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 challenging and helpful at the same time.

A challenge, in the sense of keeping in mind all the possible meanings and yet being able to convey them into one action.

An aid, in terms of maintaining a flexibility of ideas and actions, without getting trapped in one beginning idea.

Like water, fluidity and transformability are keys to a play like this one.

But above all, I am proud of our beautifully talented group and could not be happier to be working with such an amazing cast. It would not be as enjoyable if it was not for them.