magdalena barile


As opposed to writing for films or television, I find writing for the stage as an extremely seducing and intimate process. In writing plays one has to primarily think of bodies on stage and outside of it. Being a playwright is a political choice, it is the commitment to a minority space that transcends market-driven strategies: playwriting occupies physical and intellectual places, it affords the possibility to access a real exchange implying both the producing party and the recipients. On stage as in life things are constantly happening and the playwright has the chance to move between reality and fiction, and decide which of the two they intend to liaise with in order to tell stories that, at best, reflect life.

Fabulamundi involved Magdalena Barile in activities in Berlin and Barcelona.

Magdalena Barile is a playwright and a screenwriter. As a playwright she wrote numerous original works and constantly joins forces with a number of theatre companies – amongst others Motus (Rimini), Accademia degli Artefatti (Rome), Animanera (Milan), Il Mulino di Amleto (Torino), Teatro in Mostra (Como), Charioteer Theatre (Edinburgh)  –  that share an interest in innovating the contemporary writing scene.

She is the Playwriting Course coordinator at Civica Scuola Paolo Grassi in Milano where she teaches dramaturgy. She works as a screenwriting teacher at IED Visual art, Istituto Europeo di Design in Milano.

Among her plays many of them deal with gender queer identities. She rewrote with Luca Scarlini a gender fluid version of Splendid’s by Jean Genet and she often based her researches about characters of women artists from the past like Anaïs Nin, Charlotte Brontë, Anne Lister, Valerie Solanas, Octavia E. Butler and many others. She adapted for stage the famous academy award nominated screenplay Pietro Germi’s film Divorzio all’Italiana.

She has worked many years as scriptwriter for the Italian Swiss Television (RSI) and as an author in several drama and comedy productions for Italian broadcasters among which L’Albero Azzurro, Camera Cafè, Bye Bye Cindarella.

Theatre works

2021 / Gentleman Anne, diario di una seduttrice
2020 / Like
2018 / Rosa Conchiglia. Anais Nin e i giorni del porno
2017 / Api regine
2016 / Schiavo d’amore. Omaggio a Sacher Masoch
2015 / La Moda e la Morte
2015 / Il Migliore dei mondi possibili
2015 / Barbablù 2.0
2015 / Light Killer
2014  / Lightkiller
2014 / Non ho niente da mettermi.
2013 / Intimacy, nelle stanze degli altri, first stage: May 2013, Crt, Milan.
2012 / The protester, first stage: in October 2012, for “Wake Up, letture sulla primavera araba” at the Teatro Argentina, Rome.
2012 / She is among the authors of Satyricon, una visione contemporanea, conceived and directed by Massimo Verdastro. Florence, court of the Bargello Museum, July 2012.
2012 / Senza Famiglia, first performed in January 2012 at CRT Salone, Milan.
2011 / Piccoli Pezzi (poco complessi), first performed in February 2011 at the CRT Salone, Milan.
2011 / Un altro Amleto, first performed in July 2011, “Armunia” Festival in Castiglioncello. The play was shortlisted for the Hystrio Award in the Under 35 category.
2011 / 3D. first performed in: September 2011, Festival Connections at the Teatro Litta, Milan.
2010 / One Day, finalmente vivere servirà a qualcosa, published by Titivillus (2010).
2010 / Fine Famiglia, first performed in: May 2010, spazio PIM, Milan.
2009 / Lait.
2009 / Piombo, first performed in 2009, spazio PIM, Milan.
2008 / In Tumulto, first performed in May 2008, Festival di Gioia del Colle.
2006 / Manuel & Miranda, first performed in June 2006, Sala Cavallerizza at the Teatro Litta, Milan.

LAIT O DELLE POTENZIALITÀ LUMINOSE DEL CORPO UMANO  (Lait or On the Shining Potentials of the Human Body)
Young and helpless, Mikail and Calda are recruited by the Greek, a light design artist, to shine for him. They hope to obtain fame and beauty in exchange for their light, they hope to become a work of art. The Greek is a specialist in severing light from bodies; this, however, bears some ominous side effects. Lait tells the story of a Faustian pact, an artistic experiment inside another artistic experiment which escalates into something extreme.

Light Killer 1
Light Killer 2

Roles: the two Light Killers can be played by the same actors who play Mikail and Calda.

– Extracts from Lait or On the Shining Potentials of the Human Body –

I – On Shining Alone.

Mikail’s room.
Before a mirror.


