News: Venues and Performance Schedule announced for 2020 In Scena! Italian Theater Festival [Postponed]

Small Funerals. Photo courtesy of 369grad

Update: March 16, 2020: This festival has been postponed until October 2020. Participating artists and venues to be confirmed.

The New York City-based Kairos Italy Theater along with the Italy-based KIT Italiana and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU will present the eighth annual In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY, a festival of Italian theater taking place in all five boroughs of NYC, April 27-May 11, 2020. We here at Thinking Theater NYC will be covering the festival, so look for reviews of all the shows once the festival begins.

Each year In Scena! presents a survey of the best Italian theater from Italy, in New York City. The festival features full productions that have already toured in Italy as well as readings of Italian plays in translation, lectures, and exchanges between Italian and International artists. The goals are to promote greater awareness of Italian theater and Italian artists among New York theatergoers and to build a bridge between the artistic scenes in Italy and New York. 

Participating venues include Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU (24 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011), Italian Cultural Institute in NY (686 Park Ave, New York, NY 10021), Advent Lutheran Church (2504 Broadway, New York, NY 10025), BAAD! - Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (2474 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461), South Bronx NeON Center (198 E. 161st Street Bronx, NY 10451), St. John’s Lutheran Church (81 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014), Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce Street, New York, NY 10014), The Brick (579 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211), Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside (647 Columbus Avenue, NY 10024), Greek Cultural Center (2680 30th Street b2, Astoria, NY 11102), Center of the Arts, College of Staten Island (2800 Victory Boulevard, Bldg 1P, Staten Island, NY 10314), and Casa Italiana Ente Promotore (595 1/2 3rd St NW, Washington, DC 20001). 

Admission to all shows and events in the festival will be FREE. All shows will be presented in Italian with English supertitles, unless otherwise noted. For more information please visit

Here is the full schedule for the festival:

Written by Maurizio Rippa
Performed by Maurizio Rippa (voice) & Amedeo Monda (guitar)
Presented by 369gradi

A spoken and musical score that alternates between small funeral rites and songs dedicated to the departed. An offering that is an act of love, a gift and a goodbye, an intimate and personal moment, which finds strength in music. Each song brings back a memory. Each funeral is conducted by the deceased themselves, and takes a journey through the life they lived. Small Funerals is a moving and sweet show capable of welcoming pain and turning it into a rebirth. 

Run time: 60 min Tue 4/28 at 7pm @ Advent Lutheran Church; Run Time: 30 min Thu 4/30 at 7pm @ BAAD; Sun 5/3 at 7pm @ St John Lutheran Church

Written by Paola Minaccioni & Alberto Caviglia
Directed by Paola Rota, Performed by Paola Minaccioni with Music by DJ Coco
Produced by Teatro Stabile d’Abruzzo with Stefano Francioni Produzioni

Paola Minaccioni’s characters appeared first on Italian TV, cinema, and radio, offering an insight into our times. Her show is a surreal sequence of characters that embody the doubts, fears and neuroses of today’s world. Dal vivo sono molto meglio (I am so much better in person) is a show that invites us to reflect on ourselves while displaying the absurdity of the society in which we live. Unwitting racists, improbable telephone assistants, refined poetesses, untouchable managers, up to her most famous imitations: from political leader Giorgia Meloni to pop icon Loredana Bertè to Roman actress Sabrina Ferilli. Paola Minaccioni hides and at the same time reveals herself behind all these incredible masks, guided by the notes of DJ Lady Coco, melodic counterpoint to a unique theatrical experience. 

Run time: 60 min Wed 4/29 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU

Written & Performed by Alfredo Traversa
Presented by AT / Babele

Based on a true story. A priest who lives in Rome confesses his sexual orientation. He is gay. He tells us about his childhood, his encounters, his choices, his suffering, his condemnation within the Church and his love for God. He is a priest and wants to remain one. La Confessione is the first Italian play to tell the story of a homosexual priest. Based on the novel by Marco Politi - a former Vatican scholar and biographer of John Paul II - La Confessione. A Gay Priest Tells His Story, performed and directed by Alfredo Traversa.

Run time: 65 min Thu 4/30 at 7:30pm @ BAAD; Sun 5/3 at 7:30pm @ St. John Lutheran Church

US, PUPPETS Story of a life shattered by racism (NOI, PUPAZZI Storia di una vita sconvolta dal razzismo)
Written & Performed by Marco De Simone
Produced by Associazione Campania Danza

Saul the puppeteer entertains his fellow villagers with the fairy tales he invents and stages for them. The advent of the racial laws of ’38 upends his life and that of thousands of people, but his puppets continue to tell their stories to those who flee and hide, offering them the opportunity to distract themselves, be moved, and smile, in spite of the unacceptable reality that surrounds them. 

Run time: 55 min Fri 5/1 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; Sun 5/3 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Ente Promotore

Written & Performed by Alessandro Tampieri

A story inspired by real events and told in 18 scenes about the life of Angelo P., who is arrested and exiled from Italy under Fascism for being gay. Angelo is a fictional character who is a symbol for homosexual persecution everywhere. 

Run time: 60 min Fri 5/1 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; Sun 5/10 at 7pm @ St. John Lutheran Church

Written & Performed by Bruna Braidotti
Presented by Compagnia di Arti e Mestieri 

Luisa is a lonely woman in a bathroom, standing alone on a stool in front of a mirror. She retraces her life, and her childhood appears in flashes of memory. The sexual violence inflicted by her own father. The ghost of the past in every man she meets. Only the memory of her mother will bring her some relief. 

