By Raphael Badagliacca
It’s odd to think of your own city as a Mecca for others, even when the city is as big as New York. That’s exactly what it turns out to be for actor/writer Francesco Foti who documents his own personal pilgrimage to the Big Apple in a diary given life as a heartfelt one-man show.
NIUIORC NIUIORC is also the perfect vehicle to express production company InScena’s mandate – to bring Italian theater to NYC. Actor Foti humorously and proudly announces the name of his own Sicilian hometown as Catania, Catania, in another century a world political, cultural and artistic center, much like New York today.
With nothing more than a notebook and a miniature wooden podium, Foti tells us in Italian and English the story of his discovery of the city that never sleeps. He takes us on a tour that has its challenging moments like any New Yorker’s day or week, but it’s also full of the kind of fast-moving fascination that’s difficult to find in such plenty anywhere else.
Foti introduces us to a string of characters like the receptionist with the sad eyes, the drunken landlady with playwright ambitions, the self-appointed mayor of Central Park, the nattering eating companions he encounters in Zabar’s, and the beautiful Candida for whom he feels nothing less than love, pines over, gets close to much to his surprise and is rewarded with an even bigger surprise.
Falling in love is easy, especially in a city full of so many beautiful women. It helps to have Italian blood and to be on vacation.
Through the lens of these characters and the events that fill his diary Foti introduces himself, and reminds us what attracts us to our own city, bad smells, tiny rooms and high prices aside — multiplicity, diversity, excitement, the thousands of stories that intertwine all around us.
He loses his passport. He loses his wallet. But he finds himself, as do we while we watch and listen to him, and learn once again that all travel, no matter how distant the place, is an interior voyage.
InScena returns with its annual play lineup in May, 2016