CULTURE

Benigni expresses his lust for life before taking Patras stage

Award-winning actor Roberto Benigni appeared at a press conference in Patras yesterday to present a one-man performance of Canto 26 of Dante’s «Inferno» at the city’s Roman Odeon today at 9.30 p.m. Expressive and ebullient, the Italian comic was full of praise for Greece and its culture. He also spoke about today’s performance, sang a bit of Rossini and talked about what makes him tick. The reason why he selected Canto 26 of «The Divine Comedy,» he explained, is that «Canto 26 includes the word comedy. Of course, it is not comedy like we see in films,» said the actor. «It is both a mystical and popular piece of writing that is easy to convey to the public. I find that the power and musicality of the text – aided by the translation – will allow the audience to understand it. «I could not come to Greece and present a Greek text. That would be banal. So I decided that it must refer to Greece, and in Canto 26, Dante presents Odysseus in a way that symbolizes the quest for knowledge through the human and not the divine.» Benigni, like other great comics, has often been credited with bringing hope to the hopeless. «I am happy to hear that I do something to alleviate human suffering. Because comics have to generously offer laughter and joy. Normally we comics are boring and depressed. I am an exception. I love life. What else have we got but life? The last thing I’ll do is die,» quipped the actor.