Augusto Augusto Augusto


The poster here presented has a great value for the city... of Catania in that it is difficult to trace graphic designers who worked in the city until a few decades ago. As a result of an interview with the author of the poster, as well as the director of the show and director of the Piccolo Teatro, we were able to get some elucidation to answer why there where multiple graphic editions of the show “Augusto Augusto Augusto.” In particular, the research focused on the 1970 poster.

The poster has a strong visual and communicative impact. Augustus’ name is repeated three times, as this man is: subject, attribute and attribute of the subject, remarking the fact that the protagonist of the comedy-tragedy makes him- self three times a victim of power. Within the central circle, representative of the circus ring, the figure of Augustus, a clown bent in two and crossed by the name of the play “ Au- gusto Augusto Augusto,” go to make up the first swastika. The second, more obvious, is composed of the names of the play’s collaborators through a studied typographic com- position.

The comedy-tragedy has as its protagonist Augusto, a humble clown who tries to become director of the circus, but his desire is strongly mocked by those in the circus who hold the power.

The story of Augustus assumes several interpretations:
In one scene, the recent invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet tanks, makes us see in Augustus the symbol of the Czechoslovak people crushed in their search for freedom. Another interpretation, always linked to the historical period in which the neo-Nazi movements were reborn in an alar- ming way, as a perennial threat to the most genuine human values, Augustus becomes the symbol of the peaceful man, helpless in the face of oppression and violence, who as still noble values such as freedom and justice.

The reason for the swastika is intrinsic to the metaphor of Augustus. The author Gianni Salvo explains,” The poster is a metaphor for a stifled dream and the violence of power... The swastika depicted is not faithfully reproduced as it is but on the contrary, the idea originated from the symbolic point of view to mean power and abuse of power; within the poster it became serious and did not allow for transformation nor deformation of the figure of the clown as a swastika, so both elements were included but this intervention was not taken up again and everything was left as it is..” The Mark featured in the poster was developed by Gianni Salvo himself.

The meaning of the poster has been misinterpreted, and following some criticism, the author preferred to modify the posters of subsequent shows by eliminating the swastika.