Everyone's Right

IN SCENA Italian Theater Festival

“Hanno tutti ragione” – Everybody’s Right

reviewed by Raphael Badagliacca

June 14, 2014

If you’re ready for something entirely different or if you’re naturally drawn to things Italian – and who isn’t? – mark your calendar for the In Scena Italian Theater Festival, beginning with this unique play. The festival runs in all five NYC boroughs through June 24. Go here for the calendar: http://www.inscenany.com/

This is a play based upon a novel written by an award-winning movie director, Paolo Sorrentino. The novel is nearly 400 pages long; the play is less than 5,000 words delivered by a woman playing a man, animating the dialogue impeccably with dance, gestures and song.   Every spoken word is in Italian but that is absolutely no barrier for non-speakers thanks not only to the English super-titles that display above the action but also to the richness of the delivery. If anything, this play is a tutorial in how much more than words there is to a meaningful performance.

Tony Pagoda, lounge singer, world-weary like all of Sorrentino’s characters, regardless of the medium, is about to experience what should be one of the highlights of his career – a performance at Radio City Music Hall where none other than Frank Sinatra will be staring back at him from the audience.

Iaia Forte, the actress who played Trumeau in Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning “The Great Beauty” (La Grande Bellezza) rivets your attention as Tony. Only one other character intermittently appears on stage – a woman with whom Tony dances provocatively.

Life is a song. Life is a dance. Tony may not be at the end – the music is still playing – but he’s definitely past the middle. He’s stuck in that moment that seems to fascinate Sorrentino – when his characters can no longer escape the conclusion that the promise of abundance has failed. Tony is disenchanted with the world, but he cannot claim innocence, none of us can.

Tony Pagoda is past the point of fixing anything. He can only be eloquent about the place to which he has arrived. This eloquence Iaia Forte embodies for us. In the telling, she makes us forget that she is a woman playing a man, or that she is speaking a language that may not be our first. As Tony, she rails against all of those things that disgust him; Tony finally tells us he only likes “nuance.” Iaia Forte gives us nuance.

I do see in all of Sorrentino’s work a flicker of hope – circumstances do not change, nothing develops except the possibility of understanding. For Tony what flickers is one word – a name with reverberations in the literature of his homeland – Beatrice.

The In Scena Theater Festival is like an Italian feast made up of endless courses. That’s what I felt when Executive Producer Carlotta Brentan enthusiastically outlined for me the week’s lineup, like a master chef lavishly describing the specials on the menu. I have my eyes on three tempting dishes. Buon Appetito!

Once again, the full In Scena calendar: http://www.inscenany.com/

Hanno tutti ragione – Everybody’s right

Based on the novel by Paolo Sorrentino

Tony Pagoda aka Tony. P – Iaia Forte

Kairos Italy Theater, the preeminent Italian theater company in NYC, will present its second In Scena! Italian Theater Festival (www.inscenany.com <http://www.inscenany.com/>) in all five boroughs from June 9 to 24, 2014.  The event will feature six full productions and four readings.  Production highlights include “Hanno tutti ragione” (Everybody’s Right), performed by aia Forte, a leading actress in Paolo Sorrentino’s film “The Great Beauty” (Best Foreign Language Film, 2014 Academy Awards). The play is based on a book by Sorrentino.  Other programming highlights include a series of plays and readings dealing with soccer, celebrating the 2014 Soccer World Cup.