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A Notebook for Winter - Italian Playwrights Project

Umanism LLC

‘Yes. I feel like an idiot. I'm such an idiot to have even hoped for such a stupid thing to come true. To think that such an impossible turn of events could come true. For me, for something I wrote. I must be an idiot, I must have touched rock bottom’

(A NOTEBOOK FOR WINTER by Armando Pirozzi)


download the italian version here

The Italian play “Un quaderno per l’Inverno” is more and more “A notebook for Winter”.

The play, written by Armando Pirozzi, winner of the 2017 Ubu Award for Best New Italian Play, is going on a journey through translation that will take it from Italy to the US, with a stop-over in the UK. This is happening thanks to The Italian Playwrights Project, an initiative created in New York in 2015 by Valeria Orani, Director of Umanism NY, and 369gradi Italy, and by Frank Hentschker Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center – Graduate Center CUNY with the goal of promoting Italian Contemporary Playwrighting in the USA.

In December 2017, four plays selected by The Italian Playwrights Project US Advisory Board were presented to an American audience (the plays were chosen from 12 texts proposed by an Italian Committee). The plays selected were: Events Horizon (L’Orizzonte degli Eventi) by Elisa CasseriMy Hero (Mio Eroe) by Giuliana MussoA Notebook for Winter (Un Quaderno per l’Inverno) by Armando PirozziThe Great Walk (La Grande Passeggiata) by Fabrizio Sinisi.

Readings of translated excerps from each play were staged at the Martin E.Segal Theatre Center in New York, for the opening event of the second edition of the Italian Playwrights Project in December 2017.

In August 2018, the play A Notebook for Winter was presented in a bilingual mis-en-espace (first act in English, second act in Italian) at the Italian Institute of Culture in London. After London, the torch will be passed to the Italian Institute of Culture in New York, where at 6.00 pm on Thursday October 11 a first draft of the complete translation will be staged in a reading under the direction of John Gould Rubin.

Invitation to this first reading of the full translated play will be extended to theater producers in New York. This marks the intention by the Italian Playwrights Project to start a path that will lead to the production of translated plays.  Production is one of this inititative’s main objectives but it also is one of the toughest for foreign translated plays. The event will give an opportunity to discuss strategies for potential production paths.

The publication of the full play in English, translated by Adriana Rossetto for the Martin E. Segal Center Publishing House, is foreseen for 2019. During that year A notebook for Winter will be a subject study of the theatrical translation course at the Muhlengerg College – Pennsylvania.


The Project

The Italian and American Playwrights Project has been created and curated by Valeria Orani, Director of Umanism in New York and of 369gradi in Italy and by Frank Hentschker Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (Graduate Center City University of NY). The project’s goal is to disseminate Italian contemporary writing for the theater in the USA and vice versa. The initiave will give continuity to the important artistic dialogue between the two countries which has been sporadic over the last 30 years.

From its first US edition in 2015, The Italian and American Playwrights Project has brought to the attention of the American audience the most recent works of playwrights such as Lucia Calamaro, Elisa Casseri, De Florian-Tagliarini, Giuliana Musso, Fausto Paravidino, Armando Pirozzi, Michele Santeramo, Fabrizio Sinisi, some of which have been fully translated and published in the USA. On the US side it has taken to Italy works by the American Playwrights Mariana Carreño King, Amy Herzog, Cori Thomas.

Thanks to a special focus event on Stefano Massini’s writing The Play Company is now bringing to New York a new production of his “Intractable Woman”.

The Italian and American Playwrights Project is now working on a new playwrights special event that in 2019 will be focused on the Italian playwright Marco Martinelli and Teatro Delle Albe’s most recent work fedeli d’amore” (Love’s Faithful – A Polyptych in Seven Panels for Dante Alighieri)

These are steps or building blocks towards the creation of a collaborative network made of Cultural Institutions, Universities, Theaters, Publishers, Producers and Journalists working between Italy and the US. A network of professionals that know how to cultivate the creative soil to make it a fertile space where authors and audience can see the results of writing for contemporary theater.


About the Play

A Notebook for Winter is a two-actor-piece which in three acts and tells the story of an introvert professor of literature who finds a burglar on his way back home. The knife-wielding burglar wants something unexpected from him: it is a question of life or death. During the entire night the two characters talk, exchange ideas, feelings, ask painful questions out of hope and desperation, in a  completely new and unexpected atmosphere. They will meet again years later, both affected by that night.  Although their personal memory of that night is different, yet it may have triggered a change in both of them, by offering a further comprehension and awareness of each other. The key idea is based on the power of writing as a way to directly impact reality: the wonder resilience of poetry is not seen as a literary exercise, but rather as a vibrant force which affects life. 

