News: In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY 2024 Announces Performance Schedule and Awards

The New York City-based Kairos Italy Theater, along with the Italy-based KIT Italia and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, will present the 11th anniversary season of the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY, New York City’s premiere festival of Italian theater, from April 29th-May 13th in all five boroughs of NYC (and April 27th in Toronto). Performances will take place at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU (24 West 12th Street, Manhattan), Casa Belvedere (79 Howard Ave, Staten Island), Culture Lab LIC (5-25 46th Ave, Queens), Center For Italian Modern Art (421 Broome St 4th floor, Manhattan), The Brick Aux (628 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn), The Atelier at Theaterlab (357 W 36th St. 4th floor, Manhattan), BAAD (2474 Westchester Ave, Bronx), NOoSPHERE Arts (520 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn), and Playwrights Downtown (440 Lafayette St 4th floor, Manhattan). Admission to all shows and events in the festival will be FREE. All shows will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.

Each year, In Scena! presents New York City with a survey of the best Italian theater from Italy. 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 festival's goal is to promote greater awareness of Italian theater and Italian artists among New York City theatergoers, and to build a bridge between the artistic scenes in Italy and the US.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Opening Night

Monday, April 29 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU


Beppe Allocca. Photo by Caterina Ciabatti
Written & Performed by Beppe Allocca
Directed by Beppe Allocca and Roberta Provenzani

An exhilarating storytelling that through biblical stories, fashion writers, and artisans tells the origins of the rag-pickers (cenciaioli), the artisans from Prato (Tuscany) who have been recycling used clothing since 1850.
Tue 4/30 at 7pm @ Casa Belvedere; Sun 5/5 at 7:30pm @ Culture Lab LIC; & Fri 5/10 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo 
Running Time: 65 min


Photo by Salvatore Sinatra
Written by Luana Rondinelli
Directed by Giovanni Carta
Performed by Luana Rondinelli and I Musicanti (Gregorio Caimi - chitarra, Enzo Toscano - violoncello, Debora Messina - singer)
Produced by I Musicanti

The compelling human and judicial story of Francesca Serio, the first woman to denounce the mafia and mother of Salvatore Carnevale, the trade unionist barbarously killed by the mafia on May 16, 1955.
Wed 5/1 at 7pm @ Center For Italian Modern Art & Fri 5/3 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU 
Running Time: 73 min


Photo by Vincenzo Broccoli
Adapted from the original play by Eduardo De Filippo and directed by Rosario Sparno
Performed by Luca Iervolino, Antonella Romano, & Rosario Sparno
Costumes by Alessandra Gaudioso, Magic Tricks Coach Massimiliano Foà
Produced by Casa del Contemporaneo

“Everything that happens before your eyes is just an illusion.” On the 40th anniversary of one of the death of Eduardo De Filippo, one of the most important Italian playwrights, Rosario Sparno presents his own adaptation for only three actors of The Great Magic, the wonderful 1948 play by De Filippo about theatrical illusion and obsessional delusion.
Thu 5/2 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU & Sat 5/4 at 7:30pm @ Culture Lab LIC Running time: 66 min


Photo by Alexandra Grippa
Written & performed by Monica Faggiani

Using the stand-up style, the protagonist tells her story and her challenges as a feminist and as a mother of a teenage son.
Sat 4/27 at Villa Charities in Toronto; Fri 5/3 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU; & Sat 5/4 at 2pm @ The Brick Aux
Running Time: 70 min


Photo by Marco Constantino
Written & directed by Salvatore Arena and Massimo Barilla
Performed by Salvatore Arena
Set Design by Aldo Zucco
Original Music by Luigi Polimeni
Lighting Design by Stefano Barbagallo
Historical Consultants Giuseppe Gullotta & Nicola Biondo
Produced by Mana Chuma Teatro
At the age of 18, Giuseppe Gulotta is forced to confess to the murder of two policemen in a small barracks in Alcamo. The crime hides an unspeakable mystery: statesmen who deal with neo-fascist groups, arms trafficking, and drugs. In order to cover up the silence, any scapegoat would do. Through the “human” story of Giuseppe (but also those of Salvatore and Carmine – the other designated scapegoats) the play attempts to give justice to its personal dimension, that of a life nearly entirely taken away for dreadful reasons. The performance is the last chapter of the quadrilogy A Sud della Memoria that Mana Chuma has devoted to the contemporary history of Southern Italy.
Mon 5/6 at 8pm @ Theaterlab & Fri 5/10 at 6pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU
Running Time: 65 min


Photo by James O'Mara
By and With Maria Cassi and Leonardo Brizzi
Produced by Compagnia Maria Cassi
Presented by Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU

Small "musical" jokes through musical gags, catchphrases, human and non-human tics, passing through musical arrangements ranging from jazz to classical and popular music. An almost mimed performance, as per Maria Cassi’s tradition, assisted for the occasion at the piano by Maestro Brizzi.

