It’s been quite some time since there has been a production of a contemporary Italian play in South Africa.
University drama courses still occasionally stage the odd Luigi Pirandello drama but apart from the Neapolitan family sagas by Eduardo De Filippo, South African audiences are a little out of touch with the vibrant theatre scene of Italy, particularly Rome.
Enrico Luttmann has become a mainstay of the Teatro Vittoria and Teatro de ’Servi in Rome with his bittersweet comedies of present-day Italian life. In addition, his work has been presented all over Europe and brilliantly received.
The first production of his plays in English are scheduled for both the UK and the US.
Pieter Toerien has scooped the English language premiere of Family Secrets for South Africa. It stars Dorothy-Ann Gould and Sven Ruygrok, is directed by Alan Swerdlow and designed by Kosie Smit for presentation at Montecasino in Johannesburg and the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town.
Feisty and combative Grazia, played by Gould, lives in an Italian seaside town, passing her days with her obsessive dedication to never-ending soap operas.
Grazia’s son Adamo (Ruygrok) has moved to Rome where he writes soap operas for TV and plays for the stage.
Adamo’s recollection of their spikey mother and son relationship plays out in his mind until he achieves an understanding of what family truly means.
Sometimes hilariously witty, sometimes deeply moving, Family Secrets is as tasty and comforting as a big bowl of pasta, as the protagonists learn to speak the universal language of family.
- Family Secrets is at Montecasino from tomorrow to June 30;
- Performances are from Wednesdays to Fridays at 8pm, at 4pm and 8pm on Saturdays, and 3pm on Sundays;
- There will be a matinee performance on June 17 (3pm); and
- Tickets – R100 – R240 at Computicket; call theatre box office at 011-511-1818.