The 110th anniversary of The Cherry Orchard prompted me to stage this phenomenal play with my company, on the exact dates of the anniversary of its premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre. For this show I wore several hats: director, producer, set designer, event manager, translator, and a few others. You can find the Playbill for the show, including my director’s notes, here.
Here’s the promotional video for the show, which captures the mix of serious and funny that Chekhov writes in every line and we sought to match at every step.
The Theatre Arts Department at Gettysburg College asked me to direct a mainstage production during the 2008-09 season. Thus, I adapted and translated the play into English in collaboration with Susan Russell, Chair and Professor of Theater Arts. The action was set in contemporary Venice Beach, California and the Italian aristocracy was transformed into its American counterpart based on wealth.
Also, in line with Goldoni’s biography, I imagined that the playwright himself was writing in a haste, in order to keep his promise of delivering as many as 16 new comedies during a single season, and thus win a bet against his competitors. Since everything was being created on the spot, the actors received their parts page after page and the set itself was brought in piece by piece and moved around as the play developed. You can read more in my director’s notes here.
Since we were dealing with lying at its “best”, I asked each member of the production to write a biographical note with a twist, and include a half lie and a full-blown one. You can read the entire program here: try to find the lies! Some are really funny and you can probably tell without knowing the person directly.
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:
Teatro Comunale Concordia, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
The first show where I experimented with brevity and improv together. One of the four actors and I produced a minimal version of Hamlet, and offered the audience the opportunity to choose the style they wanted it played, form serious to comic, spoken or musical-style.
My MFA diploma production with the actors of the School of Dramatic Art “Paolo Grassi.” The whole show was offered a small, somewhat claustrophobioc space at the Teatro Franco Parenti, which made movements difficult for the large cast. However, the location worked well with the theme of the play and afforded an incredible intimacy with the audience, which packed the seats for the production’s run.
Dramaturgically, I variously trimmed the play to emphasize Malcolm’s story and the theme of free will, in addition to translating the original.
Critic Ruggero Rastelli described the show as “a gem not to be missed” and my directing as “solemn and ironic at the same time, with that extra kick that takes you in” (Il Giornale, March 23-29 , 1998)
The video of the performance was later shown at Centro Festival del Teatro d’Europa, Palazzo Reale, Milan.
School of Dramatic Art “Paolo Grassi” – Sala Colonne, Milan, Italy
In this dramaturgy of two of Shakespeare’s Roman plays, scenes from Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra explored Antony’s character in its entirety. Three male actors played all the roles including Cleopatra and the Roman mob, and this brought about many inventive solutions in a mixture of tragedy and comic moments.