Combining Information Design and Theatre: a declaration of intents/confession/declaration of love

How and why I’m trying to work on a dataviz+theatre project

Il punto è questo. A combination of two worlds. Trailer

I’m an Information Designer.

No, let’s start from the beginning (really quickly)!

I was born in Vercelli, an Italian city in Northern Italy, in 1988. Long story short, I attended Politecnico di Milano, I have a Master Degree in Communication Design and I’m specialized in Information Design. My professional path started at university with Density Design Lab and went on at Accurat studio, where I worked for three years. And now I’m a freelancer.

Ok, that was quick.

I love design and I was really lucky in these years, because working on something that you enjoy doing is rare and precious, something I can’t take for granted.

I love trying to create something new and interesting every time and dealing with important issues and topics. The combination between aesthetics and contents is what I appreciate most about Information Design. I’m passionate about being able to communicate and clarifying complex and sometimes very serious concepts and, in the meantime, trying to design interesting visual forms.

Sky Map: the world as seen by a pilot. One of my projects for Corriere della Sera — La Lettura and

I also love theatre, a lot. And by “theatre” I mean acting, writing and sometimes directing.

I have loved theatre since I was 15. I was a really shy girl (in some ways I still am) and I had attended a theatre course during high school, only because some friends of mine were there.

I was sure I would not be able to stay on a stage. Every week I repeated myself:

«Ok, I’m just attending this course, but I won’t act on a stage».

«Ok, I’m doing the final play rehearsals, but I’ll drop the project in a few weeks, of course I can’t act on a stage».

«Ok, I’m acting on a stage».

I had to say one single sentence, in more than an hour of play. The play was Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. And, as in the worst cliches, that sentence simply changed my life.

Being able to choose between theatre and design was a classic issue of my adolescence.

I’ve chosen to study design and I’m sincerely glad about it. Also because, to be honest, my mind automatically associates the sentence Doing theatre in Italy with STRUGGLE.

But I’ve never abandoned this passion of mine. I’ve always worked on a different play every year, it’s something I can’t help but doing.

And a few years ago, I’ve also discovered that I love writing for theatre.

In the last two years, I’ve worked on a play written by me, Io sono la pelle (I am the skin). Me and my wonderful friends and theatre-mates brought the show in different places and it was great, an heart-warming experience.

Io sono la pelle, with Federica Fragapane, Alice Gobbo, Alessia Rollone and Elisa Viola. Written and directed by Federica Fragapane, assistant director Davide Zanichelli. Photo by Francesco Majno

At one of the shows a guy told me: «You know, I hate theatre, but that was moving». That’s it. Communicating something to someone. At another show, a lady was laughing so hard that it was really hard for me and the other actresses to focus on the play and acting. It was incredibly funny and satisfying. That person was probably drunk, because she was laughing also when there were no reasons to laugh, but it was great anyway!

So, what’s the point? That’s the point. Literally, because I’ve written another play, Il punto è questo (= That’s the point).

And with this new project I want to do an experiment, I want to combine my job and my passion and see what happens.

As director/actress, I’m preparing the show with my group. As designer, I’m visualizing the dialogues and the interactions on the stage.

Il punto è questo, interactions (work in progress).

I want to show these visualizations in two different ways: on a website that allows to visually explore the play, and on the stage, during the show. I know it’s not easy and it’s risky in some ways. I don’t want it to be distracting or difficult to understand.

The play deals with really simple and common topics. It’s just a fragment of a group of people’s life. I think that sometimes, simple and common fragments can be really important and meaningful and I like to talk about topics that people can understand. I’d like to provide a double vision of this fragment. The “classic one”, with people on the stage, talking and moving and a “purely visual” one. I want to use Information Design to create an empowering visual message, to create a composition made by people, visual forms, gestures and speech. My purpose is to communicate to everyone, not only “design experts” or theatre lovers.

I’d love if someone would come to me saying: «You know, I hate theatre and most of all I really really hate information design, even if I don’t know what it is. But that was moving».