Review by David Walters
There is so much that happens in New York City that it is impossible to keep up. And in case you didn’t know, there has been a festival of imported Italian plays (presented in Italian with English subtitles) that has gone on in all five boroughs of New York City for the past seven years, In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY
. Something to keep on your radar for next year if you missed it this year.
Beginning in 2013 the New York-based Kairos Italy Theater and the Italy-based KIT Italia
, created In Scena!. The festival was originally part of the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in the United States and has become an annual event every May.
Both groups have also stepped out this year and begun a reciprocative venture in collaboration with the international theatre community and presented the first annual OnStage! Festival
, a festival of American theater which took place January 21-27 in Rome, Italy this year.
The festival features full productions that have toured in Italy as well as readings of Italian plays in translation, conferences, lectures, and exchanges between Italian and international artists. The goal is to promote greater awareness of Italian theater and Italian artists among New York theatergoers and to build a bridge between both worlds. I highly commend KIT for their vision, work and determination in bringing all this about. Congratulazioni!
In The Last Day of Sun
, the only one of the offerings I was able to catch, Linda (played with solemn integrity by Chiara Buratti
) dressed in a camo t-shirt and jeans comes out on stage and walks a thin line on the floor woven between empty drawers and what presumably were their contents, telling us how a German astronomer has predicted the day and time that a large solar flare will strike the earth. He is at first considered a crackpot and dismissed until all the world’s mice start to move en masse to one area of the earth that will be the exact opposite of where the flair will strike. The flare side of the globe becomes desolate and deserted in anticipation, save for our storyteller. She remained alone behind in her town not wanting to face what the new world will become, nor want to stay in her old one. She meanders through the town remembering her childhood, stopping at the travel agency where she worked, the photographers where her wedding pictures were displayed, the lawyers office right next door that handled her divorce, going into the town gossips apartment and discovering the telescope they used to spy on everyone, being drawn with anticipation to the melodic sounds of a player piano that started up on its own, and when on the occasion of her divorce day, she met her best friend.
Through a series of seven monologues and eight songs with recorded music, this story is revealed laying out the question about what is a life lived and the time spent in it.
Though there is some poetry in the piece and several similies to life are thought-provoking, the back story on this remembrance play is more compelling than the production. Giorgio Faletti
(a well-known Italian comedian, writer, composer) spent the last six months of his life working on The Last Day of Sun
, his first foray into theater. He laid out the plot and wrote the songs (with Chiara in mind to play it). With this backstory, the production becomes more intriguing as Giorgio examines the life he lived and addresses the events and experiences he had as he tries to make sense of that life, pouring it into this play and saying, “I was there.” It becomes touching, as we hear him sing the last song in the evening.
The Last Day of Sun (L’Ultimo Giorno Di Sole)
Text & Music by Giorgio Faletti, Directed by Fausto Brizzi
Performed by Chiara Buratti
Musical arrangements Andrea Miro, Set designer Francesco Fassone, English translation Giacomo Stella, Produced by Orlantibor
Cherry Lane Theatre (95 min)