The Italian and American Playwrights Project (IAPP) is a project which has been longed for and curated by New York-based Umanism’s director and Italian enterprise 369gradi’s Artistic Director Valeria Orani. With the support of Frank Hentschker, the director of the Martin E.Segal Theatre Center (Graduate Center City University of New York), IAPP aims to foster contemporary creative writing following a binary model (Italian theatre in the USA and American theatre in Italy). By doing so, IAPP adds continuity to what had been an on-off relationship between the two countries for the last 30 years.
Each by-yearly edition of IAPP starts with the selection of texts which are initially introduced to the audience via a public reading of a translated excerpt, thanks to a team of professional directors and actors. The texts are then fully translated and re-adapted via the collaborative work of professional translators and authors. Finally, the works are published and distributed in major bookshop and online.
Ever since the launch of its American edition in 2015, IAPP has presented the most recent works by Lucia Calamaro, Elisa Casseri, De Florian-Tagliarini, Giuliana Musso, Fausto Paravidino, Armando Pirozzi, Michele Santeramo, Fabrizio Sinisi. Some of these plays have already been fully translated and published in the USA as part of the Project’s first two volumes, whilst a group of American playwrights such as Cori Thomas and Mariana Carreño King are being translated and adapted for the Italian stage.
During the two-year period of the project development, a special edition of talks took place, involving already established authors. The first talk was held in 2016, when Stefano Massini’s work was analyzed. Subsequent to the talk, the idea of the off Broadway production of “Intractable woman” (Donna non rieducabile) was developed by The Play Company.
Two further talks were part of the 2018 special edition - also held in New York, one at Casa Italiana at NYU and the other one at La MaMa Theatre - which focussed on the work of Marco Martinelli and of Teatro delle Albe. Most of the discussion pertained to Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia, and to poetry writing for the stage. More specifically, Marco Martinelli’s latest work fedeli d’Amore, translated by Thomas Simpson, has triggered the interest of prominent magazine PAJ - Performing Art Journal, which has decided to publish the translation.
The first special edition which took place in Italy and which was dedicated to a US author, was held at Rome’s Teatro Valle in March 2019, with the support of Teatro di Roma, inc. The talk there was dedicated to Will Eno, one of the most established contemporary American authors in Italy, who participated in a public talk moderated by journalist Graziano Graziani.
IAPP includes a whole array of appointments and gatherings, readings and panels. It is a project which anticipates several phases, stages and details that form an ever-growing network of partnerships amongst cultural institutions, universities and colleges, theatres, editors, producers and journalists who work back and forth the two countries, and who are able to foster and develop creativity in a context where author and audience are able to enjoy first hand the results of a vibrant collaborative work for the contemporary stage.
The Project unfolds daily, thanks to the collaborative work and cultural events which have been attracting more and more audience. Its growth has been made possible following an ever growing number of fans who participate in person and offer financial support, in Italy and in the USA.
Ever since its first edition, IAPP’s official partners are 369gradi - Contemporary Cultural Centre, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York with Radio3RAI as a media partner. Further partnerships have added to the project in the USA: the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago), Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò (New York), InScena Festival (New York City), International Voices Project (Chicago), La MaMa Theatre (New York), Muhlenberg College (Allentown – PA). The Italian counterpart partnered with Italy’s Foreign Ministry, the American University of Rome, Fabulamundi Playwrigting Europe, OnStage Festival, Outis, Teatro Elsinor, Teatro della Tosse, Teatro Vascello.
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