Not Able to be Re-educated

  • December 8, 2011 9:57 pm

Playwright Stefano Massini

“Art is the strongest reason that man has to being on the planet.”

Stefano Massini, playwright of Act 1: A Stubborn Woman: a theatrical memorandum on Anna Politkovksaya sat down with Actress Carolina Gamini in Florence. Since the video is in Italian, Carolina & Bari translated it. For our Italian speakers, we’ll get you the video soon!

 

Q: What compelled you to write A Stubborn Woman?
SM: Simply, when I found out about her death, of which I knew absolutely nothing, the thing that struck me the most was that someone had decided to eliminated this
journalist’s voice so that nobody would hear about what she committed her life to
reporting. I thought, in my small way with my profession, that I would be able to
go against this plan by writing a theatrical piece that would increase the number
of people hearing the story and get to know the story of Anna Politkovskaya. As a
consequence I wrote this text to go against the plan of those that decided to silence and muffle her voice.

Q: Can you tell us something about some of your other works?
SM: Currently I am writing a text that is the story of a trio of women who are interpreted by the same actress and who changes her the role she is playing according to the light shifts. It is the story of three women: a Palestinian, an Israeli and a female soldier who find themselves living in the same situation, the same moment and who talk about one another. Other texts that have been on stage: an adaptation of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the story of Van Gough when he was in the mental asylum, IL TRITTICO DELLE GABBIE which that takes place in a closed space allowing the audience to experience the internal life of three different inmates.

 

Florence performance last summer. Photo by Lucca Fontanella.

Q: How did you become involved with The Global Theatre Project?
SM: I became involved when I was a part of the organization of Festival della Creatività in Florence and was put in touch with Bari Hochwald, the Artistic Director, through a mutual friend. After a long exchange of emails with her, I sent her the text on Anna Politkovskaya which she read the text and was moved by. So much so that she decided to work on it. I had an experience of working with the students from the Theatre Immersion Project with Bari here in Florence and from this, the possibility to stage the play in Los Angeles arose.

Q: Can you tell us something about the experience from last summer?
SM: It was a very particular experience for me, as it always is every time this text is approached. Usually theatrical texts have written characters. But this text, on the other hand was written as a very open text with no characters. There are just a flow of words that can be interpreted either as a monologue by an individual actor or by a chorus. For example I remember that also here in Italy it was staged by two actors, a male and a female, directed by me and they shared the role of Anna Politkovksaya and at the same time there was also a great actress, Ottavia Piccolo, who did the performance as a monologue. She continues to perform it this way. In Brussels an additional performance has been done with 5 actors. In Bavaria there were two actors. In Teatre d’Europe it was represented with 25 actors. So there are various ways of staging this text. I was also intrigued to see the way that The Global Theatre Project approached it last summer using both singular and choral voices.

Q: Did you like this approach?
SM: It was very successful and interesting for me to see how it worked in English. Because English is a very theatrical language and was very interesting to hear how it sounded in the English language. And the actors were very good.

Q: Why did you leave the text open in this way for interpretation?
SM: I didn’t want to limit it but wanted it to be open and free for any theatre artist to perform and interpret. This text is different from my other work. With this play, I have never controlled the environment of the presentation or given the rights to some people and not to others to perform the show. I want this text to be presented in any way possible so that Anna’s voice can be heard and appreciated by everyone.

Q: What struck you the most about Anna’s story?
SM: Simply her courage. We live in a period where each one of us, due to our extreme individualism, look toward ourselves too much of the time. And we completely forget the situations outside ourselves. We have just come out of an era where it is 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. With that event ideologies have also fallen…. both the communist and anti-communist ideologies. Now we have entered into a moment with the collapse of the capitalist economy. It is very strong to see these people protesting in front of Wall Street. It is the collapse and breakdown of everything that had animated the 20th century ideologies. Ideologies that looked to taking care of what was not only individualist but collective. Including the working class, capitalism, economic growth, political and religious motivations and so on. Today we are witnessing a phenomenon which is completely opposite. We are witnessing the collapse of group ideologies and the rebirth of individual instinct. It is a selfish era that we are living in now.

While Anna Politkovskaya is exactly the opposite of all this. She lives for her cause in a post Soviet, post ideological

Florence last summer. Photo by Lucca Fontanella.

Russia. In a Russia that no longer has an ideology that unites it. But where the most anarchic, diverse tendencies are enacted (so much so that a war is needed for uniting the country). And her life demonstrates the value of living for a cause greater than herself. I find this something which is totally against the norm and holds great value in the sharing of it.

Q: Do you think that art has a power in the world?
SM: Yes, the strongest power that exists. In the sense that the human being differentiates itself from other animals because he is capable of creating art. Which doesn’t mean that the magnificent dams built by beavers and the beehives of bees aren’t extraordinarily artistic, but the Sistine Chapel or the Pergola Theatre, where we are now, are testimonies of the genius of man. Art doesn’t only have the possibility of communicating. Art is the strongest reason that man has to being on the planet. It is not politics, it is not economy, it is art that makes the difference.

