Italian and American Playwrights Project
Italian Playwrights Project
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at CUNY invited Italian Artistic Director Valeria Orani to collaborate on this ambitious new translation, performance and publishing initiative. Thus, The Italian Playwrights Project was born. “Valeria’s initiative is the most significant Italian playwright project in the last two decades in the Americas, and we are honored to be able to support this project,” says Segal Center Executive Director Dr. Frank Hentschker. Valeria Orani adds: “We have a truly fantastic selection of some of the most significant contemporary Italian playwrights working today and we believe that American audiences will connect with the themes in their works.” The Italian Cultural Institute of New York (Giorgio Van Straten, Director) is an additional collaborator.
The Italian Playwrights Project supports workshops with Italian playwrights in New York City with American actors, dramaturgs and translators. It also produces public presentations and readings of the plays in English as well as some excerpts in Italian. The initiative also produces performances of the plays and the publication of a translated anthology of the selected Italian plays. This initiative is year-round with the mission to support the development of up to four playwrights' work over the course of a year.
The Italian Playwrights Project offers a unique perspective on theater and broadens New York City's theatrical landscape by introducing the work of Italian playwrights to New Yorkers. The initiative brings the brightest, best, most engaging playwrights from Italy to New York to develop their pieces through translation into English and public readings of the work. Additionally, the initiative presents events where excerpts of the plays are performed in Italian, which is a service to the Italian-speaking New York audience as well as those who love the study of the language and culture. Our goal is to raise enough money to pay translators and to promote the plays and the playwrights in theaters, productions, theatre companies.
In addition, we are also in the early stages of developing a sister initiative called The American Playwrights Project which will promote the work American playwrights in Italy. This initiative is slated to begin in the fall 2017.
Italian Playwrights Project Pilot Edition (2015/2016)
In 2015 The Segal Center and Umanism, in collaboration with an advisory committee, chose from a pool of recent winners of some of the most prestigious playwriting awards in Italy --
The Ubu Award, The Riccione Award, and The Hystrio Award. The selected plays included:
· Ce Ne Andiamo per non darvi altre preoccupazioniby Daria Deflorian & Antonio Tagliarini
· Il Guaritore by Michele Santeramo
· I Vicini by Fausto Paravidino
· Origine Del Mondo by Lucia Calamaro
The anthology of these plays will be published in 2017.
Italian Playwrights Project Special Edition 2016
The event of Italian Playwrights Project 2016 was dedicated to meet the most brillant italian playwright at the moment: Stefano Massini. The event was a conversation with the author hosted by the Segal Center and a reading of an excerpt by the book "Something about the Lehmans" (Mondadori, 2016) by the actor Robert Funaro directed by Marco Calvani.
Italian Playwrights project and American Playwrights Project first edition - 2017/18
The first official edition of the project will be a cross between Rome and New York in 2017.
Three Italian playwrights will be selected and presented in New York during fall 2017. In addition, three American playwrights will be selected and presented in Rome (Italy). The translated excerpts will be workshopped and presented to the public by professional actors and directors. The works of all the selected playwrights will be translated and published in their entirety in 2018
Two pools of experts in contemporary theatre - one in Italy and one in NY - will be selecting and recommending each other a group of works which will then be shortlisted for our Projects.
The experience running the Italian Playwrights Project in New York in the years 2015-17 has emphasized how important it is to introduce Italy’s contemporary theatrical work in the US and vice versa. This has also helped us resume a dialogue between the two arts scenes, which has always been rare and accidental in the last 25-30 years. The Italian Cultural Institute of New York has acknowledged how necessary it was for Italian playwrights to be able to introduce their work in New York. To the same degree, it is important to work to set up a structure which can facilitate cultural exchanges between Italy and the US by making fine arts more accessible internationally.
Our collaborative drama project set up within New York’s Martin Segal Theatre Center of City University has successfully triggered a necessary and beneficial dialogue amongst authors, operators, journalists and public institutions as well as attracting a significant New York audience which immediately appeared interested and daring.
Umanism and Martin Segal were both motivated by the collaboration with 369gradi in Italysince the very beginning. Thank to the support of Teatro Vascello in Rome, Umanism and Martin Segal are both working to offer this experience to American authors whose work has never been translated or performed in Italy. We would like the American Playwrights Project to be the replica of our successful Italian Playwrights Project series. We would like to be able to have all the Rome-based US universities involved in the project, by gentrifying the whole discussion about play writing, its potential use as cultural exchange, the process of translating what we already have, the future vision and live performances. The type of support that we expect to obtain aims at creating and developing a new bridge, which can facilitate the search of common ground between the two countries via theatrical work.
The role of Italy-based US universities is pivotal for those US scholars who want to learn and study our traditions and history. A project which is entirely dedicated to contemporary writing is the first step towards the creation of a partnership between the two countries. This partnership could soon develop into a centre specializing in contemporary drama, whichmay potentially become a reference point for Italian and American authors, translators and producers.
Support and funding from US universities will be expected to ensure that American authors be involved in all the different aspects of the deal: as hosts, i.e. organizing the work on stage as well as supervising the translation work which is required. For two days Teatro Vascello will support the launch of the works and will make sure that it receives good media attention.