Kairos Italy Theater Spearheads ‘In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY’

Kairos Italy Theater (KIT), the preeminent Italian theater company in New York City, is organizing In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY, the first Italian theater festival to take place annually in all five New York City boroughs and beyond. The inaugural festival will be June 10 to 20, 2013. All events are free. The festival’s website is www.inscenaNY.com. The number for audience inquiries and reservations is (866)-263-2924.

In Scena!, Italian for “on stage!,” aims to create an annual celebration of Italian theater, both ‘made in Italy’ and ‘made in the United States.’ The program includes different types of theater that have been presented in Italy plus a sprinkling of Italian theater companies based in the United States that root their work in Italian culture.

This festival is part of “Year of Italian Culture” in the United States, presented under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic with the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. Year of Italian Culture takes place all over the US during 2013. Other presentations in NY include events at the Metropolitan Museum, at the Lincoln Center Festival, at the Frick Collection among others.

In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY will present Lidia Vitale as Anna Magnani in Solo Anna by Franco D’Alessandro, directed by Eva Minemar. Photo by Nicoletta Kalee.

The festival combines Italian companies from Italy performing shows that are already successful in Italy, staged readings of Italian plays translated into English and shows produced by Italian artists residing in the NY area.

Toplining the festival is the New York debut of “Solo Anna,” a tour de force performed by Lidia Vitale, written by Franco D’Alessandro, in which Anna Magnani, the great Italian film star, explores dramatic, funny and touching aspects of her illustrious career and fascinating life. The piece is presented on the 40th anniversary of the great actress’ death.

The festival includes two other full productions that are US premieres, two special events and four staged readings. It ends in an evening of three plays by America’s most famous Italian playwright, Mario Fratti. All events of this festival are completely accessible to English-speaking audiences. The performances are in a combination of English and Italian and the staged readings are in English.



Festival website: www.inscenany.com



EVENT – “Voices in the Desert” (Voci Nel Deserto)

Winner of the Pier Paolo Pasolini Award 2013, Rome, Italy.

June 8 and 9: Several performances between Noon to 5:00 PM on both days as part of Figment @Governors Island (Pre-festival events of In Scena!)

June 10, 8:00 PM, Inwood Shakespeare Festival (Inwood Hill Park Peninsula, northern Manhattan. Entrances at 218th Street and Indian Road also Isham Street and Seaman Avenue.) www.moosehallisf.orgRunning time: approx. 1 hour.

A concert of voices from the past, made in several languages, to recycle memory and understand that what is true now was true and important decades, even centuries ago.

Born from an idea by Italian author Marco Melloni, “Voices in the Desert” aims to collect fragments of thinking from the past in order to recycle memory. Fragments from literature, theater and public speeches of important international figures which hold deep resonance with current events are performed as a “concert of voices.” All references to the authors and the time period of origin are given only after the reading of each fragment. The surprise is that what appears to have been written today might have been written decades if not centuries ago. The performance is multi-lingual. Fragments are read in their original languages and sometimes in the languages they have been translated to.

In Italy, the project has been staged in theaters, universities. Over the course of four years it has involved more than 15,000 people and 140 artists in Italy as well as in Paris and New York City.

EVENT – Opening Night, “Celebrating Italian Theatre”

June 11, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

DI CAPO OPERA, 184 E. 76th STREET, MANHATTAN, www.dicapo.comA night celebrating Italian theater. The program includes live performances, readings and homages to Italian playwrights from all eras. Appearances by KIT-Kairos Italy theater company, AnabellaLenzu DanceDrama, Mare Nostrum Elements, Simona Rodano (The Italian fairy) among others. International guests are also invited to perform works of Italian theater in translation as well as to share their experiences in Italian theater (guests TBA). Mandatory RSVP at [email protected]. Please see festival website for more info, www.inscenany.com

EVENT – Panel/Performance: “Traveling Theater, Traveling Languages”

June 18, 6:00 PM, Calandra Italian American Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, 17th Floor, Manhattan

Performances by Teatro della Ginestra and Francesco Foti. Moderated by Lucia Grillo, Calabrisella Films.


PERFORMANCE – “Solo Anna,” written by Franco D’Alessandro, performed by Lidia Vitale, directed by Eva Minemar, produced by Tony Lepore/La Lupa Fest.

