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The Opening Night of In Scena! Leaves the Audience in Laughter and Tears

The 7th Edition of the Italian Theater Festival NY opened to a full house at New York University Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò Monday evening.

by Bianca Waechter and Arianna Wellmoney

Laura Caparrotti, director of the festival, with the KIT 10-minute play winners. Photo by Luca Mascia

Yesterday’s event featured short bits and monologues from a few of the plays that will perform in the following weeks as part of the festival. The performances included excerpts of As White as Fennel in a Salad with Andrea Ramosi, Spanker Machine with Michela Sale Musio, What Remains – on mobbing, shocking, and other amenities by Monica Faggiani, A Cottage of One’s Own with Natalia Magni, and A Passion, featuring Marco Vergani.

Marco Vergani performing a section from A Passion. Photo by Luca Mascia

In Scena! brings a survey of the best Italian theatre to the five boroughs of New York City, including full productions that have already toured in Italy, readings, workshops, lectures, and exchanges between Italian and international artists.

Yesterday’s event featured short bits and monologues from a few of the plays that will be performed in the following weeks as part of the festival. The performances included excerpts of As White as Fennel in a Salad with Andrea Ramosi, Spanker Machine with Michela Sale Musio, What Remains – on mobbing, shocking, and other amenities by Monica Faggiani, A Cottage of One’s Own with Natalia Magni, and A Passion, featuring Marco Vergani.

The In Scena! Festival – founded and co-directed by Laura Caparrotti with Donatella Codonesu – excerpts were followed by semi-staged presentations of the 10-minute LGBTQ play winners of the KIT playwright series, dedicated to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The four plays featured were: Sleeping with the Fish by Joe Gulla from the US, Threesome by Jack Hannon from the UK, 10 Minutes by Apo Kaya from Turkey, and Orlando, by Federico Cucco from Italy. The plays were a mixture of comedy and drama, but all revolved around LGBTQ issues. While all had the same overarching topic, they featured people from different countries, classes, situations and genders. Sleeping with the Fish for example, showed two tough Italian- American guys battling the frustration of their feelings for each other. This was brilliantly portrayed by Marc Lombardo and Nick Piacente, while 10 Minutes featured a trans woman from Turkey who went through some traumatizing events.

Laura Caparrotti

One thing that stood out among many of the performances was that they dealt with relatable scenarios. From a teacher talking about her frustrations, to hilarious references of Candy Candy–a popular Italian anime from the 70s–to Marco Vergani talking about God. They all featured mundane events and cultural references that especially Italian audience members could relate to and recognize humorous bits of themselves in them.

Marc Lombardo and Nick Piacente from Sleeping with the Fish. Photo by Luca Mascia

Another common factor among a lot of the performances was hidden truth. From the dramatic experiences that a trans woman lives through, to a boy who was forced to shoot a deer by his father to prove his manhood, to a secret meeting of two tough, closeted gay guys, the performances brought out truths not usually talked about. Pooya, while playing a trans woman, mentioned that we need to talk about our experiences and then pass them along. Theatre gives us the outlet to do so and connect to each other; this was fully achieved through yesterday’s performances.

The mission of In Scena!  is to bring Italian culture to all five boroughs of New York, to places where there normally might not be theatre performances, especially not Italian theatre. The admission to all plays is free in order to make it accessible to the public. The Italian plays will have supertitles and enable a non-Italian audience to get a sense of Italian culture.

New York is a city of immigrants. The city thrives on the fact that so many cultures co-exist at the same time. So, fostering those different cultures, especially in the arts, means fostering New York City. In Scena! finds a way to connect Italian-Americans to their heritage that they might have forgotten; at the same time it shows some of Italy’s culture to the non-Italian audience in New York. Mahatma Gandhi said that “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive”, so by featuring Italian artists in New York we can open up and deepen the conversation about different cultures and rejoice in each other’s differences.   

More information on In Scena! can be found here: https://inscenany.com/festival-2/

 

Spanker Machine, performed by Michela Sale Musio. Photo by Luca Mascia

        

                                      

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