Giulia Bisinella on La Mandragola

Purple flowers and double root The Mandrake Root is such a beautiful play that it is almost impossible not to have fun with it. It keeps reminding me of that awkward moment when you fail at being mad at somebody because they make you laugh. Even when the characters say extremely inappropriate things, and I truly feel like I should be offended – still, I cannot, because I find myself bursting out laughing like a fool. I adore plays that make us laugh at the stuff that makes us humans. Because that is who we are – humans. We have desires, we make mistakes, we fail, we succeed, we cry, we laugh… we are a rollercoaster of emotions throughout our lives. La Mandragola invigorates my joy of living every day a bit more. As Machiavelli suggested in his prologue to the play, “if you don’t laugh while we essay it, he’ll treat you to a flask of wine.” Yes, it is a comedy, yet a serious one. Benedetto Croce beautifully explained that “every character is placed under the same light, seen with the same eye, without laud or blame, with no deformations or exaggerations, described almost as natural formations that you cannot object, because that is the way they are and there is no way they could exist otherwise.” The mandrake, a plant with beautiful purple flowers, has yet a hidden secret: a root divided into two parts. And sure enough, our great author made good use of this, managing to place a political allegory underneath it all. I have to say, working on several different layers has been... Read more

Francesco Meola on La Mandragola

Rehearsing “The Mandrake Root” is a unique chance to dig into the essence of the theatre. In fact La Mandragola is a comedy that offers not only an in-depth look into the world of Machiavelli and of the italian culture, but also a universal picture of the contradictions of the human nature. The desire of each character is painted extremely clear in the piece and represents an excellent source for a plethora of comic jokes, tricks and amusing situations. In my personal case, acting as “the lover” Callimaco is the best opportunity to live and show the contradiction of love. Love is something that could be wonderful and horrible at the same time, as my character tests in all the story. Callimaco feels hopes, doubts and an abysmal tempest of internal emotions which he is not able to calm down. He is like “a vessel tossed by two conflicting winds, fearing all the more the closest it gets to port” (this is my favorite line). And I have to admit that something in Callimaco belongs to me: sometimes I could be a desperate lover too. So fragile and pathetic, and for all these reasons comic. Moreover it’s such a pleasure to play with the other actors of the company. The atmosphere is really creative and positive; we all trust our director and we are sure we are in the right path to perform something very... Read more

Ilaria on La Mandragola: La Mandragola… what a ride!!

La Mandragola… what a ride!! I am really glad I got the opportunity to work on this play with such a wonderful and committed group of artists. First of all after four years in the United States it is so enjoyable to spend time exploring an Italian author with an all-italian theater company! Reading the script, understanding the language of the time and the author’s intentions in writing it was try;y inspiring. We have so many texts and authors, especially from the past,  that are worthy of being explored… Machiavelli is definitely one of them!! It’s almost shocking to think that he wrote this play in the sixteenth century, and while reading it, we are certain to be talking about today! Machiavelli reminded me of what I consider to be one of the most important meaning of art and Theater: to express an opinion, a point of view on today’s life, society, politics and to find the best way ( or in Machiavelli’s case, the only possible way, since he was exiled away from Firenze and his political life) to deliver your message, by lifting it into art. And what a beautiful way to do this: hiding a political play behind a very funny comedy! Machiavelli made me aware once again of Theater’s importance and power. Even if we don’t know if his contemporaries understood his message, the only fact that this play is still known and performed after five hundred years is the proof of its power and success! Having spent much time at the beginning of our rehearsal process without having a character assigned, I got to... Read more

Irene on La Mandragola

There are many different kind of Comedy: vaudeville, Commedia dell’Arte, dark comedy, absurd comedy, cabaret, stand-up, improv, sit-com… and many others. But they all have in common for me is the ability to turn daily life into the scene of incredible adventures and to turn daily tragedies and dark aspects of life into the funniest, most hysterical sketches. That’s what happens in “The Mandrake Root” where apparently the whole story turns around an Italian lady’s beauty and a gentleman’s willing to sleep with her. But this, obviously, is just a huge metaphor: how many layers you’ll find under the surface! I see Comedy as an extremely cathartic genre: through a joke or a funny scene you can talk about the most terrible and bitter aspects of life but still charming the audience and bringing it on your side. Making someone laugh is the easiest way to connect with them and to share a deep message; and after the first reaction, the laughter should turn into thought and it should leave into the audience a question or – even better – an opinion. As an actress and a stand-up comedienne working on this play has given me the opportunity to study a Master of literature and to observe his way of talking about huge topics such as Politics, Love, Life and Death and making them so enjoyable and close for... Read more


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