I would like to also say something, which is that I have always been surprised by the translation of A Stubborn Woman, with the use of the word ‘stubborn’. The title is not exactly translated correctly. Because the title in Italian literally means ‘A woman not able to be re-educated’. But that doesn’t sound very good. That is what the title actually means, however.

Supporter Spotlight: The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC)

  • December 5, 2011 2:00 pm
Florentine Playwright Stefano Massini's play premieres this Sunday

Our supporters and partners are invaluable to the work of The Global Theatre Project and beyond. If we had a nickel for every wonderful deed or talent donated, there would be no need to fund-raise! From the very beginning, The Italian Cultural Institute offered their assistance, and we are grateful for the exposure to their…

Announcing the Cast for US Premiere

  • November 3, 2011 11:41 am

Photography by Lynzie Grey. Click on image to see more pictures & quotes from our first rehearsal.

 The GTP is thrilled to announce our dedicated ensemble, giving their time and talents to the US Premiere of our bilingual presentation:

 A STUBBORN WOMAN: A THEATRICAL MEMORANDUM ON ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA
BY FLORENTINE PLAYWRIGHT STEFANO MASSINI
DECEMBER 11
as part of our end-of-year celebration 
 

 

 

CAROLINA GAMINI is a British trained actress who has been working in film and theatre since 2001. She studied Duo-Acting for six years with the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and later moved to Florence, where she now lives, and continued to study both at film school and with individual Italian and American acting coaches until 2006. Her Italian-Argentine background and British schooling allow her to act in Spanish as well as English.

Among other lead roles Carolina played an Italian Juliet in Romeo e Giulietta in 2005, she was Agnes in 2007 in an English production of Agnes of God, in 2009 she combined “Commedia dell’Arte” with Stanislavski and her three languages to play all the female roles in a bilingual production of The Comedy of Errors. Recently she played Gus in a female production of The Dumb Waiter and last year debuted on her own on stage as Leslie in Her Big Chance, Talking Heads.
Her performance in the short film “Carlos y Anna” won her Best Lead Actress in the Cinema Libero Film Festival in Rome in 2009. In 2005 together with five other actors, she co-founded La Compagnia Del Giallo, a successful, interactive and improvisation-based theatre company, with which she continues to perform regularly all over Italy. 

 

 

 

 HENRI LUBATTI is a member of the Antaeus theater company in Los Angeles.His theater credits include work at the Mark Taper Forum, SouthCoast Repertory Theater, The Old Globe in San Diego, the Seattle Repertory Theater, and the Intiman Theater in Seattle. Henri starred in the Showtime drama series “Sleeper Cell.” He was last seen guest starring on the shows: “Grimm” and “Supernatural.”

  

 

 

 

 

 

 JUDITH SCARPONE: Credits include THEATRE (BROADWAY):The Twilight of the Golds (BOOTH THEATRE). Over 100 productions OFF-B’WAY and REGIONALLY: The Kennedy Center, The Hartman, Pasadena Playhouse, The Paramount, Walnut Street, Marines Memorial Theatre, Syracuse Stage, GeVa, Whole Theatre Co., Bergenstage etc., LOS ANGELES: Theatre @ Boston Court, The Odyssey, The Hayworth, The Court, The Coronet, The Canon, The Hudson, The Open Fist, The Road etc.

INTERNATIONALLY: Florence International Theatre Co.,The Global Theatre Project in Florence,Italy. TELEVISION: Co-Starred in several Movies for Television including “Rosanne:Portrait of a Domestic Goddess,” “A Case for Murder,” “A Match Made in Heaven,” “The Twilight of The Golds.” Guest Starred on Episodics such as “Hung,” “Law & Order,” “Lincoln Heights,” “ER,” “Dragnet,” “The Education of Max Bickford,” “Drew Carey,” “Ellen,” “One Life to Live” (recurring), “All My Children” (recurring). Series Regular on Showtime’s critically acclaimed “Bedtime”. RECENT FILMS: “Everybody Wants To Be Italian,” “Jesus,Mary,& Joey,” “Welcome Back Miss Mary,” “The Manual & Divorced White Male”. Member of The Open Fist Theatre Co., The Road Theatre Co. and Board Member of The Global Theatre Project.

