BWW Review: THREE ITALIAN SHORT STORIES, The Coronet Theatre
The Italian Theatre Festival is back at The Coronet Theatre for their second edition. After a less than overwhelming first experiment last year, the Italian Cultural Institute start their new program with a moving and culturally aware kick-off.
Three Italian Short Stories saw Greta Scacchi, Lucy Russell, and Alessandra Vanzi reading from some of the most relevant female authors of the 20th Century. Presented in the evening were Elsa Morante's The Ambitious Ones, Natalia Ginzburg's My Husband, and Fabrizia Ramondino's The Tower (the first two were in English with Italian surtitles, the latter in the opposite version).
From Morante's specific and vivid writing, through Ginzburg's moving tale of sacrifice and cruelty, to Ramondino's ennui, the three pieces aimed a warm spotlight on female intimacy and independence.
"The Ambitious Ones, feminine!" Scacchi said introducing hers. They transported the audience to other times, exploring women's individuality with nostalgic images, soothing in their landing but sharp and aware in their thematic weight.
Where Scacchi introduced characters that were solidly anchored to their origins and obligations but strived for self-determination, Russell's story portrayed a woman struggling with her newfound family dynamics and self-negation, and Vanzi offered a mother whose life is imbued with wistfulness and ennui.
The selection proved to be a compelling exploration, a journey through the lives of dramatically different women who grapple with the existence that was handed to them by an outdated Italian society. Showcased on an empty dark stage, the focus was on the words alone.
Delivered by the actresses with plenty of passion and sincerity, the stories shone a light on the problematic reality and tough perseverance of 20th Century women in Italy and their own small acts of emotional emancipation.