Written and performed by Tindaro Granata, Vorrei una voce [If I only had a voice] is a show built around the songs of Mina sung in playback and was born from the theatrical project of this Sicilian author and actor in the high security female section of Messina Prison, within the framework of the Il Teatro per Sognare [Theatre to Dream] project. In fact, the dream is the fulcrum of Granata's dramaturgy: to stop dreaming means letting a part of oneself die. Vorrei una voce is dedicated to all those who have not lost the desire to dream.
“I was a young man, I was working, I had a house, a car and above all people who loved me, but I had stopped feeling joy in what I was doing. I no longer believed in myself or in anything. I don't know how that happened. One day I woke up and I no longer felt happy, neither doing my job nor planning anything else.
I received a proposal to do a theatre project with the inmates of Messina Prison and, after meeting them, I understood that they were like me, or maybe I was like them: we no longer dreamed.
Looking at them I felt imprisoned by myself, made ugly by myself, and impoverished by myself. I had unknowingly dissipated that precious asset which every human being should possess: freedom.
Not knowing what new to write, I proposed to the artistic director of the project to do with the inmates what I did as a boy when I listened to Mina's songs: I interpreted my own fantasy stories through her voice. With the inmates, we staged Mina's last live concert, held at the Bussola disco on 23 August 1978. The idea was to enter into one's own memories, one's own space, where anything would be possible. Taking as our starting point, however, something very profound, recovering their nullified femininity, the freedom of expression of their soul and body, in a place that, inevitably, tends to negate all this every day.
Each of them was assigned two songs by Mina and, through the playback, she had to convey the strength and power of her story in order to free herself from the thoughts, anguish, failures of a lifetime.
I found myself, with them, looking for the meaning of everything I had done until then.
I neither want to and can't bring my girls from Messina Prison on stage, because it is right that what we did there should remain with them and for them.
In If I only had a voice on stage there will only be me and, of the girls, I’ll bring with me their eyes, their gestures, long and strong hugs, tears and smiles. Thanks to them I will tell stories of people who are seeking a meaningful redemption from life: they want love. Not idealized and romantic love, but love for life, that strong, impetuous, sometimes violent and seemingly senseless drive that enables us to bear everything, to do everything so that our dream can come true.
I will enter and exit each story through Mina's songs sung in playback, as if to create an imaginary concert made up of different souls, all with a single voice, that of Mina. Just as I used to do when I was little more than a child and I was free to imagine the future and I wasn't afraid.”
– From Tindaro Granata’s director’s notes