A Notebook for Winter won the Ubu award as Best Italian New Play on 2017



About the author

Armando Pirozzi (Naples, 1973). He wrote and directed “Cronache da un Tempo Isterico” which obtained the special production award “Nuove Sensibilità 2008” and went onstage during the Turin Teatro a Corte Festival of 2009. His piece “La Prima della Sera” opened the Theatre Fringe Festival in Naples, Italy, in 2009.

His following piece “Attraverso il Furore”, was written on Meister Eckhart and directed by Massimiliano Civica; it was premiered at the Armunia - Inequilibrio Festival of Castiglioncello in July 2011.  “Soprattutto l’Anguria” was shortlisted at Premio Riccione of 2009 and then brought onstage by Massimiliano Civica during the Romaeuropa Festival.

His 2013 work “Hard Times” was shortlisted at Premio Riccione. “Altamente Volatile” was written in 2015 for the school recital for the end of his third year at the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico. It was directed by Massimiliano Civica.

Pirozzi wrote “Il Cielo in una Stanza”, with Emanuele Valenti in 2016, who brought it onstage with the troupe Punta Corsara at the Theatre Festival in Naples, Italy.

His latest piece “Un Quaderno per l’Inverno” (Ubu Award – Best new Italian play 2017) premiered at the Fabbricone theatre in Prato, under the direction of Massimiliano Civica, in March 2017.


About the director

John Gould Rubin, Artistic Director of The Private Theater and former co-Artistic/Executive Director (with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz) of LAByrinth Theater for which he directed seven plays including premieres by John Patrick Shanley and Erin Cressida Wilson. He originally created Turn Me Loose at LAByrinth as part of a collection of writings entitled ’68, and then directed the show off-Broadway at The Westside Theatre  (nominated for the Joe Calloway Award, best Director,) at The Wallis Annenberg Center in LA and Arena Stage in Washington, DC, where it is playing now. He directed American Buffalo with Treat Williams and Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Dorset Theatre Festival, where he also directed Outside Mullingar two seasons prior; and a multi-media production of Double Indemnity at The Old Globe, with Michael Hayden. He’s directed at Rattlestick, Ma-Yi, The Public, and the Soho Theatre in London among others, notably Peer Gynt at The International Ibsen Festival in Oslo, Playing With Fire (a deconstruction of Strindberg’s one-act play about voyeurism, exhibitionism and wife-swapping at The Box, the notorious sex cabaret,) a site-specific Hedda Gabler in a townhouse for twenty five people per performance, Queen For A Day with David Proval and Vincent Pastore off-Broadway and The Cherry Orchard with Ellen Burstyn at The Actors Studio. Current projects: a radical, new adaptation of A Doll House (just recently developed through a Collaboration Residency at The Marble House Project,) Rocco, Chelsea, Adriana Sean, Claudia, Gianna, Alex - a devised project about the consciousness of conflict and the American Political Divide which will be produced by The Private Theatre in February, 2019, and an all Afro-German production of Hedda Gabler in Berlin. Next year, Mr. Rubin will direct a multi-media stage adaptation of Revolutionary Road, in Mandarin, for the 1,000-seat theater for plays in the National Centre of Performing Arts of China in Beijing, which will then tour throughout the Mainland.



About Umanism NYC: Umanism is a company dedicated to the promotion and support of contemporary Italian culture and its professionals in New York. A movement, an open platform connecting Italy to the USA recognizing and expanding the creative potential of projects by Italian artists, supporting them in each step of the production and communication in the larger and more challenging context of New York

About the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center: The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all. Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. Year round, the Center presents a wide variety of FREE public programs which feature leading national and international artists, scholars, and arts professionals in conversation about theatre and performance. Programs include staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, festivals celebrating New York performance (PRELUDE) and international plays (PEN World Voices), screenings of performance works on film, artists in conversation, academic lecture series, televised seminars, symposia, and arts in education programs. In addition, the Center maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program, publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance (including plays in translation), all written and edited by renowned scholars.

About 369gradi Contemporary Culture Production: In 2003, Valeria Orani founded "369gradi", a production and curatorial company as well as a Center for the promotion and distribution of Italian culture, based in Rome, Italy. "369gradi" mission is to investigate new possibilities in contemporary art, performing arts and drama. In 2013 alone 369gradi produced over 12 award-winning ensembles pieces, presented at major Italian theatres and festivals.


The Media Partner of Italian and American Playwrights Project is RAI Radio3