Tue 5/7 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU


Photo by Malì Erotico
Written & directed by Edoardo Di Pietro
Performed by Renato Bisogni, Alessandro Errico, Marco Montecatino
Assistant Director Ceciclia Lupoli
Costume Design by Federica Del Gaudio
Organization Martina Di Leva
Produced by Collettivo lunAzione

The Visit is inspired by the admission system for weekly meetings with inmates at the Poggioreale prison in Naples. The tragicomic show presents situations experienced by women queuing to enter prison: a perpetual wait in daring and tense conditions, which outlines a symbolic humanity crushed by the apparent impossibility of change. The actors were an integral part of the creative phase through a stage writing process and by participating in a series of interviews with women who have experienced or are experiencing deep ties with the penal institution.
Wed 5/8 at 8pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU & Thu 5/9 at 7:30pm @ BAAD Running Time: 60 min


Photo by Elena Costa
Written by Annachiara Vispi & Giulia Macrì
Performed by Valentina Ghelfi and Giulia Macrì
Music & Composition by Lorenzo Saini
Presented in collaboration with Dominio Pubblico

This is Giulia. Like 55% of us, Giulia lives in a city. It is predicted that by 2050, almost 70% of us will live in a city - two thirds of the people on the planet. Giulia wonders if we'll all fit. Giulia doubts it. A piece for an actor and a dancer set on an imaginary Rome metro carriage / Paris RER line / New York subway / seat on the Tube / last Dart home. In cities we feel invisible, Giulia thinks. Or free.

Sat 5/11 at 6pm @ NOoSPHERE Arts & Sun 5/12 at 3pm @ Playwrights Downtown 
Running Time: 60 min


Valentina Valsania. Photo by Angelo Maggio
Written by Carolyn Cage, Translated by Edy Quaggio
Directed by Ester Tatangelo and Luchino Giordana
Performed by Valentina Valsania
Assistant Director Giulia Cosentino
Music by Arturo Annecchino
Lighting Designer Diego Laboni
Set Design by Francesco Ghisu
Costume Design by Ilaria Capanna
Produced by Hermit Crab Production

Giovanna returns to share her story with contemporary women, unmasking through documents the misogyny of the male leaders of the Church, state, and army. A teenager fleeing from a violent and alcoholic father, from a destiny of wife and mother, which had already marked her mother and sister. Giovanna dies for the right to wear men's clothes, she is a rebel, irreverent, more cunning than her judges, unrepentant, and unswervingly faithful to her own vision.

Sat 5/11 at 8:30pm @ NOoSPHERE Arts & Sun 5/12 at 8pm @ Theaterlab
Running Time: 75 min

Closing Night and Mario Fratti Award Ceremony

Mon 5/13 at 7pm @ Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU

In Scena! will also present its annual Mario Fratti Award to playwright Fabio Banfo for his play El Desaparecido. The winner of the Mario Fratti Award receives an English translation and reading of their play the day of the award ceremony, publication of their play, and the possibility of a future off-off Broadway production. The award will be presented to Mr. Banfo as part of the Closing Night Ceremony on Monday, May 13 at 6:30pm at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU. A reading of his play, translated by Carlotta Brentan and directed by Laura Caparrotti, will be presented as part of the ceremony.
Playwright Fabio Banto Photo credit: Silvia Cristofori
Héctor German Oesterheld, one of the greatest comics authors of all time, who disappeared in 1978, is the protagonist of Banfo's play, which intertwines the tragic events of an artist and his family with the most iconic character created by the author, the Eternauta, who in the homonymous comic had prophesied a dark and violent future for Argentina. The theatrical text uses the author's own imagery to tell the story and to represent the violent dynamics of the dictatorship, also evoking the connection with Italian history in the secret organization of P2, which had a sad role in the advent of the military junta of Argentine coup. This is a work in which fantasy and reality mix seamlessly to tell the story of an exceptional artist and one of the darkest pages in the history of the last century.

The 2024 Mario Fratti Award Jury includes composer Massimo Garritano (In Scena! Artist 2023), actress and writer Laura Lamberti, producer Elena Sartor, journalist and writer Sabrina Sciabica, and producer Sabrina Zavaglio (Zavaglio Productions). The jury noted the play's “Smooth writing, effective and courageous, marked by a clear and precise structure, in which originality and imagination are well used to serve the plot. The writing provokes empathy and involvement, the continuous contrasts are the winning feature of this delicate and moving piece.” 

