A work about the relationship between human beings and the plant world which casts doubt over modern humans’ autonomy and superiority.

Manuela Infante is one of the most intriguing voices in contemporary South America dramaturgy. In Estado Vegetal she deals with the ideas of philosopher Michael Marder and vegetable neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso and proposes a radical change of perspective that overturns anthropocentric logic and places the world of plants at the centre with their intelligence and complex system of communication. Following Infante’s text, Cristina Galbiati has chosen to emphasize the frailty of human life and has entrusted the monologue, which was originally imagined for a young woman, to the mature, poetic voice of Ruggero Dondi, an interpreter able to express all the weight of passing years and the finiteness of our time in this world. 

The project is introduced by a conversation with the landscape architect Sophie Ambroise and botanist Nicola Schoenenberger who discuss possible alternatives in the relationship between the human and vegetable worlds.




Manuela Infante

translation, adaptation and direction
Cristina Galbiati (Trickster-p)

Ruggero Dondi

together with
Amelia Nesa

sound space
Zeno Gabaglio

site visit and selection of listening spaces
Ilija Luginbühl

Lara Persia - Lemura Recording Studio

sound engineer
Brian Burgan, LAC
Lorenzo Sedili, LAC

Studio Pagi

production delegate
Vanessa Di Levrano, LAC
Marzia Montagna, LAC

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura

The relationship between the human and plant world is something that can no longer be ignored. Manuela Infante’s text challenges anthropomorphism and defends the non-human world and otherness while calling into question modern man’s superiority and autonomy. In approaching the work I was particularly struck by the relationship the author constructs with time and with human frailness. Infante appears to be telling us that while human time follows the linear chronological logic that connects birth and death, the time of plants obeys another set of criteria that elude these markers. In following the pattern of this woof, I decided to work with Ruggero Dondi, entrusting his fragile and mysterious voice with a text that eschews narrative development and immerses itself in the evocative. The original sound design was crafted by Zeno Gabaglio and constitutes another basic element of this procedure. Listeners are invited to get out of their domestic confines and experience the work in parts of the city where the relationship between humans and nature are in an equilibrium that still favors the latter and where the prospect of changing direction is still accepted as possible and a priority. This unconventional way of experiencing the work is aimed at bringing out the deepest meanings of the project by asking the question whether one can still do art in a way that rejects anthropomorphism and does not adopt the human perspective as its inevitable starting point.

Born out of an encounter between Cristina Galbiati and Ilija Luginbühl, Trickster-p is an artistic research project that pushes the boundaries and is at the cross-roads of different art forms. After an initial period in which their work was focused on the centrality and physicality of the performer, over the course of the years, Trickster-p has drawn away from the concept of theatre in the narrow sense and has begun exploring possible transversal signs which both conceptually and formally are the result of a blending of extremely diverse artistic instruments. Trickster-p’s poetics is an invitation to the audience to open its own perceptive spaces and to create its own reality on the borderline between interior and exterior vision. Among its most significant works are performances and installations that have been translated into various languages and presented in over thirty countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America; these include Book is a Book is a Book (2020), Nettles (2018), Twilight_coreografia per la luce che muore (2016), Sights (2014), B_percorso sonoro a stanze attorno alla fiaba di Biancaneve (2012), .h.g. (2009), Come una preghiera (2007), La vita: avvertenze e modalità d’uso (2005). Over the years Trickster-p has received many awards including one of the prestigious Swiss Theatre Prizes for its originality (2017) and more recently the Hase in Silber Die Besten awarded by the magazine Hochparterre for the category Design (2020). For the period 2021-2023 it is beneficiary of a joint support contract with Pro Helvetia–Swiss Cultural Foundation, Department of Culture Canton Ticino, City of Lugano, LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, Municipality of Novazzano.

Manuela Infante
A graduate of the University of Chile, and with a Masters in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam, Infante is a leading playwright for the South American stage as well as being a director. Her works have been performed all over Europe and the USA, her texts have been translated into English and Italian. From 2001 to 2006 she was part of the Teatro de Chile company, as dramaturge and director of works such as Prat, Juana, Cristo and Zoo, as well as Fin (2008), which won a prize at the Viefestival in Modena, What’s he building in there? (2011), based on her residence at Bob Wilson’s prestigious theatre laboratory, The Watermill Centre. She directed On the Beach which won a prize at the Baryshnikov Arts Center of New York (2012) and Don’t Feed the Humans at the Berlin theatre Hebbel am Uffer.

Ruggero Dondi
A graduate of the Scuola del Piccolo Teatro (Milan), Dondi made his debut in Sophocles Oedipus Rex under Greek director Alex Minotis, followed by Brecht’s The Life of Galileo with Tino Buazelli directed by Giorgio Strehler. This was the start of a long theatrical career with some of Italy’s best known directors such as Strehler, Massimo Castri and Mina Mezzadri. In 1970 he was nominated for the Noce d’oro Award for the most promising young actor for his role in the Night of the Assassins by Cuban José Triana, directed by Massimo Binazzi. The same year, together with Giuliano Merlo, Ettore Capriolo, Delia Bertolucci and Pino Micol he founded the theatrical cooperative I Rozzi. From 1973 he worked for 10 years at the Centro Teatrale Bresciano led by Massimo Castri. In 1981 he joined the cooperative Nuove Parole. He has worked with the group Attori & Tecnici in Rome and in 1984 alongside Franco Parenti in Bosco di notte by Gaetano Sansone, directed by Andrée Ruth Shammah. Between 1993 and 1994 he worked with Dario Fo and Franca Rame in Mamma i Sanculotti. In 2000 he was Dottor Calandra in the film Denti by Gabriele Salvatores.  At the Teatro dell’Elfo he will be Herakles in Sophocles’ Women of Trachis directed by Roberto Valerio. In 2016 he was directed by Carmelo Rifici in Chekhov’s The Seagull.  He has worked in several productions of Leart including the successful Romeo e Giulietta, nati sotto contraria stella, directed by Leo Muscato where he interpreted the role of Juliet. He collaborates occasionally with the RAI and the RSI.