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:
With members of the Numeriprimi Company I organized a public lecture about Pirandello’s The Giants of the Mountain (I giganti della montagna) for the students of the Italian Lit course at the University of Parma (Prof. Marzio Pieri). It included a dramatized reading, with actors working vocally to portray the many roles each of them was called to play. While stage directions were read aloud, a visual artist drew each character on a series of large sheets, building up to the impressive final scene where each of them was visible simultaneously around the theatre.
Read an article published by the Gazzetta di Parma (in Italian):
Montecuccoli Tower, Pavullo and Monteceneri Tower, Lama Mocogno, Modena, Italy
This site-specific Hamlet summer project was held at two historical locations, very different spatially, a remodeled castle that normally functioned as a museum hall and a multi-level medieval tower near Modena, Italy. I directed Act III in a postmodern experimental way: for instance, the dialogue between Hamlet and the Queen (scene 4) occurred three times, in separate versions that spanned the range between ironic detachment and intense emotional involvement. Overall, my interpretation of the whole act derived by a sense that every character is constantly under surveillance and every scene is being watched by someone else within the world of the play. For the same project, I appeared as one of the play-within-the play masked actors.
This extended monologue was a stimulating collaboration with Cecilia Vecchio, an actress from Teatro della Tosse (Genova), on a dramaturgy juxtaposing several female characters from Eduardo De Filippo’s oeuvre. I collaborated on this project to weave the different scenes into a coherent performance, which became Un caffè sospeso, a reference to the Neapolitan tradition of leaving a cup of coffee paid for, for the next customer who might need a free one.
Teatro del Battito and Teatro della Memoria, Milan, Italy.
Piccolo Teatro Caligola, Aversa, Naples, Italy.
For a while I collaborated with an energetic company of young actors, I Mercenari in Milan, Italy. This show took its title from the fact that many scenes from different plays were tied together in the context of an asylum, which gave us a lot of freedom in experimenting. The show had quite a few versions adapted for different types of venues, from regular theatres to outdoor settings and dinner theatres.
Even with all the Bard’s words, the most impressive scene remained the final silent one, where all the performers gradually wrapped themselves up as a group in a long yellow sheet. Here is where I came to fully realize the power and intensity of pure images.
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.
A contemporary script satirizing the dangerous overlapping in the Italian system of media and politics, both under the influence of prime minister Berlusconi, here called “The Man Who Smiles.” The cool part was that since each of the components of the company “Movimenti Maldestri” was working in the same fashion magazine (Vogue Italia), we received both costumes by Moschino and coverage on the national magazine Panorama.
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.