 

ENSEMBLE

LISA CIRINCIONE is thrilled to be working with The Global Theatre Project again after having been part of several inaugural productions back in Florence, Italy. Theatre credits include: The Jersey Shore House, A Dog in Space and Juliet in Doublets and Hose (a loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet) directed by April Webster, all at The Blank Theatre. Also seen in the world premiere of Loyalties at Pacific Resident Theatre (108 performances including 2 sold-out extensions). With the Grand Guignolers in A Grand Guignol Kabarett and A Grand Guignol Children’s Show* not for children. FOR PACIFIC STAGES: Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero and Lee Blessing’s Great Falls with Alan Blumenfeld. EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL: Johnny Guitar and the award winning Star Wars Trilogy in Thirty Minutes. Neil Simon’s I Ought to be in Pictures at the Long Beach Playhouse, Douglas Carter Beane’s The Country Club, Lorca’s Blood Wedding, Anita in West Side Story and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. Lisa is a graduate of the B.F.A acting program at U.S.C. and a proud member of Actors Equity. She currently studies with Diana Castle at The Imagined Life. Lisa is also the founder and president of English Language Universal, a L.A. based language institute, which teaches English to artists and diplomats from around the globe. www.englishlanguageuniversal.com. Tanti Grazie a Bari e inboca a lupo. 

 
ALEXANDRA GOODMANCelebration, Cousin Bette, Arcadia, The After Dinner Joke,Camino Real (Antaeus); Arcadia (Sierra Madre Playhouse); Uncle Vanya, Rhinoceros, Freud Scenario (Wright Theatre), AntigoneMidsummer Night’s Dream,Steel Magnolias (City Theatre).  Films include “The Selling,” “Stik Men,” “Brain Dead” and “Fear Ever After,” and the hilarious webseries “Lien On Me.”  She is a proud member of the A2 Ensemble, Antaeus’ young company.

 

 

KATE MAHER has a BFA from University of Southern California.  While there, she was seen in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Mansfield Park, Playing with Fire, Barbarians and The Crucible.  She is also a proud member of Antaeus’ A2 Ensemble and New American Theatre Company (formerly known as Circus Theatricals).  Kate is honored to be working with The Global Theatre Project on such a worthy cause.

 

  

 STEVE MAZUREK Currently can be seen in Hollywood in Show At Barre’s concert series For The Record: Tarantino, Baz LuhrmannCoen Brothersand John Hughes, Also with Show At Barre: Rocky Horror (Brad), Hip Hipsteret,and Stoned Soul Picnic (The Music of Laura Nyro). Steve has travelled around North America as a featured solo artist with the Cincinnati Pops, Vancouver Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.  LA THEATER: Les Miserables (Hollywood Bowl), Great Expectations (Odyssey Theater), REGIONAL: Yeast Nation (PCLO), The Irish Crossing (Pittsburgh City Theater) and As You Like It (Unseam’d Shakespeare). TV debut this summer in HawthoRNe on TNT. Steve is a graduate of The Interlochen Arts Academy and received his BFA in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University.

   

 

 

 
 
JASON THOMAS is a graduate of the Acting Program at the University of Northern Colorado.  Jason is an A2 Ensemble member at Antaeus.  Theater credits include Cato in Julius Caesar at Theatricum Botanicum, Henry Furley inEasy Virtue at Antaeus, Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hermosa Beach Playhouse, Brad in A Devil Inside, Renfield in Dracula, Agamemnon inApollo and Cassandra, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Grumio in Taming of the Shrew, Boulot in Paradise Hotel, among others.  Television credits include “Cold Case,” “12 Corozones,” and “Fed Up.”  Jason can spin flat items extremely well and make balloon animals.  Thank you for supporting the theater.

 

  

 

RANDOLPH THOMPSON: Favorite productions include Shortlived 2.0 (PianoFight L.A.), Monkey Madness (L.A. Theatre Ensemble), Dancing vs. The Rat Experiment (LaMama, E.T.C.), Schriebstück (U.S. & Canadian Premieres), Roberto Zucco (The Ohio Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Baryshnikov Arts Center), and Twelfth Night (The Wild Project). Graduate of Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

 

 __________________

The Global Theatre Project

in association with Amnesty International

in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute

presents

ESPECIALLY NOW

Create the World Together

December 11, 2011

at the Los Angeles Theatre  Center in historical downtown LA

Ticket information here

 

7.00pm Bilingual Performance | Act One includes the US premiere of ‘A Stubborn Woman, a theatrical memorandum on Anna Politkovskaya’ by Florentine playwright Stefano Massini.  Presented bilingually in English and Italian with supertitles. Directed by Bari Hochwald & Produced by Deirdre Murphy.

8:45pm Panel: Journalists’ Civil Rights | Act Two is a panel discussion which explores the impact on civil rights and democracies when journalists suffer violent reprisal for reporting truth in conflict zones, and why we in the states should care about this issue. Panel announced in November.

9:30pm Reception & Action | Act Three offers the choice of a cocktail with the event participants in the theatre or engaging in an human rights action in the lobby with members of Amnesty International.