Fabio Banfo was born in Vercelli in 1975 and studied acting at the “Paolo Grassi” School of Dramatic Arts in Milan. He has worked between Italy and South America (Chile and Argentina) as an actor, playwright, director, and pedagogue. A member of Guido Ceronetti's Teatro dei Sensibili, Fabio works permanently with the MaMiMò Theater Center of Reggio Emilia. He has received several awards and recognitions for his plays and performances. In his works, he mixes reality and imagination, taking inspiration from historical facts of the past or events of the present. His latest show Patria - the country of Cain and Abel tells the story of the years of lead in Italy.

Additionally, In Scena! will bestow on Randi Berry, the Executive Director of IndieSpace, its 2024 In Scena! Award for her tireless work in supporting indie theater, including international theater. Randi, the light and engine of IndieSpace, is always welcoming and supportive of anyone who is an artist with the many programs IndieSpace has created under Randi’s leadership.

Randi Berry Photo credit: Benjamin Spradley
In Scena! established the “In Scena! Award” in 2020, to be awarded by the festival organizers to a personality in the US who has contributed to the international theater dialogue over the years by supporting international theater in the United States. In Scena! organizers would like to recognize the many art makers and curators in the New York community who greatly facilitate the production of international theater.
Randi Berry, part of that community, is an indie theater maker and organizer with over 20 years of dedicated service to the performing arts community. As the Executive Director of IndieSpace, she oversees radically transparent, equity-focused funding, real estate programs, and advocacy for individual artists, theater companies, and indie venues. She is dedicated to removing barriers to access, coalition building, and partnerships. Her leadership led to the merger of Indie Theater Fund and IndieSpace in 2022, which together has provided over $2.5M in direct funding and countless hours of professional development and real estate advisory and consulting for the indie theater community.

Rossella Fava
The In Scena! Italian Theater Festival also collaborates with the Hystrio Award - Scritture di Scena, one of the most prestigious theater awards in Italy, to mentor a playwright on a play's translation and adaptation. The winning playwright travels to New York to work with a translator on the English adaptation of their play and to be mentored by a local playwright of Italian-American origins, continuing the work that Kairos Italy Theater and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU do to spotlight Italian-American playwrights.

In Scena! has announced that playwright Rossella Fava will be awarded the 2024 Hystrio Scritture di Scena at In Scena Mentorship with her play M(o)thers. The play is selected every year by the In Scena! Organizers in collaboration with Hystrio Award - Scritture di Scena committee. The 2024 mentor is Crystal Skillman, a playwright of Italian America origins, while the translator is Giulia Cowie, the official translator for the Hystrio Scritture di Scena Mentorship. Fava was born in Ragusa, and after graduating in Performing Arts and Sciences at La Sapienza University in Rome, Rossella studied acting at the Paolo Grassi Civica Scuola di Teatro in Milan. She is the co-author of the show Hot-calls Waiting, which in 2019 won the "Scintille" Award and the "La Giovane Scena delle Donne" Award. The same year she wrote and performed the monologue Tutte Loro, which won the "Tangram Teatro'' Award in Turin. With the text M(others), she received the nomination for the Hystrio Scritture di Scena 2023 Award consisting of a residency in New York with In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY. She combines her work as an actress and author with that of coaching for actresses and actors. Rossella collaborates with various cultural associations through scientific, political, and cultural research activity resulting in solidarity and socially useful actions. On May 8th, In Scena! will present an informal reading of M(others) by invitation only during the day and a panel titled “On Translating, Adapting and Producing International Theater for the American Stage” at 6PM at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU.

Partners for the 2024 festival include CIMA (Center for Italian Modern Art), Culture Lab LIC, BAAD Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, The Tank NYC, Casa Belvedere, NOoSPHERE Arts, The Italian Cultural Institute of Toronto, Villa Charities (Toronto), Hystrio Award, Dominio Pubblico, Civic School for interpreter and Translator Altiero Spinelli (Milan, Italy), We The Italians, and (yours truly) Thinking Theater NYC, so check back for reviews throughout the festival!


Popular posts from this blog

Review: The Immersive "American Blues: 5 Short Plays by Tennessee Williams" Takes Audiences on a Marvelously Crafted Journey

Review: From Child Pose to Stand(ing) Up: "Yoga with Jillian" and "Penguin in Your Ear" at the Women in Theatre Festival

Review: Nancy Redman’s "A Séance with Mom" Conjures Mother-Daughter Hilarity and Love