June 12 at 7:00 PM, Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere, 77 Howard Ave, Staten Island

June 13 at 8:00 PM, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU, 24 W 12th Street, Manhattan, www.casaitaliananyu.org

June 15 at 2:00 PM, Belmont Library and Enrico Fermi Cultural Center, 610 E. 186th Street at Hughes Ave. Bronx, www.bronxlittleitaly.com

Runs :80

Synopsis – Anna Magnani was the first non-American to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actress. On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of her death, this new one-woman show explores the many dramatic, funny and touching aspects of her illustrious acting career and fascinating life. The play is winner of the Anna Magnani Award 2012 and Best Actress at the Enriquez Award – Citta’ di Sirolo 2012. Performed in English and Italian.

Lidia Vitale trained in Italy, works between Italy and the USA, and has been collaborating with members of the Actors Studio for over 20 years. She founded the Actors Center in Rome together with Michael Margotta. She has worked in cinema and television with some of the most influential Italian directors such as Marco Tullio Giordana (“The Best of Youth”), Giuseppe Piccioni, Kim Rossi Stuart (“Anche libero va bene”), Sergio Castellitto and others. In 2007, she directed her first short film. In 2012, she made her Los Angeles debut with “Solo Anna.” In December 2012, she was part of the cast of “An Evening Dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Poet” directed by Dante Ferretti at MOMA during the museum’s retrospective on the great director. Vitale lives in Rome.

Franco D’Alessandro – Franco D’Alessandro, of New York, is an Italian-American playwright who studied and works between Italian and American cultures. He’s the author of the internationally acclaimed play “Roman Nights,” that explores the relationship between Tennessee Williams and Anna Magnani. “Roman Nights” has been translated into six languages and staged in seven countries.

PERFORMANCE – “Niuiorc Niuiorc”

Written, directed and performed by Francesco Foti – 75 minutes

June 14, 8:00 PM, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU, 24 W 12th St., NYC, www.casaitaliananyu.org

June 19, 8:00 PM, JACK, 505½ Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn, www.jackny.org

Synopsis – A journey across the Big Apple, based on a true travel diary. A ‘young’ 40-year-old ‘boy’ finds himself disoriented in the big city. He gets lost in the streets, avenues and parks of Manhattan while meeting a unique collection of characters. A funny, tender and original story about finding yourself in a foreign city. Performed in English and Italian.

Francesco Foti – After training at the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica Paolo Grassi in Milan, Francesco Foti worked in the theater for many years as a member of the famous Italian company Cavalli Marci Company (which debuted on Italian TV in 1996), where he was an actor and a playwright. He also appeared in several movies such as “Baaria” by Oscar-winner Giuseppe Tornatore and is very well known for his work in Italian TV movies. The play debuted in Catania, Italy in 2011 and has toured in Italy since then.

PERFORMANCE – “Jennu Brigannu” (Once Upon a Time there were Brigands) by Vincenza Costantino, artistic collaboration Nino Racco, directed by Ernesto Orrico. With Dante de Rose, Manolo Muoio, Ernesto Orrico. Produced by Teatro della Ginestra.

June 16 at 6:30 PM – Di Capo Opera, 184 East 76th Street, Manhattan, www.dicapo.com

Running time:55.

Synopsis – The stories of brigands during the unification of Italy as told by three actors in a stage that is set with three chairs only. An impressive adventure in storytelling by a theater company, the Teatro della Ginestra, which has worked since 1995 to find new form of theater communication. The group focuses on the use of the Calabrian dialect as a language for a new form of theater, linked to the past yet experimenting into the future. Performed in Calabrian Dialect with Supertitles.

Vincenza Costantino has curated publications such as “Teatro in Calabria 1870-1970” and “Tra dramma e vita, il teatro di Antonio Spadofora.” She has also written plays such as “Sulle acque sui rovi, storia di San Francesco di Paola” (published by Le Nuvole in 2007) and “L’emigrazione e puttana.” She has taught several courses in Media and Communication at the University of Calabria.

Teatro della Ginestra – Founded in Cosenza, Calabria, in 1995 by actor/director Dante de Rose and dancer/choreographer Antonella Ciappetta, Teatro della Ginestra is one of the most innovative and important theater producers in the South of Italy. They also organize “Indipendentemente Teatro,” a festival dedicated to the young production companies in the South of Italy, and “Esplorazioni,” a series of professional workshops for actors and dancers.

PERFORMANCE – A Tribute to Mario Fratti: Three one acts by the author of “Nine,” directed by Kevin Albert.

Equity showcase presented in collaboration with Mare Nostrum Elements (www.mnelements.org)

June 19 at 2:00 PM. To RSVP for this FREE festival performance, email: [email protected]

June 20 performance at 7:30 PM. This performance, the concluding event of this festival, is completely booked.

