News: In Scena! Italian Theater Festival Announces 2020 Mario Fratti Award Winner & Online Celebration of Festival

Playwright Giorgia Brusco. Photo credit: PL Brusco

Kairos Italy Theater and KIT Italia together with NYU Casa Italiana have announced a month of May celebration of the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY. 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 and 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.  

The celebration includes four sessions of Versetto Libero (May 7, 14, 21 & 28, from 3 pm to 5 pm), where the Free Verse poets meet the In Scena! Artists online to collaborate in making and translating poetry, and a “meet and read” with the winner of the 2020 Mario Fratti Award, Giorgia Brusco, on Monday, May 11 at 4 pm via Facebook Live on the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY page. During the event, excerpts of the winning play, Crumbs of Joy (Briciole di Allegria), will be read under the direction of translator Caterina Nonis. More information on the livestream events can be found here

Named for the legendary Broadway playwright, the Mario Fratti Award has been awarded every year since 2014 to a previously unproduced play, chosen by a different jury every year among the many plays collected through a submission process. The winner receives a translation of his/her/their work into English as part of the MFA Collection and a reading of the translation. Since 2018, all MFA winners have been published by In Scena! under the MFA theater collection.

The Mario Fratti Award jury, comprised of honorary President, Celeste Moratti (Artistic Director, First Maria Ensemble, NYC, Registered Rodenburg Teacher, RRT), Ida Casilli (Independent producer, Moving Dreamers founder and co-director of ContrastInFusion project), Angela Vitaliano (feature writer), Roberta Bellesini (producer, 2019 In Scena! artist), and Antonella Romano (actress and visual artist, 2019 In Scena! artist), declared Giorgia Brusco’s Crumbs of Joy the winner because the “play packs a strong emotional impact, rendered through the style of its writing, and its plot. The writing is captivating and sharp, enhancing the fluid nature of the action. The plot is highly timely and treated with originality. It makes us smile with bittersweet sadness, and it is this contrast that gives the piece its lively spark. The play's story, characters and structure are universal and make it well-suited for translation.”

The play concerns Ida and Paolo, an elderly couple. Paolo, who's not allowed to eat sugar because of his diabetes, attempts to eat a Nutella sandwich in secret. He nearly chokes. His wife finds him struggling to breathe, and she thinks that the stains on his shirt are bloodstains. She begins to panic, convinced that Paolo's on the verge of death. She runs out onto the street to look for help. While she's gone, Paolo manages to swallow his sandwich, and settles back down like nothing happened. That's when Ida returns, still in her confused state, bringing with her a passerby who offered to help. But the passerby can't understand what the problem is...

Born in Imperia in 1977, winning playwright Giorgia Brusco holds a degree in Architecture from the IUAV University in Venice. In 2000, she graduated at the Scuola del Teatro Stabile del Veneto. She is a playwright, actress, and director. For 15 years, she has been involved in theater training, teaching at the Scuola Officina of the Teatro del Banchéro in Taggia, Imola and at the Riviera Musical in Alassio, Savona. She has collaborated as director and playwright with several theater companies throughout Italy, often making theater in prisons and for social groups at risk. She has written numerous plays staged in various Italian theaters and is the winner of the "A.Conti" Award with the play Il Raccolto.


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