Belladonna – February 25-26, 2016

What about Italian men? Is it true, that they are all playboys?
Belladonna is a hilarious play that finally reveals all about the habits of Italian men…
Authentic Burlesque returns to Nagoya with Rita Lynch, the diva of Rome.
In Italian, “Belladonna” means “Beautiful Lady”.

This is my 8th comedy, a play in the pure style of “Commedia all’Italiana”, a genre very popular in Italy in the 60s and 70s, and made stars out of Sophia Loren, Marcelle Mastroianni, and Vittorio de Sica, just to mention the most well-known in Japan.

Commedia all’Italiana is defined by how it talks about the Italians’ habits, vices, and virtues ironically and humorously. With Belladonna, my aim is to show Japan all about Italian men.
The story is set in the 50s and takes place in an Italian flat. Signor Pietro is a wealthy man in his 50s. He loves life, and the beauty of life, which is a problem, because despite being a generous person, he is a big spender, playboy, vain, and a liar.

In short, Italian! He is married to Benedetta, a beautiful and classy woman whom he dearly loves. Of course, she too is absolutely in love with him. She knows his character, yet forgives him every time.

They have a Japanese house maid who they call the Italian name Titina because they can’t remember her real name. She doesn’t know about either Italy or the Italian language, which irritates Signor Pietro.
The play starts with a quarrel between Signor Pietro and Benedetta, causing her to leave home and think about what to do. While she is away, Signor Pietro really misses and reminisces with Titina about him and his wife’s love story in a series of hilarious gags.

Benedetta will return, ready for her revenge…
…and might just give him a taste of his own medicine.

Our main actor is, of course, Italian: Pietro Cristo, who you may have seen in movies or on TV in dramas and commercials.

His wife, Benedetta, is an authentic Italian diva: the international artist, Rita Lynch. Rita Lynch is a complete artist: a singer, dancer, and burlesque performer, in this play she will present a special tribute to Sophia Loren, and an amazing fan dance number created exclusively for us. But, most of all, she give the classic “sexy touch” characteristic of Commedia all’Italiana that left the audience New York Burlesque Festival with their mouths literally on the floor during her recent tour of the US and Canada.

Titina is portrayed by the fine Japanese actress, Makiko Kato.
There is also the music. CapriBlue (me, Signor Gigi, on guitar and vocals, and Asako on the contrabass) will accompany the story with about fifteen Italian and French “vintage” songs: swing, mambo, rumba, chachacha, manouche, and the like.

For this event, I have chosen the Chikusa Playhouse. I found the English-style stage (a circle, with no curtains) an inspiration for our performance.

The show is in the hands of Yasuhiro Miura, an experienced opera and theatre director from Tokyo, and will run for about 80 minutes.

Belladonna is supported by some great sponsors that believe in supporting art, such as the Italian Cultural Center in Osaka, Turkish Airlines, and Tenute Rubino, an Italian wine company.

Performances will be held at the Chikusa Playhouse on two nights, February 25 (Thursday) and 26 (Friday) from 19:00. Doors open at 18:15.
Tickets are ¥4,000 in advance and ¥5,000 at the door.
Contact italialabo@gmail.com for advance tickets.

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