Production continues through June 23. Tickets for performances June 21-23 are $20. To purchase those tickets go to theatermania.com.

All performances at 7:30 PM, The Secret Theater, 44-02 23rd Street, Long Island City, Queens. More info: www.mnelements.org

The festival ends with three one acts by the renowned Italian author Mario Fratti: “Actors,” “Dina and Alba” and “Missionaries.” Directed by Kevin Albert, performed in English.

Mario Fratti has been writing for the theater since the ’50s and has published over 90 plays. He has lived and worked in New York City since 1963, after catching Lee Strasberg’s attention at the Festival of Spoleto. He has taught at Columbia University and at Hunter College. His works have been translated into 20 languages and produced in 600 theatres all over the world. He had a long run on Broadway with his 1982 musical “Nine” (adaptation of his play “Six Passionate Women” – Life of Fellini – film “8 ½”) starring Raul Julia. The musical was revived on Broadway in 2003 starring Antonio Banderas. Productions of Fratti’s plays have been awarded eight Drama Desk Awards and seven Tony Awards. Altogether, Fratti has won 33 theatre awards in Italy and 11 in New York City.

Mare Nostrum Elements was founded in 2001 by Italian performer Nicola Iervasi and American actor Kevin Albert. Since the beginning, they were committed to providing a nurturing and non-competitive environment for performers to explore different cultures and disciplines, producing both experimental and classic material. They have produced Off-Off and Off Broadway productions and have created the Wave Within! to provide working performers, students, and young adults with more comprehensive performance tools


STAGED READING – “Dealers of Souls” (Venditori Di Anime) by Alberto Bassetti

June 13, 6:00 PM, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU, 24 W 12th Street, Manhattan, www.casaitaliananyu.org

Synopsis – Two men are negotiating the sale of an old theater. The buyer, who seems to be a shady theater entrepreneur, promises to restore it. Actually, he intends to turn it into a supermarket. A strange actress appears, who may be a ghost of the theater, and saves the day. Performed in English.

Alberto Bassetti – Italian-born Alberto Bassetti, who lives in Rome, is an award-winning and much-produced playwright in Italy, Spain, France Czech Republic, Croatia, Venezuela, Chile and Austria. His play, “The Burrow,” has been staged in Italy and in Spain (1997 ‘Grec Festival’ in Barcellona and tour) and France (Theatre Nationale de la Colline in Paris, Italian Festival). “Dealers of Souls” has been presented at the Teatro di Roma, at the National Drama of Croatia, and in Prague at Narodni Divadlo in 2005, in both Italian and Czech versions. In 2012 his play, “The Cage,” was selected by Burgtheater Kasino in Vienna for the “Fine settimana italiano.” His works have been featured in Festivals in Chile (Festival of European Drama) and Venezuela. In September 2005 his first movie, “Above and Under the Bridge” (based on his own award winner play) opened at the World Film Festival in Montreal. He has also directed documentaries for the Italian national TV RAI. In 2012, his plays “Two sisters” and “Two Brothers” were presented in New York at Theater for the New City. Bassetti is director of Teatro Lo Spazio in Rome.

STAGED READING – “The Fridge” (Il Frigo) by Tommaso Avati

June 14 at 6:00 PM, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU, 24 W 12th Street, Manhattan, www.casaitaliananyu.org Perfomed by Dave Johnson (in English).

Synopsis – A man used to work for an important American company, but he has just been fired. He is now unemployed and spends his days at home as his relationship with his wife crumbles. His wife and their monstrous child wake him up early one Sunday morning in order to go to the shopping mall and buy a new refrigerator – the ultimate symbol of “what used to be and is not anymore.” But the trip to the shopping mall will bring something unexpected. Performed in English

Tommaso Avati – After completing a degree in Communications, Tommaso Avati started working as assistant director. Since 1997 he has written several screenplays, among them “Io & Carver: Ultimo frammento,” a documentary film produced by the prestigious Italian independent publishing company Minimum Fax that he also directed. In 2008, he wrote the script and screenplay of “Quell’estate,” a film directed by Guendalina Zampagli, which was presented at the Roma Film Festival. Among his works are also an essay on the meeting between Robert Altman and Raymond Carver and, more recently, more tales and plays. Avati was born in Bolognia and currently lives in Rome.

STAGED READING – “Marathon” (La Maratona Di New York) by Edoardo Erba, adapted by Israel Horovitz, directed by Laura Caparrotti, with Vincent Piazza and Ted Lewis

June 16 at 5:00 PM – Di Capo Opera, 184 East 76th Street, Manhattan,- www.dicapo.com

Winner of the Premio Candoni 1992; debuted at Teatro Due di Parma 1993 starring Italian stars Luca Zingaretti and Bruno Armando.

