Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


From February 3 to 21, 2010, Kairos Italy Theater (KIT) and The Cell will present the U.S. premiere of "Tosca e le altre due" (Tosca and The Two Downstairs), a satirical behind-the-scene of the Puccini's "Tosca" as imagined by one of the wittiest and most admired Italian playwright and actresses, Franca Valeri. The piece is directed by Laura Caparrotti, Artistic Director of KIT. The English translation is by Natasha Lardera. The play will be acted by Laura Caparrotti and Marta Mondell in Italian with English subtitles. Prologue and voice over are by Rocco Sisto. Set design is by Lucretia Moroni.

The piece will be staged at The Cell, a new multi-arts facility located at 338 West 23rd Street (between 8th Ave. and 9th Ave.) in Manhattan.

"La Tosca" by Puccini (1900) is an opera based on a drama by Sardou. Mario Cavarodossi, a painter who has concealed a dangerous political prisoner, is being protected by his lover, an Italian singer named Tosca. Mario is being tortured to reveal the whereabouts of the prisoner to Scarpia, the chief of police, who promises to save the painter by a mock execution if Tosca will give herself to him. She agrees, but stabs him at the last moment. The execution is, however, a real one and Tosca leaps form a battlement to her death.

On the night of the torture, the event is overheard from an adjoining room by two women, the wife of the torturer and the female caretaker of Palazzo Farnese where the interrogation is taking place.

It is the ninteenth century; the porter's lodge of the Palazzo Farnese is dominated by Emilia, who is responsible for upholding both the house's decorum and the reputation of the powerful and wicked baron Scarpia. Emilia is married to Nando the jailer of the Castel Sant'Angelo. She is a strong housewife who doesn't get easily upset over the constant shouting and somewhat shady affairs of the palazzo.

One night Iride sneaks into the porter's lodge. The woman is a former lower-class "artiste." She comes to pick up her husband, the galley-sergeant Sciarrone who is, late and that night, still at work. He is now busy at a very delicate job on the upper floor of Palazzo Borghese: he is trying to make Cavaradossi, Tosca's lover, talk. His techniques are considerably less than gentle, but Scarpia knows that this is an efficient way to shock poor Tosca, for whom he longs, into surrender.

Emilia and Iride patiently wait for the end of Sciarrone's shift. The two women keep each other company, and their conversations lead to a hilarious parody of common people's life. Yet, there is more. Iride, in fact, is not there just to wait for her husband. Within their constant gossip they discuss their miserable daily life, and the moralism of the poor but ugly, and the Cavaradossi's tortured screams, the audience learns about deep secrets and dangerous plans.

Among the outspoken conversations between Emilia and Iride are inserts of the actual opera performance. At daybreak, finally, Emilia and Iride say good-bye...

The play had its debut on 1978 in Italy with Franca Valeri as Emilia and Adriana Asti as Iride. In The States, the play has been presented in the form of a reading at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo' and at the Ciao Italy Festival.

Franca Valeri was born in Milan in 1920. She is the first female comic actress and satiric playwright to enjoy steady success from the 1950s to today. Her unforgettable "women"--above all the "Signorina Snob," the satirical portrait of a rich girl from Milan--made her very popular in the 50s. During a career that now, despite the age, shows no signs of slowing down, Ms. Valeri has worked in about 53 films with the most famous Italian directors and actors. In addition, she has written several screenplays and plays. Ms. Valeri is also an Opera connoisseur who has directed several operas and founded a competition for young Opera singers. In 2010, she will debut with a brand new show. In July, 2010 she will also celebrate her 90th birthday.

Laura Caparrotti (Emilia) has a doctorate in Performing Arts, Cinema and Theatre History from the University "La Sapienza" in Rome. She also studied independently with Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo and Annie Girardot. After ten years of professional theatre in Italy, she relocated to New York, where she has directed and/or performed at The Kitchen, The Fringe Festival, the Abrons Art Center, the Bernie West Theatre, and the Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo', among other venues. In 2005 she was the Assistant to the Director of the Off Broadway production of Eduardo De Filippo's "Souls of Naples" featuring John Turturro. She is the world-wide representative of the De Curtis Family, and the curator of "Excerpts of a Prince Named Totò," the official traveling exhibition on the Italian actor Totò. She is also a playwright (one woman shows and children plays), a journalist, a teacher of Italian and Theater, a lecturer, a monitor-consultant-voice over for Italian language for National Commercials and Industrials, a curator and a panelist for NYSCA. She is the Artistic Director of Kairos Italy Theater.

Marta Mondelli (Iride) was born in Napoli and raised in Bologna. She graduated in Ancient History at the University of Bologna and in acting at the European Theater School of Bologna. In Italy, she has appeared in several productions of her theater company, Chièdiscena, and in movies such as "Stai con me" with Giovanna Mezzogiorno. In New York, she has been studying acting with Susan Batson, performing in independent movies such as "Crossing" with Anthony Mackie, "Come Away with Me" with the Italian actress Mariangela Melato and "The Groomsmen" with Brittany Murphy and Ed Burns. In theater, she had leading roles in several Off-off Broadway productions and in the Off-Broadway show "Box of Fools." She was the finalist at the 2005 Screenplay Festival with her drama "Eve's Story." She has written two one woman shows, "City by City, Author by Author," about Italian culture and literature, and "The Italian Body," on Italian gestures and their origin in Commedia dell'Arte. She teaches Italian and Theatre and works as an interpreter, translator and journalist. She has been part of KIT since 2004.

