It has 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 di Fillipo, we have become 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 enthusiastically received, and the first productions of his plays in English are scheduled for both the U.K and the United States.
Pieter Toerien has scooped the English language premier of ‘Family Secrets’ for South Africa, starring Dorothy-Ann Gould and Sven Ruygrok, directed by Alan Swerdlow and designed by Kosie Smit for presentation at Montecasino in Johannesburg and the Theatre in the Bay in Cape Town.
Feisty, combative Grazia (Gould) lives in an Italian sea-side town, passing her days with her obsessive dedication to never-ending soap operas. Her son, Adamo (Ruygrok), has moved to Rome where he writes soap operas for television and plays for the stage. His recollections of their spiky mother-son relationship plays out in his mind until he achieves an understanding of what “family” truly means as he dodges the skeletons in the cupboard. Sometimes humorously 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’ can be seen at Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay from July 3 to 13.
Tickets, ranging in price from R120 to R230, can be booked via Computicket; or by calling 021 438 3301.