Tosca e le altre due (Tosca and the two downstairs) by Franca Valeri
XIX Century: the porter's lodge of the Palazzo Farnese is dominated by Emilia, who is responsible for upholding both the house's decorum and the reputation of the powerful and wicked baron Scarpia. Emilia is married to Nando the jailer of the Castel Sant'Angelo. She is a strong housewife who doesn't get easily upset over the constant shouting and somewhat shady affairs of the palazzo. One night Iride sneaks into the porter's lodge. The woman is a former lower-class "artiste". She comes to pick up her husband, the galley-sergeant Sciarrone who is, late and that night, still at work. He is now busy at a very delicate job on the upper floor of Palazzo Borghese: he is trying to make Cavaradossi, Tosca's lover, talk. His techniques are considerably less than gentle, but Scarpia knows that this is an efficient way to shock poor Tosca, for whom he longs, into surrender. Emilia and Iride patiently wait for the end of Sciarrone's shift. The two women keep each other company, and their conversations lead to a hilarious parody of common people's life. Yet, there is more. Iride, in fact, is not there just to wait for her husband. Within their constant gossip they discuss their miserable daily life, and the moralism of the poor but ugly, and the Cavaradossi's tortured screams, the audience learns about deep secrets and dangerous plans. Amongst the outspoken conversations between Emilia and Iride are inserts of the actual opera performance. At daybreak, finally, Emilia and Iride say good-bye...
Franca Valeri was born in Milan in 1920. She is the first female comic actress and satiric playwright to enjoy steady success from the 1950s to today. Her unforgettable "women" -- above all the "Signorina Snob", the satirical portrait of a rich girl from Milan, made her very popular in the 50s. During a career that now, despite the age, shows no signs of slowing down, Ms. Valeri has worked in about 53 films with the most famous Italian directors and actors. In addition, she has written several screenplays and plays. To top it off, Ms. Valeri is also an Opera connoisseur who has directed several operas and founded a competition for young Opera singers. Nowadays, Franca Valeri is happily touring Italy with her show, while in 2010 is going to debut with a brand new show. She has turned 89 in July, while keeping enjoying life on stage. In 2010, she will celebrate her 90th birthday.
KIT-Kairos Italy Theater is the only bilingual Italian-English company in the U.S. (and maybe, the world). It is named for Kairos, the Greek god of the fleeting moment.
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