Directed and Produced by Giacomo Merchich
for Totentanz Project by Andrea De Simeis Totentanz
Music by Angelo Urso
“At a single turn of the handle it plays a Dies Irae while rotating three cylinders to display eighteen illustrations printed using a traditional ‘torchio a stella’ press.
At the end of its delicate musical motif, the music box produces a little ‘booklet’ for its operator, almost like the wizard Zoltar’s puppet would do in the old Luna Parks. It’s an illustrated plaquette in which a dying person meets Death and a brief dialogue between them ensues”.
Andrea De Simeis
When I first had the pleasure of seeing the Totentanz Machine that my dear friend Andrea had created, I was astonished by the ingenuity and creativity inherent in this powerful magical totem.
Thinking aloud, I mentioned how cool it would be to create a 3d model of it. That started Andrea and me off on an exciting collaboration.
A few weeks later I was already working on it, and when I started to see the first lines taking shape, it was clear that no detail must be left overlooked, and this made the collaboration even more fulfilling.
I recreated and assembled every single piece and, even if it was a digital simulation, I wanted to think and act analogically so that every detail would be original.
Andrea’s engravings on the carousel, inspired by the most famous European macabre dances, are linked with the excellent work of artists from all backgrounds: writers, musicians, directors and actors.
I propose taking my Totentanz contribution on tour, presenting an unusual point of view of the hidden and most intimate mechanisms of this fascinating “musical box”. For this trip I have chosen Angelo Urso’s music with his double bass: his atmospheres, deep and solemn, are a perfect fit with my storytelling.