In Scena! Is the Italian Theater Festival put on every year in New York City with KIT – Kairos Italy Theater, which is an internationally recognized Theater Company in NY. KIT’s mission is to spread Italian Culture and to create an Italian Culture Network in order to spread the knowledge of Italy in the United States.
In 2001 KIT ITALIA was created to promote Italian Theater in Italy and abroad . Usually in May, In Scena! Produces shows throughout the city. Twelve shows in all and three readings encompassed this May. KIT is known to produce high quality, educational shows that are vast and broad over many historical landscapes.
Last year I had the opportunity to see “We Are Not Alone”, at the Cherry Lane Theater. This is a play that deals with mental issues in Italy. Originally produced at La MaMa in the 80’s, it had lines around the corner. What was a riveting play and performance by it’s lead, this year was no different.
” Around The World ” is a story about Nellie Bly, who travelled around the world in 72 days back in 1889, beginning 1890. We see her travels on both a teleprompter and brilliantly acted by Diana Forlani. A solo show done in one hour, Forlani magically performs the adventures of Bly. She takes us from New York City, to London and onto India, Hong Kong and other parts of the world.
Along the way, we see Bly’s fears, joys, concerns and he quest to break the w ou rlds recird. As a woman we see her concerns about travelling alone in a great big world.the passion that Forlani puts forth is one of the best pieces of acting I have seen this year. Self assured and stylish, Forlani commands the stage. Her emotions and dedication to this role are breathtaking and robust.
Forlani brings us to different places in the world. With the help of the teleprompter we see exactly where she is and at what time in her travels. India is a place where she is most torn. To her the people are smelly, the country is dirty and backwards. She is appalled by China. She is witness to the tourtures of it’s people. She thinks Japan is classy and graceful.
Through Diana Forlani we see Nellue Bly’s passions and what moves her as a person. She wears one outfit throughout the voyage. Ships, trains and rickshaws guide her around the world in 72 dsys. It is only when she gets to Ssn Francisco that she realizes how much this meant to the world. As a woman whom accomplishes achievement, she is cheered on like no other women ever has before.
A simple stage with wonderful direction by Paola Sarcina, the action is machine gun fire paced. The music is as joyous as the play itself, simple but elegant. Like life itself, Bly sees the beauty and the pitfalls of this world. Humble and gracious, Bly captured the world with her determination. Unyielding in her quest to scurry the world in record time, Bly and Forlani did it with style.
In Scena! The Italian Theater Festival and Laura Caparrotti continue to put out great works. Deep issues and educational, the actors are always superb. Many of the shows are an hour or so, short, pithy and fun.
” Around The World In 72 Days” by Elizabeth Cochrane is a plethora of emotions. Sensational directing makes Bly’s challenges both fun and exciting for the audience. The show is in English subtitles which makes this whirlwind a ferris wheel of sight and sound.
#Bernie Wohl Center, Manhattan.
# Paola Sarcina
# Elizabeth Cochrane