By Ilaria Cutolo

 Monica Faggiani, (actress, director and playwright) performs Help Wanted, at In Scena! Italian Theater Film Festival NY (running now through May 12th). In this funny, moving and thought provoking piece, a blend of stand up and a one- woman show, Faggiani elaborates, ruminates and at moments, sermonizes on the absurdities, mainly, of being a feminist while raising a “cisgender white teenage boy” in Italy. Faggiani uses comedy and her keen observations to capturing the fraught and delicate questions of how one navigates this rocky terrain: single mother to a male son and all while squaring one’s feminist and political leanings. 

She glides on stage lip sinking to the delicious sounds of singer Loredanna Berte (Non Sonno una Signora) an anthem for all women, a song I had not heard in a long while, making the hairs on my arms stand up. I knew immediately I was in for a rockin’ treat. Dressed in a simple yet slinky, black slip dress, heels and a single strand of pearls, Faggiani offerrs us elegance, intelligence, comedy with a big side of moxie. While both at times self-effacing and critical of society’s gender roles, her comedic timing is close to perfection, balancing the ironic, sentimental, funny and dramatic. In a word, Faggiani is a powerhouse. 

The entire show is performed in Italian with English supertitles behind her and at rare moments she ad-lib’s in English to make a point. As I simultaneously listened and read the super-titles (not an easy feat) I couldn’t help but notice moments where the supertitles could not keep pace with Faggiani’s impassioned performance. The Italian language is known for being a quickly spoken one, and I worried that non-Italian speakers might have trouble keeping up as the English words did not always match up with where she was in her script. It’s a tricky task for those handling the translations, especially when a performer goes momentarily off script, which is bound to happen. 

All in all, Faggiani is a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, Help Wanted only played 2 nights in NYC on May 3rd and 4th. But, you can catch the rest of In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY until May 12th and I highly recommend that you do. Performances are FREE and showing at various venues throughout the city. Click here  www.inscenany.com. for a list of shows and more information.

 HELP WANTED – SINGLE FEMINIST MOTHER OF A TEENAGE BOY LOOKS FOR SUPPORT (AAA CERCASI SOSTEGNO PER MADRE SINGLE E FEMMINISTA CON FIGLIO MASCHIO E ADOLESCENTE) 

CAST: Written & Performed by Monica Faggiani. English translation and English supertitles by Roberta Fragnelli and Daria Grazia Mangione (translation), Francesca Bozzi and Benedetta Pellé (supertitles), students of Civica Scuola Interpreti e Traduttori Altiero Spinelli – Milano as part of a tutored educational program led by In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY.

 From the PR: “The New York City-based Kairos Italy Theater along with the Italy-based KIT Italia and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU will present the 11th anniversary season of the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY, New York City’s premiere festival of Italian theater taking place in all five boroughs of NYC, April 29-May 13. Performances will take place at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU (24 West 12th Street New York, NY 10011-8604), Casa Belvedere (79 Howard Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301), Culture Lab LIC (5-25 46th Ave, Queens, NY 11101), Center For Italian Modern Art (421 Broome St 4th floor, New York, NY 10013), The Brick Aux (628 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211), The Atelier at Theaterlab (357 W 36th St. 4th floor, New York, NY 10018), BAAD (2474 Westchester Ave, Bronx, NY 10461), NOoSPHERE Arts (520 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222), and Playwrights Downtown (440 Lafayette St 4th floor, New York, NY 10003). Admission to all shows and events in the festival will be FREEAll shows will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. For more information please visit www.inscenany.com.   

 “Each year In Scena! presents a survey of the best Italian theater from Italy, in New York City. The festival features full productions that have already toured in Italy as well as readings of Italian plays in translation, lectures, and exchanges between Italian and International artists. The goal is to promote greater awareness of Italian theater and Italian artists among New York City theatergoers, and to build a bridge between the artistic scenes in Italy and the US.Partners for the 2024 festival include CIMA (Center for Italian Modern Art), Culture Lab LIC, BAAD Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, The Tank NYC, Casa Belvedere, NOoSPHERE Arts, The Italian Cultural Institute of Toronto, Villa Charities (Toronto), Hystrio Award, Dominio Pubblico, Civic School for interpreter and Translator Altiero Spinelli (Milan, Italy), We The Italians, and Thinking Theater NYC.”