Quattro Sorelle Productions
Written and Performed by THERESA GAMBACORTA
The Arclight Theatre, 152 W. 71 St., NYC, March 22 through April 29, 2007
Directed by ELIZABETH KEMP
Scenic Design SHAWN LEWIS
Lighting Design JORGE ARROYO
Original Music and Sound Design DAVID PINKARD
Costume Design THERESA SQUIRE
Press Representative SCOTTI RHODES
LA MAGNANI! is a slice of life and the memories of actress Anna Magnani. Set on March 21, 1956, the night that she became the first foreign actress to win the Academy Award, the play depicts the nostalgia the Italian performer experiences as she awaits the opening of the envelope.
LA MAGNANI! is part biography, and part love letter to the actress. Theresa Gambacorta so enthusiastically embodies the spirit of her inspiration, Anna Magnani, that her awe and admiration are palpable. As Anna, we understand her disappointment with the men in her life, including her relationship with Roberto Rossellini that ended when he began his infamous affair with Ingrid Bergman. We sense the deep hurt caused by the tenuous connection to her parents. We see her humanity in her conflicts over how best to care for her sick son. What could have been better fleshed out, beyond the working relationship, was her friendship with Tennessee Williams.
Presented partly in English with a heavy Italian accent, and incidentally in Italian, those not familiar with Italian may think they are missing something during the course of LA MAGNANI!, but most of what performer Gambacorta expresses in Ms. Magnaniís native tongue is soon followed by an English paraphrase. If Gambacortaís performance is moody and dramatic, the stark lighting and textured sets, paired with the direction, which has the actress mainly circling and circling, until or unless reaching a turning point, thus heightening the sense of her conflict and frustration, complete the picture.
LA MAGNANI! may be one of those shows of most interest to fans of the subject material. Devotees probably will not learn anything new, but they may enjoy seeing their dark star brought to life.
- Kessa De Santis -