Run time: 50 min Wed 5/6 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; Sat 5/9 at 7pm @ Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside

Written & directed by Maria Virginia Siriu
Based on the book by Salvatore Niffoi (Campiello Award 2006)
Performed by Carla Orrù, Fabrizio Congia & Marco Secchi
Presented by Theandric

A performance in the very ancient sardinian language from the Barbagia area. 1930s, life is ordered by traditional rules and the Fascist ones. The protagonist, Mintonia, is an out of the ordinary woman as she reads great books and chooses her own spouse. Something will happen that will dramatically change Mintonia’s life. She will show that she is no victim. 

Run time: 60 min Sat 5/2 at 8:30pm @ Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside; Sun 5/3 at 4pm @ Greek Cultural Center 

Written by Mary Jane Figtree, Directed by Richard Heap
Performed by Alessandro Gruttadauria & Wanja Mary Sellers
Produced by Figtree & Goldcave and Tzimtzum productions
Winner of the Audience’s Favorite Award (Camden Fringe Festival 2019)

Some things can only be said in bed! Based on the hit play Orgasmo e Pregiudizio (Orgasms and Prejudice), by Fiona Bettanini and Diego Ruiz. Celebrating in 2020 its 20th anniversary on stage, the show is a poignant, bittersweet comedy on relationships, loneliness and ageing. A pair of highly incompatible work colleagues are forced by circumstances to share a bed for a night in a sleazy motel, while sounds of love-making in the adjacent rooms make conversation a challenge. They end up learning many surprising things about each other and themselves. Presented in English. 

Run time: 75 min Sat 5/2 at 6:30pm @ Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside; Mon 5/4 at 8pm @ The Brick

Written & Directed by Angelo Trofa, Performed by Valentina Fadda & Leonardo Tomasi
Presented by Batisfera

“Theater on a table” for just 25 audience members per show. The Nation of the Gummy Bears starts a hopeless war by attacking the neighboring Nation of the Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs will easily prevail, and the Army of the Gummy Bears, and their Nation, will be permanently erased. 

Run time: 30 min Mon 5/4 @ 7pm & 8pm @ Cherry Lane Studio; Tue 5/5 at 7pm @ The Brick

Directed by Tiziana Troja, Performed by Felice Montervino
Produced by Lucidosottile

Loosely inspired by the novel The House of Asterion, by Jorge Luis Borges. The minotaur is a killer employed by the State to free the world from evil. Dangerous and disturbing yet seductive and captivating, both male and female at the same time, he mimics the pop stars of the world, believing himself to be a celebrity. He welcomes his victims in his mysterious world, to execute them with a refined procedure, which he believes to be unique and democratic. 

Run time: 48 min Tue 5/5 at 8pm @ The Brick

Written & Directed by Antonio Grosso, Performed by Marco Simeoli
Set Design by Alessandro Chiti, Costume Design by Marco Maria Della Vecchia

Through words and music, Marco Simeoli brings to the stage the many stories of his grandfather, founder of the most influential music store in Naples, MUSICA SIMEOLI. Memories of the Belle Époque, the Second World War, the economic boom of the Sixties and the great illusion of the Eighties come alive together with the many famous clients of Musica Simeoli, such as Totò, Roberto Murolo, Renato Carosone, Riccardo Muti, Pino Daniele and Massimo Troisi. 

Run time: 60 min Wed 5/6 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; Thu 5/7 at 8pm @ Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside

Written by Valentina Diana, Directed by Vinicio Marchioni
Performed by Marco Vergani, Presented by Anton

A city in Italy. A penniless radio speaker becomes friends with Abdul, the Egyptian who sells kebabs in his shop full of postcards from Egypt. The relationship between the two never really deepens, and only when Abdul disappears, his story emerges, dramatically linked to that of his country, politically and economically so far from the one he emigrated to. The audience faces many possible versions of the story. Where's the truth? 

Run time: 55 min Fri 5/8 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; Sat 5/9 at 8:30pm @ Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside


Semi-staged presentation of the finalists from the KIT Int’l Playwright series dedicated to Women in Comedy and the first edition of the In Scena! Award Ceremony.
Mon 4/27 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU

Led by Dave Johnson. A cultural exchange between In Scena! Italian artists and emerging writers from the South Bronx, Queens and Staten Island community. In English, Spanish and Italian. 

Thu 4/30 at 12pm @ South Bronx NeON Center


Pane Di Vita (Bread of Life)
Presented in collaboration with IDACO NY
Directed by Joanna Joy, Choreographed by Vita Carbone & Luke Mangraviti
Produced by Eloise Walker

A short film conceived at an elemental level with a man covered in water and a woman in flour, dancing till their bodies made dough. Run time: 16 min

mPalermu, Dancers, and Other Plays (Swan Isle Press, January 30, 2020)
Written by Emma Dante, Translated by Francesca Spedalieri

A book presentation of the first translation of some of the iconic plays by visionary director Emma Dante, one of the most exciting Italian theatre makers of the 21st century. With the participation of Francesca Spedalieri. Emma Dante’s lyrical storytelling stems from a visceral need to undertake an irreverent subversion of the status quo. The seven plays anthologized in this volume confront familial and societal realities in contemporary southern Italy, oscillating between the humorous and the tragic aspects of everyday life to challenge stereotypes and question economic disparity and gender inequality. 

Fri 5/8 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU

Reading of the winner of the 2020 Mario Fratti Award for emerging Italian playwrights. In English. 

Mon 5/11 at 6pm @ Italian Cultural Institute in NY


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