Synopsis – Two friends are training for the New York Marathon. But it is a strange night: one of them cannot recognize the path, nor does he remember how he got there. Performed in English. Actor Vincent Piazza is well known as Lucky Luciano in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and for the 2007 film “Rocket Science.” Actor Ted Bedlam is a core member of Theatre Bedlam, a company that mounts minimalist, high-energy productions of classics with ensemble members playing many roles.

Edoardo Erba – Edoardo Erba was born in Pavia, studied at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano and is now living in Rome. “Maratona di New York” is his most famous play; it has been translated into 17 languages, published in eight countries and staged all over the world. Among his other plays are “Muratori,” a cult classic after eleven years of performances, and “Margherita e il Gallo,” which has been produced at foremost Italian theaters. He was awarded many national prizes, including: Olimpici del Teatro, Riccione, Candoni, Salerno and Idi. His plays have been collected in two volumes published by the prestigious Ubulibri, as well as in specialized publications and magazines.

Israel Horovitz is the well-known American playwright whose plays include “Line,” “Park Your Car in Harvard Yard,” “The Primary English Class,” “The Widow’s Blind Date,” What Strong Fences Make,” and “The Indian Wants the Bronx.”

STAGED READING – “Mornings At Ten To Four” (Le Mattine Dieci Alle Quattro) by Luca De Bei, translated by Carlotta Brentan, directed by Laura Caparrotti, With Drew Bruck, Carlotta Brentan, Yosef Podolsky.

June 17 at 6:00 PM, Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, Manhattan.

Winner of several awards, including the 2010 Golden Graal Award for Best Directing and Le Maschere del Teatro Award 2011 as Best Original Italian play. Finalist of the Enrico Maria Salerno Theatre Award 2007 and of the Riccione Theatre Award 2009. The play debuted in Rome in 2009 and was published in Italy in 2010.

Synopsis – Every morning, at ten to four, three youths – a construction worker, a Romanian immigrant, and a girl – meet at the same bus stop. The setting is the suburbs of Rome, the time is the present. In the background are a love story, a friendship, and the controversial theme of death due to unsafe working conditions on construction sites. The lives of the three characters are told through the vivid slang of the slums. Performed in English.

Luca De Bei was born in Padua. His father hails from the Veneto region and his mother is Italian-American. Luca grew up in Naples and Genova, where he studied at the Teatro Stabile. He works as an actor, director and playwright. He has won many prizes for his work in the theater, among them: the prestigious Premio Flaiano Award in 2001 and the European Award for Drama at Heidelberg Festival in 2002.


Presenter Kairos Italy Theatre (KIT), led by Artistic Director Laura Caparrotti, is currently the theater company in residency at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU. Since its funding in 2000 in New York, KIT has produced more than 20 performances and events over the years, collaborating with Off-Off and Off Broadway theaters and with US Institutions such as The Kitchen, The Fringe Festival, the Abrons Art Center, Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo’ at NYU, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Film Society at Lincoln Center, Dahesh Museum of Art, NY Hall of Science, the Flea Theatre, Theater for the New City, Montclair State University, Suffolk County Community College, the Bernie West Theater at Baruch College, the cell theatre, the Cherry Lane Theatre, The Italian Cultural Institute in NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco and the General Consulate of Italy among many others. In May 2003, KIT inaugurated the Double Theatre Experience: one event performed first in English and then in Italian.

Support is provided by the Consulate General of Italy in New York and Ferrero USA Inc. as part of the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in the United States, an initiative held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington with the support of the Corporate Ambassadors Eni and Intesa Sanpaolo.

In Scena! is co-presented by the Embassy of Italy in Washington, The Consulate General of Italy, the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo at NYU, the Italian Culture Institute in New York, Di Capo Opera, The Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere on Staten Island, Mare Nostrum Elements in Queens, The Secret Theater in Queens, JACK in Brooklyn, AnabellaLenzu DanceDrama in Brooklyn, Inwood Shakespeare Festival, Moose Hall Company, Figment, Belmont New York Public Library in the Bronx, Bronx Little Italy, Bronx Business Development, Alto Jonio Dance Festival, Brindiamo! On NYC Channel 25, America Oggi and KIT Italia.

Jonathan Slaff writes on cultural events from the brainy, the edgy and the good. He helps us keep ahead of the curve in the world of the arts and culture.