Avete presente la Londra rutilante, ipermoderna della city, le case da riviste patinate di Kensington e del West end? Ecco, dimenticatela, e immergetevi nella storia della Londra sghemba e visionaria che ha dato i natali alle sorelle Chance, protagoniste del romanzo Figlie sagge, di Angela Carter, edito da Fazi Editore nell’appena trascorso 2016 e che tanto ci ha rallegrato.
“Siamo nate dall’altra parte del Tamigi, quella sbagliata” esordiscono le due spassose protagoniste, quella parte che ha ispirato gran parte dei migliori scrittori londinesi dell’ultimo trentennio dalla Carter, appunto, a Iain Sinclair, fino a Will Self e J.G. Ballard, testimoni, ognuno con il proprio prisma culturale, di una Londra multiculturale, meticcia, tanto invisa ai thatcheriani quanto amata dagli irriducibili cockneys; una fetta di Londra che presenta anche tratti inquietanti, con le sue zone residenziali abitate dai nuovi ricchi e aree di degrado e abbandono.
Originarie della “sponda bastarda”quella del Sud, che le ha viste nascere, crescere, invecchiare Dora e Nora Chance, due settantentacinquenni arzille che, confesso, ho visualizzato come due gemelle Kessler ma molto più disinibite e beone, si vedono recapitare improvvisamente un invito che mette a rischio per qualche secondo le loro coronarie: Sir Melchior Hazard, loro padre naturale, festeggia cent’anni; ebbene, la genetica è dalla sua parte più di quanto nessuno avrebbe mai sperato. Quale miglior modo di celebrare questo evento invitando le figliuole dimenticate in vita e recuperate nell’ultimo atto teatrale della vita? Da shakespeariano D.O.C. quale è, Melchior non poteva certo farsi mancare questo ultimo coup de théâtre.
Neanche a dirlo, le due accettano. La macchina del piacere incomincia a riattivarsi: esci un trench di volpe argentata, una doppia passata di mascara,cipria, un Rubini nella neve di Revlon,improbabili guêpière di seta e via, le sorelle Chance sono pronte per l’ennesima avventura della loro vita. Di una vita pazzesca, naïf, fricchettona fino al midollo: figlie di una stella del teatro e capostipite di una della famiglie di teatranti più in vista del primo Novecento, Dora e Nora vengono recuperate nella prima infanzia dal fratello gemello di Melchior, Peregrine, zio Perry d’ora in poi, che le alleva, le riempie di oggetti costosi e cerca di avviarle alla carriera che più a loro si addice: quella di ballerine di avanspettacolo. Consumatesi al ritmo di lustrini e champagne, corteggiate e amate da una quantità spropositata di uomini queste due donne rappresentano l’inno più spregiudicato ad una femminilità autentica e priva di stereotipi e tabù. Orfane di madre, tenutaria di una locanda fatiscente di Brixton, furono iniziate ai segreti della vita dalla “nonna” (in realtà una conoscenza del nonno che ebbe il buon cuore di adottarle) nudista vegetariana, perfetta rappresentante del femminismo d’antan. Nora e Dora crescono in ardore e bellezza e fanno dell’ironia tagliente la loro arma di difesa, riuscendo anche ad esorcizzare il grande assente, il padre che non le e ha mai accettate o per lo meno a collocarlo dove va collocato, cioè in un angolo della memoria che il recente invito ha portato pericolosamente alla ribalta. Nel loro mondo, gli uomini” vanno e vengono”, come figuranti di una commedia umana che non si arresta neanche dopo la chiusura del sipario. E le donne si aiutano reciprocamente a resistere ai colpi del destino tutte, tranne due, Saskia e Imogen le rivali delle gemelle Chance, le figlie fortunate, riconosciute legittimamente da Melchior, con le quali si instaura sin da subito “il più cordiale odio reciproco”.
Cosa rimane di questa commedia dolce-amara? A tratti un doloroso nulla, visto che il succo di ogni commedia è sempre un abbandono o un tradimento. E questo avvicendarsi bulimico di divertissement e godimento dell’attimo fuggente ad ogni costo rischia di appesantire la trama. Ma le Chance la sanno lunga e in qualche frangente ci lasciano aforismi in grado di guidarci per un’intera vita:
Ci ho messo secoli a coglierne il senso , ma alla fine ce l’ho fatta, anche se ci sono riuscita soltanto l’altro giorno, A Notting Hill, guardando ancora una volta Il sogno, noi due ormai niente più che un paio di vecchie ciabatte rotte con gli occhi incollati sui loro fantasmi. Solo allora ho compreso una cosa che non avevo mai afferrato in quei giorni, da giovane, prima di vivere nella storia. Da giovane volevo essere effimera, volevo cogliere l’attimo, vivere solo l’istante della gloria, dell’estasi, dell’applauso. Carpe diem. Mangia la pesca. Il domani non viene mai. E invece sì, che viene il domani, e quando arriva sembra non finire più, ve lo giuro.
Il sottotesto shakespeariano (della grande commedia) si rivela in tutta la sua ricchezza e vitalità: gemelli, amori contrastati, scambi di ruolo e di persona, attesa del riconoscimento, amori e dissapori. Il divismo spietato simil-hollywoodiano e il pragmatismo working class della Londra del Sud, non sono destinati ad incontrarsi e anzi generare mostri. Non è un caso che riusciamo a vedere tutta la follia della famiglia di questi teatranti proprio nel bel mezzo della rappresentazione del Sogno di una notte di mezz’estate. Tanto sgangherato il manipolo di attori, quanto sgangherati sono i protagonisti nella vita reale. Nani ballerine, fiori e curiosi animali in un fittizio bosco di Atene si confondono tra le pieghe di personaggi reali con un capocomico all’apice della sua carriera, comprimari e donnette al seguito che si alternano nel suo letto, che ne subiscono l’irrinunciabile fascino, un baraccone tutto sommato gioioso e autenticamente devoto all’Arte. E a “Mammona”, come dice sconsolata la piccola Dora, prodotto e scarto di quel processo di deificazione del padre, vero deus ex-machina dell’azione. Con una scrittura sapiente e applicando un ribaltamento parodico del genere letterario, sua cifra stilistica, la Carter tiene insieme un materiale eterogeneo e convulso che potrebbe anche scoppiare se non fosse inquadrato in questa perfetta architettura.
In conclusione, chiuse nel loro “crepuscolo etico”, Dora e Nora forse non riescono del tutto ad abbracciare l’idea di essere completamente sole e indipendenti. Andare a quel maledetto compleanno per esorcizzare il mostro, trasportate da due lunghe , lunghissime gambe che non hanno mai smesso di essere belle, solo un po’. Giusto il tempo di sgambettare tra il tragico e il grottesco dell’ultimo, sontuoso palco, per celebrare l’autore delle loro vite Risultato: baci e abbracci di una vita mancata. The show must go on. E con un gran finale a sorpresa, geniale, che vi invito a scoprire.
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