The actor Rafa Blanca premieres this afternoon at the Market Theater ‘Malabrocca’, the staging of the deed and ingenuity of this Italian cyclist who became famous for always finishing last in the Tour of Italy to benefit from the peculiar advantages that this position brought in a post-war era (1946, with Europe in the process of reconstruction) in which the picaresque was an almost essential resource to get ahead. This work is also an entire acting feat of Rafa Blanca, who plays Malabrocca but also thirty more characters in an agile, fun monologue full of interesting stages that reveal many keys to the time, cycling and the human condition itself.
‘Malabrocca’ is an exciting story that is based on the novel ‘Maglia Nera’ by Mateo Caccia. This vibrant adaptation is produced by the Aragonese company El Gato Negro. It will be on the bill until next Sunday, October 31 (performances on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m.).
Malabrocca, is a theatrical character par excellence; the eternal loser who must be a loser to survive and is forced to fight to be the best loser. The contradiction squared. It could be the plot of a Berlanga comedy, where hunger, the picaresque and, in the background, a devastated post-war society, create a great breeding ground for humor. Yes, humor. That it is not correct or complacent, because it is not rational. The satire, the laughter of the evil of the other, the humorous distance before the tragedy of life needs other people’s misfortune.
But humor lives not only out of misfortune, but also out of wit, contradiction, and madness. It needs an illogical logic that short-circuits us and makes the spark of laughter jump. All that is Malabrocca; much more than a character, it is all a character, it is a people -the Italian-, it is irreverence, provocation… Malabrocca is class struggle and comradeship; It is the noble art of sport and the culture of effort to turn the established thing around; arrive last and brag about it: The Maglia Nera is the personality of the loser.
We are at the Giro d’Italia in 1946; the so-called Twist of the Renaissance. Italy, like the whole of Europe, was devastated by war; there were hardly any buildings left standing, streets and roads destroyed, without fuel or cars to circulate. Then a vehicle with great force resurfaces, a vehicle that will help to move people, workers, the town: the bicycle.
Malabrocca, will be one of the protagonists of this Giro del 46, along with the monumental Gino Bartali, and the champion Fausto Coppi. He will not be on the podium, not even among the top ten classified, nor among the twenty … The last one arrived. If the leader of the Giro d’Italia always wears the Pink sweater, the last classified wears the infamous Maglia Nera. Malabrocca was a bicycle gladiator, he was the last to reach the finish line, and he will be the popular hero, because the people are reflected in those who fight and fight tirelessly to the end, like them.
Malabrocca is a show that thrills; makes us become fond of this peculiar character who arrived last in his first Giro d’Italia, and who knew how to make this situation the key to his success. A journey through the Italy of the 40s and 50s, its towns, its people … Of that Italy in need, trying to rebuild its country; of its cyclists and athletes. From Gino Bartali, remembered not only for his sporting feats, but also for his efforts to save hundreds of Jews clandestinely, to the Garlasco bar, where friends of Luigi Malabrocca will listen to the exploits of Chino in the RAI broadcasts From the glamor of Fausto Coppi, to the inn of Ninfa, the woman who impatiently awaits the arrival of the sporting successes of her cyclist husband. From the Yugoslavia of Marshal Tito, to the most bohemian inns of postwar Paris.
Curled up in a well, with the bicycle covered in a thicket or hidden in a barn; hidden among the trees of a forest, chatting in a roadside bar over wine, fishing for trout or crossing the finish line on the bike as a child. There was a time when defeat was an art. The 75th anniversary of the establishment in the Giro d’Italia of Magia Nera, which distinguished the last classified. That year’s Giro established a prize to console the underprivileged and that continued until 1951. It was a symbolic prize for the runner who finished the race last. The legendary Maglia Nera represented the strength of will and determination, who participated and finished the great and tough Italian cycling race in the last position.