Works: Francesca Grilli

Liliana Simões


In Record, a choir of young people will sing a composition of texts inspired by a hikikomori’s confessions. 

Hikikomori is the Japanese word that describes a social pathology that leads some people, especially young people from adolescence onward, to reject contact with the outside world. The phenomenon of social withdrawal has now spread throughout the Western world, with a growing and worrying number of young people locking themselves in their rooms. An absence of contact whose effects we have all experienced during the severe lockdowns of the past few years.

The scene is focused on a single action: a possible falling. Indeed, the chorus is in a physical position of disequilibrium, recalling the challenge of those who must define themselves in the world. To work on the sense of falling, of leaning into heights, the work’s construction path confronted a stunt-woman. A woman whose body continually defies death and does so by taking the form of someone else. She moves to the opposite side of the hikikomori, who live the most extreme solitude as someone who experiences the potential of failure as unbearable. Nevertheless, they dream, they feel, and they take part in life. In less severe cases, a hikikomori acts in the world through an avatar, an alternative body, a powerful alter ego that replaces them in ‘dangerous’ activities. The avatar is a sort of imaginary stunt double who lives adventures in their place and keeps in contact with an online community. The hikikomori and the act of falling are the two specular sides of the same conflict, and adolescence is connected to both of them. In a society that makes death and failure two of its biggest taboos ever, teenagers are about to jump in life and take the risk of it all and, at the same time, are afraid to come out to the world.

However, this ambiguous attraction between throwing oneself and the terror of facing the highly performative challenges of the world is not only of the adolescent. It  sums up the moment we are living in, in which we are all involved, with hardships and joys, mixed feelings and bewilderment.


Creation: Francesca Grilli Words: Azzurra D’Agostino, Piffi Production, communication, distribution, tour management, administration: Hiros Stuntwoman: Lisa Patoor Action: Benno Steinegger Sound designer: Christophe Albertijn Video maker: Gianluca Mattei Studio assistant: Elena Regazzoni Coproduction: VIERNULVIER (BE), workspacebrussels (BE), Indisciplinarte Terni (IT), Snaporazverein (CH), Hostcena (NO) Partners: KAAP (BE), Kaaitheater (BE), BASE Milano (IT), Bunker / Mladi Levi festival (SI), Short Theatre Rome (IT) With the support of: Corpoceleste (IT), WpZimmer (BE)