughter as they entertained the audience with political satire, wordplay, literary humor, hilarious quotations, and downright silliness. Throughout the entire evening, the audience barely had time to catch their breath with all the laughter and applause.
Blurring the lines between reality and invention, Dose and Presta played with the relationship between well-known works of literature and daily life in 2018, through re-writings of classic works and audience participation. Walking among the numerous spectators, they asked questions such as, “What would the title of your autobiography be?” and “Is there an ending to a famous book that you would like to change?” They also shared a satirical version of Rudyard Kipling’s “If—”, as well as a list of invented “Top 20 Summer Books” such as How Green Was My Valley by the popular bank Unicredit.
Brilliantly written and performed musical interludes by Paiella and Di Giovanni perfected the event. With keyboard, guitar, and singing, they performed tracks such as “A Book Written by a Friend” which recounts the awkward terror of being socially obligated to read an inevitably insipid book. Paiella also appeared on Dose and Presta’s show as various “guests” such as Alessandro Manzoni, Bob Dylan, and figures from Dante’s Inferno.
The comedy group demonstrated an incredible knowledge of the city, peppering their performance with references to other authors of Festivaletteratura 2018, as well as to the history and culture of Mantua itself. If the lines outside of the Palazzo were not evidence enough of the popularity of Festivaletteratura 2018, then the ubiquitous praise of the “Conigli Ruggenti” confirms the strength of this year’s festival.