The show applies to a sentiment of wonder embedded in our childhood, a magical world that as we grow older is taken over by our jobs, work routines, time tables, statistics ... and we neglect the child inside us. With my show I call on that child. There is an Italian poet by the name of Giovanni Pascoli who makes reference to the little child who lives in our heart who keeps us young forever. Federico Fellini too, in his film 8 ½, says I am forty in my body but 8 ½ in my mind. It is this kind of innocence, joi de vivre, mixed with irrationality that takes the audience to their childhood and brings back sweet memories.In your stage performances everything happens with lightning speed. What do you like in everyday life to happen slowly?
No. I do everything in fast mode. I’m even a fast eater - I can eat lunch in 10 minutes, sometimes I don’t even sit down because I have something to do … I am very curious. So, I’m a fast eater, a fast costume-change artist, and.... a fast talker. I don’t like to waste time.You hold a Guinness record, for being the world’s fastest quick-change artist.
Yes, I do. I can a costume-change in a second and a half! You are a great Theatre Artisan: psychology, techniques and emotions are the basis of every show that, invariably, expresses the utmost of your artistic abilities. Is this a gift, a challenge or is it a social vengeance?
It’s a mixture of everything. I was a very shy boy - small, skinny and spotty - everyone laughed at. The fact that I wasn’t any good at football didn’t help matters: in Italy it’s shameful if a boy can’t play soccer. So, maybe I matured a kind of social revenge. Thanks God I met a priest when I was thirteen who taught me magic tricks. Everyone was so surprised of how good I was at it. But I was still very shy, so I went on stage wearing costumes, which meant I wasn’t shy anymore. After that point my shows were almost a social revenge for the humiliations I suffered as young boy. I also learned that my stage presence could play on people’s emotions, making them laugh, cry or wonder. Being able to provoke emotions even in people that would otherwise be bored was always a great pleasure.
When I am on stage I go through some kind of psychodrama, I perform 80 characters non-stop. I can become whatever I want: man, woman, animal ... thing. I take the audience on a magical journey, at the end of which they are grateful, they applaud and cheer... You're famous on stage and off stage – people recognize you instantly because of your trademark hair tuft. Have you ever wanted to be anonymous?
Oh yes, my Tour Eiffel hair tuft is a big giveaway. There is nothing worse than when people ask me for an autograph when I’m holding a pack of toilet paper at a supermarket checkout - nothing magical about that! So, in Italy I wear a hat to do normal stuff.
I also wear a wig when I go to the theatre so I can enjoy a show without people asking me to sign things. Essentially, I use two disguises if I want to be anonymous in Italy: 1. Professor of philosophy; 2. Rocker - with sporty long hair.The man of a thousand faces, what is your alter ego?
I think that on stage every artist lives his own dreams. On stage I am what I would like to be forever ... a kind of Peter Pan, with lots of energy, flying around, becoming different things, making things disappear. This child-like alter ego is more or less what I’d like to be in real life, but … I cannot. However, with the tools and tricks at hand in the theatre I can be Peter Pan on stage! I think this is an image that I may be remembered by - it‘ an image I like a lot.Is there a scene in your show Chance that you particularly like?
I like the bit when I fly - I forget that there is machine.Is there a machine?
Hmm ... no, there is only magic power! It really is such wonderful pleasure being able to fly like that every day ... even if it is for only ten minutes...Without the phenomenon Brachetti, the art of transformation would have died with Leopoldo Fregoli in 1936. In fact, you had to invent systems because no information existed about it. Do you think that one day you will pass on this legacy to a successor?
Ever since I started out as a magician, I have had people copying me, but they can only manage a five-minute act at the local circus. They lack cultural meaning. For example, a good painter draws inspiration from his senses to make a representation on his canvas. A copier on the other hand, can copy the hardware, but can never copy the software, the emotions. However, I am sure that in a few years time there will be a young artist who will deserve to be on stage and to be helped along the way to reach the top. But, not right now ... please allow me to work for at least another ten years!Is it true that you own a wig that belonged to Jean Paul Belmondo?
Yes, I still own that wig. I use it for my Professor of Philosophy alter ego. In fact it’s one of three wigs that I found in a drawer of my dressing room in Marigny in France. When I asked whom they belonged to, the dresser said they belonged to Jean Paul who had played Othello there. One of the wigs is very good, you cannot see the hairline when you put it on. Of course, it’s a bit too big for me because Jean Paul has a bigger head than mine...What happened to the other two wigs? Did you sell them on Ebay?