Rocco Sisto (Prologue - VO) has been seen in several movies, including the cult hit "The American Astronaut," "Donnie Brasco" (where he played Johnny Depp's colleague, Rickie Gazzo), "Carlito's Way," "Illuminata," "Frequency" and "Lorenzo's Oil." His voice work includes "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." On television, Sisto played young Junior Soprano in the HBO series The Sopranos. He has also appeared in Law and Order, Law and Order C.I., Law and Order C.S.I., Close to Home, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Alias", "N.Y.P.D. Blue", "J.A.G.", and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In theater, he is one of the founding members of Shakespeare & Co., and he has often acted in the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater in New York. On Broadway and Off-Broadway, he has appeared in numerous successful plays such as Quills, Amadeus, A Month in the Country, The Comedy of Errors at the Lincoln Center, KAOS, "Souls of Naples " at the Theatre For A New Audience, The Harlequin Studies at the Signature Theatre. He has received an OBIE for The Winters Tale, an OBIE, a Drama Desk nomination and a Drama League Award for his role in the Broadway hit "Quills".

Natasha Lardera (Translation) is a journalist, translator, writer, researcher, critic and managing editor. She is a bi-lingual (English/Italian) expert on food, wine, tourism, and cinema. She learned her craft and honed her skills in a practical way: She packed her belongings, got to know Italy, where she lived, studied, researched, and fell in love with the idea of spreading abroad the Italian way of life. Through the years she has been contributing articles for: Alta Cucina Society's web site, site on food, wine and the culinary experience; New York Magazine Europe, Taste of Chic Magazine, of which she is also managing editor, trade magazine on luxury living; NAME Magazine, Italian trade magazine focused on hospitality; America Oggi Italian Newspaper, an Italian-language daily newspaper, where she writes about film and food;, special journalism project funded by the Italian Foreign Affairs I-Italy Digital Project Minister, The Minister of Employment, the European Community and Rome's University La Sapienza. She has earned experience in the field by being Managing editor for magazines published by Beautiful Publishing. Bell'Italia USA, for example, was a magazine specialized on travel to Italy. In addition to working as managing editor she also was in charge of the film and food sections for which she wrote original content. As a translator of literary texts for Kairos Italy Theater, she has collaborated in the production of shows such as Accattone in Jazz, play with Italian celebrity Valerio Mastandrea, based on Pasolini's film Accattone, performed at Lincoln Center. Other texts she has worked on are by Dino Buzzati, Totò, and more Italian personalities.

Lucretia Moroni (Set Designer) Born in Milan, Italy, Lucretia Moroni attended the renowned Van der Kelen School in Brussels and continued her training in interiors with the Renzo Mongiardino architecture firm in Milan. After working with Franco Zeffirelli for the sets of La Traviata, she moved to New York City in the early 1980's. She has worked on a large number of private and public projects, including the renovation of Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, residences in Italy, South America and the U.S. Her work has been published widely in design and general magazines worldwide. Lucretia Moroni in 1997, also founded Fatto a Mano, a creative workshop located in New York, which designs and produces a variety of printed silk and linen fabrics, a collection of wallpapers, floor treatments such as faux-mosaics, painted rugs and wood inlays, murals and glass and mirror panels. For more information on Lucretia, go to:

Kairos is the Greek god of the fleeting moment. Kairos Italy Theater was founded in 2002 in New York. KIT's mission is to create a cultural exchange program between Italy, the US and the international community, to unveil artistic and creative sides of these two countries to the world. In the States, Kairos Italy Theater is dedicated to spread the Italian Culture and to create an Italian Culture Network in order to maintain and grow the knowledge of Italy in the States. It is the only troupe doing bilingual (Italian and English) theater in New York.

Since its founding, KIT has produced various events among them: at The Kitchen and at The Fringe Festival 1998 Black Paintings; Necklaces at the Abrons Art Center; Cabaret s'IL vous plait! (series of comic sketches from the 50s to the present); Una conversazione continuamente interrotta (excerpts by Ennio Flaiano); "Fellini-Flaiano: a different take" in the year 2000; "Caricatures from Tolentino" in 2002 "Fellini and The Myth of I Vitelloni in Italian Cinema" in 2003 featuring the exhibition "Fellini and the Sixth Vitellone" curated by the Cineteca di Bologna. Since May 2003, KIT has been presented the DOUBLE THEATRE EXPERIENCE: one act performed first in English and then in Italian. Double Theatre performances have been: Alessia by Mario Fratti; the US Première of The Papaleo Case by Ennio Flaiano. Other shows produced by KIT have been: ABC L'Italiano S'Impara Cosi'; A Roman Tour and How Bread met the Rolling Pin, Eduardo De Filippo Philosophically Speaking at the Bernie West Theater at Baruch College.. KIT Inc. is also the representative of the Family De Curtis worldwide and is responsible for the traveling exhibition on Toto', "Excerpts of a Prince named-Toto'". In 2005 KIT started classes of Italian&Theatre for children in the Tri-state area.

"Tosca e le altre due" in New York is generously supported by the Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo'. It is endorsed by the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo' at NYU.


Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

More Hot Stories For You