La codista by Marleen Scholten © Luca Chiaudano

The concept of waiting illustrated by Marleen Scholten in her show La codista and in an interview addressed to the people of Italy

July 1 2021

Queues are emblematic places that bring together groups of human beings who share a single purpose: that of awaiting their turn. In them we find chaos, misunderstandings and anger, but also relief and boredom. La codista [something like “the queuer”] is the latest work by the actress and director Marleen Scholten, who takes her cue from the true story of a Milanese woman who, having suddenly lost his job, chooses to work as a professional “queuer”.

Starting from this event, Scholten creates a story on the theme of waiting: in a society in which we are constantly encouraged to race ahead, to move rapidly (both physically and mentally) from one place to another, from one emotion to the next, trying not to miss any opportunity, La codista makes us reflect on the revolutionary idea of stopping, taking possession of our own time at long last, and facing up to the increasingly ephemeral concept of our own identity. 

Her reflections are transparent and personal, comic but political, absurd and yet extraordinarily real.

For her show, Marleen Scholten has made a video in which she interviews a number of Italian citizens on the significance of waiting. What have we got to lose?

La codista

Nessun uomo è un’isola
Completo in se stesso
Ogni uomo è parte della terra
Una parte del tutto
Se una zolla è portata via dal mare
L’Europa risulta essere più piccola
Come se fosse un promontorio
Come se fosse tua
La morte di ciascun uomo mi sminuisce
Perché faccio parte del genere umano
E perciò non chiederti
Per chi suona la campana
Suona per te.

John Donne, author of the seventeenth century

Taken from one of the poems that La codista recites in the show

© Luca Chiaudano

La codista, Marleen Scholten

“The queue is like life. And here I am, I am part of it."

Portrait of Marleen Scholten © Sofie Knijf
Portrait of Marleen Scholten © Sofie Knijf

Marleen Scholten is an actress and co-founder of the Dutch collective Wunderbaum. The company’s shows and projects have been presented in Europe and in Los Angeles, New York, Tehran, Rio de Janeiro, and Toronto. Members of the collective write their own texts, which they direct and perform. Wunderbaum is based in Rotterdam and, since 2018, it has also curated the artistic direction of the Theaterhaus Jena in Germany. Marleen Scholten moved to Milan four years ago. Her most recent shows are Chi è il vero italiano?, La storia della mia rigidità and La canzone nazionale. These works have been performed in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. Among other awards, Wunderbaum has won the Proscenium Award (Amsterdam), the Mary Dresselhuys Award (Rotterdam), and the Total Theatre Award (Edinburgh).


La codista

Monday May 31 and Tuesday June 1, at 7.30 p.m.

For the creation of the video, thanks go to: Associazione Culturale CapoTrave / Kilowatt, the Embassy and Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, MiBACT, and Regione Toscana

The show is part of the FOG Triennale Milano Performing Arts programme

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