PSA, the Journal of the Pirandello Society of America, seeks submissions of short dramatic pieces (5 to 30 minutes of expected performance time) inspired by the theatre and literary works of Luigi Pirandello, for publication in the next or future issues and potential production. Scripts should be previously unpublished and unproduced.
An essential requirement is that proposed contributions both reinterpret and clearly reference a specific work or more by Pirandello, be it a play, short story, novel, or essay. The connection could take several forms: development or updating of an existing scene/play by Pirandello, background on a character demonstrated through monologue or dialogue, theatre within the theatre, transformation for different media or site-specific performance, dramatization of a prose piece, dialogue between characters from different works, alternative endings, alternative casting, engagement with a contemporary issue, etc.
Accepted scripts will be considered for actual production, either digitally or as staged reading/full performance in the context of a post-pandemic Pirandello festival.
Proposals related to Six Characters in Search of An Author should be e-mailed by March 15, 2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org and, if accepted, will be published on the next thematic issue (XXXIII, 2020); all others will be scheduled for publication in the following issue (XIV, 2021).
In April/May 2015 I collaborated as dramaturg and director with three performer-choreographers – Lori Hamilton, J Reese, Sarah Starkweather – and musician Ken Kruper on a dance piece that aimed to capture the spirit of a neighborhood as it changes over time. New people are first attracted and then pushed out in a constant recursive flux that materializes at different times during the exhibition through movement and music.
Between April and May 2015 I was invited to my second artist residency with Forwardflux for three weeks of intense collaborative exploration of how neighborhoods are transformed, gentrified, or even colonized. Through meetings once a week with the whole group of participants and more intimate rehearsals with two smaller groups, for the first time I worked as dramaturg of a dance piece, Changing Neighborhoods. For the exhibition program, click here.
For the author and performer Michelle Levy, “Come Back… marks the return to a stalled artistic research project I had been pursuing about my father, named (by him) ‘The Comeback.’ This current investigation has two narratives. The first is the story of Ron “Lucky” Levy, a once successful motivational salesman who has, sadly fallen down on his luck. The second is my process of sharing the story with the help of a tool named (by me) ‘The Five Stage Approach to Creating an Effective Artistic Experience.’ Through a series of small performance ‘focus groups’ organized over the past five months, I have been collectively revisiting a brief ‘comeback'”
In my role of dramaturg I participated to the focus group performances and advised on the overall dramaturgical structure of this biographical monodrama that drew upon archival research and technology to reactivate a dialogue between daughter and father.
This project was my first practical involvement as Resident Director with the Flea Theater in New York City and lasted about seven months from December 2013 to June 2014. With 48 playwrights involved, 54 between actors and singers, main director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, a large group of associate and assistant directors, an indefatigable stage manager and 11 assistant stage managers, the show was an exercise in coordination of an incredible number of creative inputs and professional skills.
From my point of view, the most interesting part of this collective endeavor was the opportunity to witness the several phases of contemporary script development under master dramaturg Jill Rafson, Literary Manager of Roundabout Theatre Company. The project started with an offer to several American playwrights for a commission to write a 1- to 10-minute rewrite of an episode from the York cycle of medieval mystery plays. Each episode would need to “stand on its own while serving the larger goal of telling the story of Man’s Salvation.” Not only was it important for the plays to work in terms of their own dramaturgical arc, they also needed to be stitched together in a coherent fashion.
The plays went through a series of drafts, revisions, readings, workshops, rehearsals, and combined run-throughs that at times seemed more than chaotic, but the whole eventually paid off, and produced a contemporary take on the Medieval collection, including digital media/hashtags, gender-bending, and unexpected outcomes for traditionally revered religious figures.
For this production, which was part of the Queer Theatre HOT! Festival at Dixon Place in NYC, I attended rehearsals as a second set of eyes and sounding board for director Gian Marco LoForte of the Pioneers Go East Collective and performer Michael Cross Burke.
Here is how the show was described: “In Michael Jackson Was Innocent and I Didn’t Kill Jonbenet Ramsey… But I Was There the Night She Died, award-winning queer performance artist Michael Cross Burke, known for his ‘unflinching honesty’ uses found & original text to tell the story of corruption, wealth and tabloids told from the eyes of a 12-year old boy. Juxtaposed with Burke’s obsessive research on the Jonbenet Ramsey case and his escape from porn and prostitution, this oddly humorous and eccentric journey digs its teeth deep into the U.S. Court System and celebrity culture by fully exposing the intricacies of greed and deceit (and the front of his own body.) See the page at Dixon Place or the original event on Facebook event.
Stevens Theatre, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
An adaptation in four parts for the students of my Modern Italian Theatre course. Based on a list of physical actions, we devised and rewrote four versions of the same play, which was set, in turn, in an informal college environment, a morbid Eighteenth century, a flashback from the point of view of one of the minor characters, and a world of puppets.
An account of the theory underlying this course can be found in my article “The Short Play and Postmodernist Stage Directing: A Virtual Experiment with Pirandello’s Cecè.” published in Quaderni d’Italianistica 32.2 (2012)
S. Giovanni Bosco Theatre, Modena, and San Martino Theatre, Bologna, Italy
By special arrangement with the Yourcenar Estate, I presented this monologue within the context of the “La manica tagliata” (The Cut Sleeve) LGBT festival, with Francesco Stella as the protagonist. Since the piece is particularly long, it offered a challenging field for experimentation in the areas of dramaturgy, storytelling, and composition.
For this dinner theatre show, I combined scenes from Verdi’s opera and Dumas’s Camille (La Dame aux camélias), with music played by an ensemble directed by Alessandro Nidi (Parma Conservatory). Two sets of performers, four actors and three singers, led the audience into the depths of passion as seen through the different conventions of spoken and musical theatre. The show had a lot of coverage in the newspapers and on TV since it was held during the year of the celebrations for the first centenary of Verdi’s death.
Read a series of articles published by the newspaper Gazzetta di Parma including a glowing review by Valeria Ottolenghi here. (in Italian, translations coming soon…)
Here is an 11 minute promotional video of the show:
I was called by Numeriprimi who wanted to stage a Shakespearean play in an imaginative way at the Teatro del Tempo in Parma, Italy. For this company of young actors, who had just graduated from a professional course supported by the European Union, I chose The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
In addition to providing an original translation, I dramaturged the script in several directions:
I substituted several scenes with speechless actions to take advantage of opportunities for physical theatre;
to better employ one of Numeriprimi’s performers, I substituted the clown character with a winged Cupid on roller skates who recited aphorisms from the humorous Murphy’s Law of Love, a prominent theme in the play;
finally, I added several songs, each in fact a Shakespearean sonnet, translated into Italian and set to original music by Marco Caronna.
With the tunes played by Luca Savazzi and sung by a gifted vocalist and company member, the show came to resemble a musical.
Below you find both an 8 minute promo video and the two parts of the full show: