"Wives" and "The Academy"

Plays By: Mario Fratti

Directed By: Stephan Morrow

Set Design By: Mark Marcante

Lighting By: Alexander Bartenieff

From October 8 to 25, Theater for the New City will present the world premiere of "Wives," newly written by Mario Fratti, in a double-bill with his breakthrough play, "The Academy." Taken together, the two plays illustrate the changing nature of the battle of the sexes between the postwar period and now. The two-part evening is directed by actor/director Stephan Morrow, who plays the instructor of a school for gigolos in "The Academy."

In "The Academy," it's 1950 Venice and amid the postwar nihilism and defeat, a reactionary professor has organized an 'academy' to teach young Italian men how to seduce and exploit American women. The six young gigolos who are his students are not the helpless loafers we know from Fellini's "I Vitelloni." Rather, they are enterprising young men, most bearing names that were commonly given to babies of the period (Afro, Benito, Corso, Donato, Elio) in praise of Mussolini's regime. All owe a curious debt to the Professor's wife, who oddly represents the postwar nation as reflected in the character of a woman. "The Academy" was originally presented by Lucille Lortel at Theatre De Lys in 1963; in the cast were Ron Liebman and Jacqueline Brooks. The play was published in "Masterpieces of the Modern Italian Theatre" and its success put Fratti on the map of the best European playwrights. The play's Professor, who trains the young men in the sympathetic tactics to conquer vulnerable American dowagers, will be played in this production by director Stephan Morrow. Other casting is incomplete as of this writing. His wife will be played by Kate Rose Reynolds and the students will be played by Michael Striano,Fergus Scully, Kellan Peavy, Nick Palazzo and Taylor Petracek and Tucker Lewis.

"Wives" the world premiere, was written recently and offers a contrasting view of American women. Instead of being victimized by an opportunistic man, they are firmly in control. Compared to "The Academy", "Wives" displays a definite power shift in the battle of the sexes. Carlotta Brentan plays the man's divorced wife, Giulia Bisinella plays his new fiancee. Both appeared last year in Fratti's "Six Pasionate Women" at TNC.

Mario Fratti (www.mariofratti.com), a prolific playwright and drama critic, was born in Italy but has been living in New York since 1963. Some of his plays have been performed in more that 700 theaters in 19 languages. Among them are "Cage," "Victim," "Eleonora Duse," "Return," "Academy," "Lovers," "Sister," "Che Guevara," "Bridge," "Porno," "A.I.D.S.," "Seducers" and "Madame Senator." His adaptation of his Felliniesque play "Six Passionate Women" (inspired by Fellini's "8½," depicting a maestro shooting a film about women in Venice) became "Nine," the now-legendary Broadway musical that grabbed seven Tony awards and eight Drama Desk awards. So, Fellini's life became a wonderful musical from "8½" to "Nine." Fratti's book, "28 Unpredictable Plays by Mario Fratti," has been published by New York Theatre Experience.

Cabaret Theater

Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street)

October 8 - 25 2015

Thursday through Saturdays at 8:00 PM
Sunday at 3PM


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Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 254-1109
Fax: (212) 979-6570

E-mail: info@theaterforthenewcity.net

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