Dealers of Souls by Alberto Bassetti

DS poster copy
Theater for the New City to present 
American premiere of
“Dealers of Souls: This Theater Is (Not) For Sale”
by Italian playwright Alberto Bassetti
With Francesco Andolfi, Vito La Bella, Laura Caparrotti
Directed by Laura Caparrotti

Mystical play dramatizes the struggle, real and supernatural,  to block the appropriation of a theater for a supermarket.

November 12 TO 29, 2015
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street)
Presented by Theater for the New City in collaboration with Kairos Italy Theater (KIT).
Thursdays through Satudays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM
$15 general admission; $12 seniors and students
Running time: 60 minutes.
For tickets, go HERE

In Italy, theaters are under real estate pressure; their precious locations and spacious buildings are eagerly sought by developers who try to convert valued cultural assets into commercial buildings. This clash of artistic idealism and commercial opportunism has been dramatized by Italian playwright Alberto Bassetti in “Dealers of Souls: This Theater Is (Not) For Sale,” a new play whose American premiere will be presented November 12 to 29 by Theater for the New City in collaboration with Kairos Italy Theatre. It’s a supernatural drama in which two men are negotiating the sale of an old theater. The buyer, a clearly corrupt theater entrepreneur, promises to restore it but actually, he intends to turn it into a supermarket. Can his intrigues be stymied by a strange actress who squats in the building, who seems to be part hobo and part phantom of the theater? Can she save the day?

Bassetti’s three-character drama, written in 2001, received a staged reading in 2013 at Casa Italiana as part of Kairos Italy Theatre’s In Scena! Italian Theater Festival. Now newly translated by Carlotta Brentan, it will be directed as a full production at TNC by Laura Caparrotti, Artistic Director of Kairos Italy Theatre, who also plays the actress.

Ms. Caparrotti writes that the play presents a situation that Theater for the New City narrowly avoided in real life.   “In January 2013 I was at the Theater for the New City when Crystal Field burned the mortgage declaring the Theater for the New City completely paid off and therefore safe. That meant safe from becoming a supermarket or a condos; safe to remain a theater… maybe even forever! In June 2013 we presented the first reading of the translation of ‘Dealers of Souls’ and I couldn’t help to think that this play, so much about the necessity of theaters staying theaters, was somehow telling the story of TNC. Of course, it was also the story of many other theaters: some who survived and some which unfortunately we have lost.”

She adds, “According to Alberto Bassetti, theater is necessary to look inside ourselves. Theater gives us courage to face our fears and doubts; to make ourselves better people. And ‘Dealers of Souls’ is also about the choices we make, who we are and what we do with our lives.”