Italian Actor Leads Workshop, Performs at Rochester

By Caitlin Mack
Univ. Communications

Students at the University of Rochester will have the opportunity to learn from Italian actor and translator Mario Pirovano during a workshop on “The Art of Storytelling.”   The workshop, which is from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10,  in Drama House, features a two-hour segment in English from noon to 2 p.m. and one-hour segment in Italian from 2 to 3 p.m.  Pirovano aims to show the audience how “to conquer scenic space,” “use the body to support the voice,” and “show how one can tell a story without scenes, music, videos, or costumes.”

Pirovano also will host a showing of Francis, the Holy Jester (1997), a play by Nobel Prize Winner in Literature and renowned Italian playwright, Dario Fo, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the sanctuary of the Interfaith Chapel.  Pirovano, a long time disciple, collaborator, and artistic heir of Fo’s, translated his masterpiece “Lu santu jullare Francesco” (1999) into English as “Francis, the Holy Jester.”  Wednesday’s performance will be the first time the play is performed for an American audience. The event is free and open to the public and includes refreshments and a book signing in the lobby following the performance.

According to Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio, associate professor of Italian and organizer of Pirovano’s appearance at the U of R, the event “serves the aims of the Humanities Project as a point of intersection of several disciplines, departments, and programs, including Italian language and literature, medieval studies, religion, theater, music, and translation studies.”

She also hopes to “attract students of the Italian language towards theater as a powerful tool for language and culture acquisition.”

The event is sponsored by the Humanities Project, University of Rochester, and co-sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, the MLC Italian Program, the Department of History, the Cluster on Pre-Modern Studies, the J. H. Newman Chair in Roman Catholic Studies, The Drama House, The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an anonymous donor.