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  • Molly Scarborough

Sarteano: Montelaterone

We visited Montelaterone. The village where Jorg and Angelika live.

The clown duo who have been teaching a selection of us over the past week.

Also known as Teatro Schabernack.

Click here for their Facebook page.

On the bus ride to Montelaterone, along the winding roads and across rural Italy I spent my time listening to a composition to be played in the final performance on Sunday. I was listening to this music as I was asked to write some lyrics for the song. And so that is what I spent the journey doing.

The song is about a character who is a traveller. A wise fool. A lucky man:

With worn shoes I walk the world

With no story to behold

Invisible and silent

I have sailed the seven seas

With no anchor holding me

I taste my victory

A lone traveller. I am free.


Jorg & Angelika greeted us. Fully suited and booted in their clowning attire.

They walked us around the village telling us stories of the past (and present) of the place they now call home. I believe they have been living in Italy for around 30 years now but are originally from Germany.

On our tour around the town we only saw around 3 people - all of which were in the café!

Where are they all?

Bolted. Bolted indoors. Or just not at home at all it seems.

But when I say all... there's only 100 people in this village. 23 of which are children. But where are they? At work? At school? Isn't it the Easter holidays?

There was a reoccurring theme today in my imagery. Bolted doors and outdoor bells. Not the door bells we have. Literal bells.

Most of the doors in Montelaterone are bolted and padlocked shut.

The town seems still. A lot more still the Sarteano. Quiet. Almost abandoned. There's still life but it feels like a lot of people have moved away.

Apparently the village is on the rise again. Jorg and Angelika say the village used to be a lot more introverted when they first came to town. When they first arrived all doors were shut, all windows were closed and no one wanted to talk to each other, to participate or to have any fun.

Teatro Schabernack have helped breathe some more life into the village. They have been accepted by their community and have helped bring the people out of their houses! This can be proved through the 80+ images Jorg has taken and installed in their own gallery space.

Teatro Schabernack have their own building in which they can both show and produce their work. In the main gallery space Jorg installed his own photographs. He had photographed the majority of the Montelaterone population - including some dogs! The people of Montelaterone were all framed wonderfully looking out of their window into the street where Jorg was taking the image.

And although we didn't get to meet the residents we still got an insight into their lives here.

Jorg and Angelika took us to the very top of the village and we stood on what was called the beach. Montelaterone is apparently well known for fights and trouble. Men from neighbouring villages used to visit, capture women and throw them off of the beach. It wasn't a beach. It was the cliff edge.

Perhaps this is why there aren't many residents in Montelaterone? Not because they were all thrown off of the beach - that's not what I mean. I'm not that insensitive... But the fact there are some harsh memories here. And perhaps you wouldn't want to live somewhere where a member of your family had been attacked.

The village itself is very self sufficient and even though its population is only around 100 they produce their own olive oil, wine and meat. When looking out from the very top of Monterlaterone we could see plenty of agriculture happening all around - and a few goats too!

After our tour we headed back to Teatro Schabernack's building. We met with a very large group of refugees. We made new friends. We asked them questions. We looked at Jorg's exhibition. We watched some films of Schabernack's work - for a duo they have done some mighty things!

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