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Erika Urban Brings Mia Martini to New York: My Last Night-Mia Martini, A Life

My Last Night-Mia Martini, a life, an adaptation of Aldo Nove's book, debuts at the InScena!Festival

We interviews Erika Urban, the main actress of the monologue on Mia Martini, directed by Michele De Vita Contoi. any things have been said on the singer's death, hers is a universal story against ignorance and preconceptions.

My Last NIght – Mia Martini, a Life (an Erika Urban production) is a monologue on Mia Martini during her last moments before her death. The play is an adaptation of Aldo Nove’s book “Mi chiamo..” – “My Name Is…” – which is about the Calabrese singer from her joyful adolescence to the difficult relationship with her family, and her great love for music. For a series of coincidences, at the peak of her success a rumors starts to get around saying that Mia Martini brings bad luck; this slowly becomes an overbearing shadow for her. A morning in May 1995, the singer is found laying on her bed, headphones still on. She was working on a song. Erika Urban gives voice and flesh to Mia Martini by telling her story and portraying her life of childish dreams and her torn apart family by a father who is always absent or, when present, violent.

How was this project born?

Early in 2013, Aldo Nove was finishing his book on Mia Martini “Mi chiamo…” – My Name Is… – published by Skira and, in Berlin, he met Michele De Vita Conti, an old friend of mine. Michele fell in love with Mia Martini’s story right away and they decided to work together on the dramatization of the novel. Then, Michele thought about me to interpret the role of Mimì, and I was glad to accept.

What are the strong points of the show? Why should people go watch it?

It’s a show in which I tell a true story, there are no tricks on the facts nor on the emotions. Everything happens there, in that instant, on that bed, during her last night. It’s a moment of great emotional sharing.

What does it mean to you to perform in New York?

I am very proud I have been chosen for this theater festival, and it was my goal to bring this show everywhere, even outside of the Italian borders. I have never though that my first stop would have been New York, the city of my dream as a teenager! I am happy I can perform for an audience of Italians and Americans, because I deeply believe in the universality of the massage of this show, and I am curious to experience their reactions.

Erika Urban in a scene from My Last Night – Mia Martini, A LIfe – Photo by Marta Valenti.

What decisions did you have to make when adapting Aldo Nove’s novel for the stage? Is it a true adaptation?

Aldo Nove and Michele De Vita Conti worked together on the stage adaptation of the book: the monologue was shortened, but the text wasn’t modified, because the book is already in a monologue form.

Do you think this show could bring the new generations closer to the character of Mia Martini? Why?

In the past few days I heard the news that a documentary on Mia Martini is being shot in Italy. I think it’s a signal that an artist like her keeps on having a great importance for both her extraordinary vocal and interpretative skills, but also to finally give voice to her humane story that was wracked by injustice and ignorance.

What do you feel when interpreting Mia Martini and telling her destiny?

Every time it’s strong emotion. Before going on stage I didn’t know her much, but, as I studied the character and investigated her story and her art, I completely fell in love with her. For me, being able to tell her story has also a civic significance, because nothing like that should happened again because bad luck doesn’t exist, only the lack of talent does, and so does the consequent envy and deep ignorance.

My Last Night – Mia Martini, A Life will be on stage at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò on May 16th at 8p.m. and at The Brick Theater of Brooklyn on May 19th at 7:30p.m.

For more information: InScena!

Translated by Giulia Casati.

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