Click here for more information or to buy tickets to the event | Save the Date Press Release

 

 


In Memory and in Questioning

  • September 10, 2011 5:43 pm

On September 11, 2001 a horror happened on US soil which, in  my observation, did two particular things.  It woke us up and it closed us in. 

I watched back then as the extremity of positions were identified and then held with no middle ground.  The left, the right – everyone took sides.  Up to that moment I generally followed the lead of my party.  I voted without thinking, I believed ‘we’ were in the right and ‘they’ were in the wrong on any given issue.  But my observation after 9/11 was that this became even more extreme.  And that, as each day went by, ‘my side’ looked and sounded very much like ‘their side.’  The words were possibly different, but the energy and fear behind it all seemed very much the same.  And that is when I stopped.

For about a year I didn’t sign petitions, call my representatives, write letters without reading as much as I could about the facts.  I stopped believing just because I heard it on the news, whatever ‘it’ was and whoever was reporting ‘it’, that truth was being reported.  I questioned everything and everyone.  And, for a long time, I took very little action.

I believe that, clearly, The Global Theatre Project is a result of the events of September 11th.  A slow decade-long development of a response to a day that I, like all others in our country and many around the world, will never forget.  Too many things were put into motion that day.  We could no longer collectively deny that there were some who truly hated us as a nation and a culture.  In our terror we looked to our borders and began, slowly, to close them.  But in those ten years something else has happened.  We stopped talking to each other and started screaming at each other.  We stopped discussing.  We took positions, found the borders which gave us comfort in confirming our sense of self.  And we held our ground.  Immobile.  Right.  All others… wrong.

Also during that time we have lost a good deal of respect in many foreign countries, and are now a military nation weakened both in our economic power and our legitimacy as the shining, pristine example of democratic values.  And during that time we have watched a generation of young Americans entering college who are defined over and over again by their parents and educators as having too strong a sense of unearned entitlement.

These, of course, are my personal observations.  How do they connect to The Global Theatre Project?  Because my burning question based on these thoughts has been: given where we are, what do we do now?

I believe there is only one answer to this question.  Which is to learn a deeper truth than ‘us’ and ‘them.’  To step away from positioning and holding ground which continues to remind us that the world is a hostile place, while we participate daily in its growing hostility.

We are all connected.  The question is do we choose to continue creating a world where our most significant connections are based on violence, territorialism, intolerance and injustice or are we ready to make a sincere effort toward a global change that is, in my mind, the only one which will secure a healthy future for us and, yes, as importantly, our neighbours.  That sincere effort requires new systems and approaches which lead us to an understanding that our connection is found through exploring what common ground we stand on.  Who we are…. As individuals, cultures and nations and how that serves an expansion of our understanding of what we are as a common humanity.  From there we can shape our future proactively, not reactively.  In my mind, this is our only hope for survival.

The Global Theatre Project launched its work by bringing attention to the situation in Belarus and the struggle and enormous courage and talent of the Belarus Free Theatre.  Our most recent project included staging a work by Florentine playwright, Stefano Massini, which was inspired by the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in ‘Una Donna Non-Rieducabile’ (A Stubborn Woman).  With each piece the artists, students and the public associated with it expanded their knowledge of suffering in the world.  But to me, that is not the true point of their work.  Or of ours.  The true point is not to bring attention to suffering so we can point to it from a distance.  The true point is to FEEL their situation and know it is our own suffering we feel.  Human suffering.  Needless and pointless.  But it exists.  It exists for as long as we choose.  And, in order to even begin to imagine that it could change, we must take a look at the core of this issue.

The anniversary of 9/11 has inspired us to take a theme that has strongly emerged for me this year at The Global Theatre Project and expand it into a multi-year inquiry.  That theme is ‘Who Is The Enemy?’ which I am announcing now as an open inquiry which we will explore in various ways over the course of the next five to ten years.  It will include everyone from children to adults, it will partner with varying institutions, cultures and individuals, it will reach beyond the discipline of theatre and of the arts,  it will evolve into its own life.

In the scene from ‘A Stubborn Woman’ entitled ‘The Intelligent People,’ Massini demonstrates so elegantly and devastatingly that taking sides is an intellectual decision and that, in the end, the viciousness of the Chechnians and the viciousness of the Russians is simply. . . viciousness.  At the graves of children and innocent people, taking sides becomes utterly irrelevant.

Ten years ago I began to see that the view from one immobile position might make us feel secure, but it requires demonizing ‘the other.’  There is no future in that.  In order to move a way from this view, we have to be courageous enough to look ‘the other’ in the face and ask ourselves in as many possible ways as we can imagine ‘Who Is The Enemy?’

Possibly with this question, we can find a reason for the loss of life on September 11, 2001.  And the loss of life that, needlessly, continues.

In memory and honor of Laura Rockefeller.  Who I made theatre with when I was young.

——————

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