La codista

Marleen Scholten, Acteursgroep Wunderbaum

Theatre monologue about impatience and desire

‘I do not want to be first but rather last. The faster the world moves, the more I slow down. I go against the current. Like salmon. For a ‘codista’, the world is the other way around’.

When he lost his job, the Milanese Giovanni Cafaro began waiting in line for others in exchange for money. The actress Marleen Scholten used his story as a basis for her monologue La codista. It turned into a story about waiting in line (‘la coda’), about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and about the impatience and desire that is a part of waiting. 

Scholten lives in Italy and for this project interviewed various Italians about how they experience standing still and what it means. In addition, the actress stood in line for hours, for example at the post office or the tax office, in order to experience for herself the mechanism of waiting. She found chaos and simplicity there, people coming together someplace with only one purpose: waiting their turn. La codista is a personal piece about identity and the desire to slow down sometimes. Scholten was awarded Italy’s Antonio Conti national playwright’s prize for the piece. ‘La codista’ waits her turn together with the audience.


Marleen Scholten is actress and co-founder of the Dutch collective Wunderbaum. She is graduated as actress in 2001 and since then she created over 50 performances, national and international, together with the company. They made different projects in Europe, created and presented in Los Angeles, New York, Teheran, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto.

They write their own text, are their own directors and perform themselves. Starting from political, social themes, they always try to create a community with every performance, involving people from different backgrounds, like architects, homeless, choir singers, judges, innovators, writers.

Actors collective Wunderbaum has its base in Rotterdam and since 2018 they run collectively the artistic direction of Theaterhaus Jena in Germany. Marleen moved to Italy 4 years ago.

She created Who is the real Italian? and The national song. These works have been presented at RomaEuropa festival, mare culturale urbano in Milan, in Germany and in The Netherlands. Together with African refugees and Italian teenagers she made a clown project in Carrara, invited by an organization for immigrants in Italy. The starting point for the performance was the question: Where is home?

In 2017 she was asked by Tramedautore festival and the Piccolo Teatro di Milano to give a masterclass to young actors. They worked around sexuality in times of social media and used as inspiration the documentary film Comizi d’amore of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Wunderbaum has won The Proscenium Award for most impressive theatre (Amsterdam), The Mary Dresselhuys Award for the best show of the year (Rotterdam), The Total Theatre Award (Edinburgh), they were nominated for Most outstanding international piece (Toronto). 

For La codista Marleen won the national playwright award Premio Drammaturgico Nationale Antonio Conti. 



from and with
Marleen Scholten
assistant director
Dafne Niglio
Emanuele Cavalcanti
costume advice
Lotte Goos
Acting collective Wunderbaum
Theater Rotterdam, TRAK
OTSE Officine Theatrikes Salento Ellada
in collaboration with
Embassy and Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Milan
with the support of
Centro di Residenza della Toscana, Kilowatt festival
thanks to
Giovanni Cafaro, Paolo Aniello, Pietro Valenti, Paolo Mastromo, Bas Ernst, Umberto Angelini, Zona K-Milano, NTGent




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