The first time I met the Greek was at an airport.
In front of a vending machine, while sipping a Cola Light we ended up talking about light.
The Greek is an artist.
He noticed me at the check-in counter. All of a sudden, he says, as I moved towards the baggage belt, I started to shine.
Back then I knew already about my shining potential… but still… like that… as I walked to the baggage belt?
It must have been because I love airports. Maybe I was happy to leave.
Or maybe because of the opposite, because I was saddened to leave.

The Greek asks me if I’m in control of my own light.
I chose to be elusive: a little… maybe… in the morning…
The Greek insists on testing me, over there, at the duty free.
But it’s five in the afternoon, it’s not going to work.
I’ll count till three, he says, and then you’ll shine.

I see a possibility for my future in his proposal.
Performance anxiety.
I feel like beating a retreat to the bath and take an aerosol.
Do I shine? You tell me, as I can’t see myself.
They stare at me. This airport crowd. Turbans, briefcases, sponge bags.
Kneel down! I’m bringing light through the pass control.
I thought… but it wasn’t the case.
Let’s give it another try tomorrow morning. Says the Greek.

Then we all board a plane and get to this place.
For days now we’ve been waiting for me to shine again.

Shining exercise number nine.
The S.O.S.
I tie my hands and feet and gag myself. I come as close as it gets to a deadly danger. I choose what kind, as long as I’m not too isolated.
When danger is about to overcome me,
hindered as I am,
unable to run, signal or scream for help,
I’ll then have to resort to other means.
That’s the moment when I should shine
Mmmh. No easy thing though…
Anything easier?

Shining exercise number one.

Stay close to a light source for as long as you can . That’s it.
That can be done.
And I do it.
Not working.

The Greek told me a little about his job.
His light installations attract quite a few people
This time around, he says, he wants to do something like the Sistine Chapel, but with irony. They all die in the end.
I will be the one to bear the light.

A convoy of angels in airliner disguise is escorting me on my way up.
I hope I’ll able to shine onto the vault of heaven by myself.

The Greek gave my light a name. Melancholy of the absolute, so he calls it.
Nothing to do with faith or love.
The absolute, so instructed me the Greek, goes about idly.
I live my bright disquiet in the anxiety of every kind of substances.

I fill and empty my body.
I give vent to my trichotillomania: I torment my own hair.

II – On Shining For Two.

Mikail’s room.
Enter Calda.

How about knocking?

You shone! I like your light. Not that I would go on a romantic dinner with your light. I’d rather perform a surgery with it.
One can almost touch your arteries. Let me just…

Don’t touch me.

No need to worry.

Heeeee- lp!

Gosh! You died out.

What did you expect? You weren’t suppose to touch me.


You’re all like that! You come here and try to extinguish me.

Not me. I do want you to shine.

Oh yeah? And who are you?

I’m a luminant, just like you. I shine for the Greek, like you do.

Like I do?

Do you think you’re the only one performing exercises here?
You really thought you were the only one!

No, I didn’t.

You’re not alone. There’s a lot of us.

A lot? How many?

So many as the lights in the garden. Why don’t you join us in the walks through the garden?

I’m allergic to… to… everything.

Too bad. Some of the luminants can be nice.


On Friday night we’re hanging out in the darkness for a while in my room. Would you like to come?

No, I wouldn’t.

Too bad. Everybody is so curious/

About what?

You’ve been here for a while and we were wondering if the Greek had already made you the offer…

What offer?

He didn’t, uh?! How odd of him not to ask you.
I’m thinking about it. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t/

/Will what?

Will you give him your light?

If he asks me.

You’re brave. I like that! No wonder we’re together!


Too easy to shine on your own. The Greek arranges us: let’s try and do it together.

The both of us? Why?

Because two is the number of light. You need both reflective and reflected properties.

How does he think we should shine?

We should make up a Pietà. D’you know? A sitting body holds a lying body… something like Christ and the Virgin Mary, but somewhat more protean, less marmoreal.

A Pietà!? A simple Pietà?! I came here to shine onto the entire vault of heaven by myself.

They couldn’t find enough extras to play the angels.

And who would be underneath whom in this Pietà?

I would cradle you in my laps.

I’d rather know you better first.

Oh! Someone’s falling in love, here…

With whom?

With me.

Who would that be?

Shining exercise number thirty-one.
The shock. I separate blue and red cables in the power cord. I then twirl the red ones around my blue veins. I wet my fingers, straighten my forelock and stick my index and middle fingers into the socket. And I get the shock.