Balli Plastici

In 1917, Fortunato Depero began to conceive of a Futurist ballet in which machine-like puppets would replace human actors and dancers.  He felt that this would emphasize the Futurist ideals of technology advancing and breaking free of human influence.

Fortunato Depero's painting showcasing his characters.

A year later, Depero had created  a collection of marionettes and set designs.  He worked with a variety of composers to arrange existing and new pieces of music for each different act of his show.  Balli Plastici was performed eleven times, and though it was considered novel, its reception was lukewarm.

Eventually the original puppets were destroyed.  It wasn’t until 1981 that a revival showing of the ballet required a reconstruction of the puppets according to Depero’s paintings, sketches and photographic evidence.  These puppets are now on display at Casa Museo Depero in Rovereto, Italy.  There are no records of the Balli Plastici production itself aside from scant notes in Depero’s own journals.

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