Playwright Carlotta Corradi Wins First Mario Fratti Award

Italian realist playwright Carlotta Corradi was awarded the first Mario Fratti Award for Emerging Italian Playwrights on June 24 at the concluding event of the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY, which was held at Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Ave. The award recognizes her new play, “Via dei Capocci,” which was given a staged reading by the Festival the day before at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue.

The play is named for Via dei Capocci, a street in a working class neighborhood in the heart of Rome, which is known for its immigrant prostitutes and legendary landladies who rent them small rooms known as Neopolitan “bassi.” It tells the story of a meeting between a middle-aged landlady and a former prostitute from Eastern Europe who is seeking work as a housekeeper. Scenes from the present mix with flashbacks to the 1950s, where two young prostitutes search for ways to survive in a brothel, implying that one of the young prostitutes was the landlady in years past.

Mario Fratti, Laura Caparrotti, Founding Artistic Director, and Carlotta Corradi. Ms. Corradi holds emblem of the award, a painting of Mario Fratti done in red wine by Victoria Febrer. Photo by Claire Taddei.

At the award presentaion, Ms. Corradi was given an especially created portrait of Mario Fratti by Victora Febrer, a visual artist who paints in red wine. The ceremony also included readings of “Affabulazione” and “The Ghost of Sophocles” by playwright Pier Paolo Pasolini, to whom next year’s Festival will be dedicated. This year’s Festival was dedicated to playwright Eduardo De Filippo on the 30th Anniversary of his death.

Carlotta Corradi, born in 1980, is a theater director and documentarian. She started writing for the stage in 2010; her first produced play was “Lipstick-Commedia in tre strati piu’ epilogo.” She attended Rodolfo di Giammarco’s dramatic writing laboratory in Rome, after which she wrote “Via dei Capocci.” She has been active in a writing group led by Fausto Paravidino at Teatro Valle Occupato in Rome. In 2013, she wrote “Peli,” a play ciurrently touring under the direction of Ceronica Cruciani. She is currently working on her first screenplay.

Playwright Mario Fratti, for whom the award is named, is a prolific playwright and drama critic who was born in Italy but has been living in New York since 1963. He had a long run on Broadway with the musical “Nine” (adaptation of his play “Six Passionate Women” – Life of Fellini – film “8 ½”) and is author of 91 plays, which have been performed in more that 700 theaters in 19 languages. Speaking at the Festival’s concluding event, Fratti praised Ms. Corradi’s play, emphasizing its open hearted depiction of women’s lives, saying, “I like clear writers who write about people.”

The winning play was selected among over 30 submissions by a jury that included Fratti (playwright), Alberto Bassetti (multi awarded Italian playwright, director Teatro Lo Spazio, Rome), Emilia Costantini (theater critic for Corriere della Sera and playwright), Francesco Foti (actor/playwright), Giovanna Marinelli (theater consultant) and Ernesto Orrico (actor/director/playwright). Selection criteria were: quality of the writing (technique, style, fluidity, staging potential), originality of the subject matter, treatment of the Award’s theme (this year’s theme: women’s languages), and universality (potential to be meaningful in an international context, easily translated etc.).

The In Scena! festival is a program of Kairos Italy Theatre (KIT) and its Artistic Director, Laura Caparrotti. The festival presented six full productions, four readings, a conference and a poetry event between June 9 and 24, 2014. Events were held in all five boroughs for the second year. The Festival was inaugurated last year as an official event of “2013 Year of Italian Culture” in the USA, 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.

The festival is presented by KIT-Kairos Italy Theater in collaboration with The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, The Italian Cultural Institute in New York, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’, Bernie Wohl Community Center at Goddard Riverside, Calandra Institute for Italian American Studies, Dicapo Opera, the Belmont Business District Development, the National Italian American Foundation, the Arthur Avenue Market Association, The Secret Theater, The Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere, Manducatis Rustica and KIT Italia. Media Sponsors include La Voce di New York and In Scena! has the support of the Direzione Generale per gli Italiani all’Estero e le Politiche Migratorie del Ministero degli Affari Esteri italiano.