No, they were just too cheap to put on Ebay. Maybe I’ll put them up for sale after Jean Paul Belmondo has died.Your performance also expresses a lot of innocence: a Peter Pan whom never tires of making people laugh, young and old. What does irritate Arturo Brachetti off stage?
There are a number of things that make me angry. For example something that upsets me is when untalented people get to places only because of powerful connections. I am talking about people that have no culture but yet have the power to decide who will or will not progress in life. - Unprofessional people in jobs they can’t manage make me angry.The cheering at the end of each show tells you how much people respect and love you. Describe a difficult time in your career.
I had a happy life, and a successful theatre show when in 2004 I began to suffer from depression - I could not sleep. I went to see a psychologist who eventually pointed out something amazing: sometimes when people don’t realise that they’ve reached their long-life dream they become disoriented. It’s like reaching the top of the mountain on a foggy day - you are ready to stick your flag down but you just don’t know where. I learned then that when you finally become aware that you are at the top, the best thing you can do is to climb back down that mountain and select another one, maybe a steeper one and repeat the same process over and over again, improving your techniques as you climb higher and higher. Who or what do you focus on when you're on stage? Who or what is in your heart?
There is nothing I focus on. I just play. Like everybody else, there are times when I am not in the mood to work, but I have to - I am not allowed to be sick or ill in any way. I just have to put on the mask, I flick an imaginary switch in my brain and, pull a string to smile, and I begin to perform.Is it true that you go on tour with 3 trucks, and 18 assistants?
Yes, it is. We also take on tour 10 tons of equipment!Please use three adjectives to describe your assistants?
1. Reliable; 2. Trustworthy; and most importantly, 3. Enthusiastic. You are always traveling around the world, but where is 'home'?
My home is in Turin, which right now is a great city. For many years it was manipulated by Fiat as this is where the main factories are. When the car boom began to slump, we discovered that the city had bigger assets other than Fiat alone like, for example, its baroque architecture. Then in 2006 we hosted the winter Olympics there. Turin got smartened up and we all realised how beautiful our city really was. I live in an 18th century house full of magic and tricks, of course! I have walls that move, including a revolving library - it’s a bit like an Indian Jones sort of place. Sometimes I have people ringing me asking me if they can visit the house.What is the next dream?
This is a hard question. What will you do after Change?
Change in London is a dream that I had been following for two years. I have taken my shows to French/Spanish/Italian speaking countries, but to succeed in show business you need to leave your mark in both London and New York. We chose the hardest, which is London, where the critics have been great. I will perform at the Garrick Theatre until January 2010.
Maybe my next dream will have to be New York. However, if my strength doesn’t hold, I can see myself working as a Director.What is the hope for Arturo Brachetti?
Hope is invisible energy that helps all of us every day because we are always hoping for something: love, success, health, and money...But how do you find this invisible ‘energy’?
I’m not a religious person. I am however, spiritual. I think that good energy is amongst us. If you invest in something good, you can expect something good coming your way - maybe not from the very same person to whom you give it. Maybe you invest a lot of energy in your work that may not translate into a direct work reward, but it can manifest itself as love. It can also happen that you give love to someone who does not have love in his/her life and that person gives you a gift, something that makes you very happy indeed. Good things happen to those who do good deeds. If you are a bad person except bad things to happen to you. For example, look at all the mafia bosses in Italy. Yes, they have had lots of money and fortunes, but now they are in jail, their families destroyed. And if they are not in jail, they are always watching out that no harm comes to them.What is your message for aspiring artists around the world in search of affirmation?
Follow your dream. I was twenty when I left my family to risk everything for a new life in Paris - it was the best thing I ever did. If you are young, eighteen or twenty, and have nothing to lose, and you have a dream, just go and follow that dream. Eight out of ten, dreams come true, maybe not always quickly - I was forty when I became really famous in France and Italy. Until then I enjoyed my theatre work but I was almost at the pint of saying to myself, “come on let’s try something else”... So my best advise to any aspiring professional is to hold onto your dream, and more than books, meet the people that you admire - talk to them - most of the time artists are very generous people. They feel that they would like to share their knowledge with others and often help youngsters on the way.