Review: Exuberant Comedy "D.D.D!" Gets an A

D.D.D! Donne Donnette Donnacce

Written, directed, and choreographed by Tiziana Troja

Presented by LucidoSottile

May 12, 2023 at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, 24 W 12th St, Manhattan, NYC

May 14, 2023 at Vino Theater, 274 Morgan Ave Suite 201, Brooklyn, NYC

Michela Sale Musio and Tiziana Troja. Photo from www.casaitaliananyu.org
It seems fitting that the final Manhattan performance of the 2023 In Scena! Italian Theater Festival–taking place throughout NYC's five boroughs from May 1st through 16th, with free admission to all events–is, at bottom, a show about being in a show. D.D.D! Donne Donnette Donnacce, presented in Italian with English supertitles by Tiziana Troja and Michela Sale Musio's multidisciplinary theater company LucidoSottile, presents a very funny, very meta look at performance and performers. At the heart of the show, which is making its debut at the festival, beats a delightful blend of satire and celebration.

Troja and Sale Musio play a pair of actors who share their names and who have taken the unusual step of auditioning for a TV drama as a pair. Playing to a degree on blonde versus brunette stereotypes, the former is a self-promoter in stilettos willing to say whatever she thinks her interlocutors want to hear, while the latter's persona is that of the straight-talking Artist unconcerned with pleasing others. They are being evaluated by a director (Angelo Trofa) and his amusingly unsparing assistant (Valentina Fadda), a conceit which affords the opportunity for a variety of comic set-pieces, from hilarious individual interviews in which the pair undermine one another (deliberately) and themselves (inadvertently) to an equally funny sequence juxtaposing Michela's 1980s-saturated dance routine and Tiziana's Whitney Houston karaoke.

Watching this duo rap together or perform a pair of less-than-culturally-sensitive characters whom they have created would be entertaining enough, but there is more going on here as well. An early turn–which fans of a certain classic film may anticipate–foreshadows more and more, to borrow the show's own word, Pirandellian turns to come, and when the audience may least expect it. At least one of these shifts boasts a satisfyingly feminist bent, a subversion of expectations that one might link to the Donne Donnette Donnacce of the show's title, which our very rough, internet-assisted translation suggests means women, women, women, with the final "women" carrying the sense of "broads" or "hussies." Indeed, one can view a number of discrete jokes in the production as forming a throughline concerned with women's assumed roles and how they are seen–or not seen–in the performing arts. If there were a casting call for a smart, adventurous, and irresistibly fun production, D.D.D! Donne Donnette Donnacce would surely get the part without even a callback.

-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards

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