BeanScene Magazine

Award-winning play ‘Solo Anna’ debuts in Australia

Last night saw the Melbourne premiere of the award-winning play Solo Anna by internationally acclaimed American playwright Franco D'Alessandro and starring Lidia Vitale in the role of Anna Magnani. It will be performed in Melbourne this week as part of La Dolce Italia Festival.

Solo Anna is an English-Italian one-woman show revealing the dramatic, funny and touching aspects of the great Italian stage and film Academy Award winning actress Magnani’s career and life. It examines various key moments that offer a meaningful and revealing glimpse into her life and art, including the intense relationship between American playwright Tennessee Williams and Anna Magnani.

Vitale is a veritable powerhouse in the role. She has been performing the role since 2012 where the show played in Los Angeles. With a sparsely furnished set, Vitale transforms little more than a coffee table, lamp and chair turn into a home, a film set, a party and a press conference. In the close space of La Mama Courthouse theatre, Magnani felt intimately present.

“To prepare for the role,” says Vitale, “I read not only the biographies available on Anna Magnani, but those of everyone from that period.” Her training with members of The Actors Studio for over 20 years has manifested in the ability to completely transcend herself. “My mentors have taught me how to leave the self behind.”

D'Alessandro said his friendship with Vitale began about 10 years ago. “She (Lidia Vitale) is a 21st-century Anna Magnani. I would like to see her opposite someone with depth like Michael Fassbender as Tennessee Williams.”

The film is yet to be made, but D'Alessandro said everyone agrees that Vitale would be the only one who could pull it off. Vitale herself says she would love to see her Magnani experience culminate in a film. “What we see in the show are key moments in her life,” says Vitale. “I feel strongly that I need to release the whole character in the context of a film.”

Solo Anna, starring Lidia Vitale, will show at La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, from 20 to 26 April as part of the La Dolce Italia Festival. Click here for more information or to book tickets.

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