Written by Michaela Di Cesare
Directed by Tamara Brown
April 10 to May 6, 2018
With Davide Chiazzese, Carlo Mestroni, Gita Miller and Tara Nicodemo
From the playwright/performer behind the hit comedy, 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived, and the Wildside Festival favourite, In Search of Mrs. Pirandello, comes a family dramedy about two second generation Italian Canadian brothers. Anthony Di Ciccio is a hard-working, meticulous lawyer running for political office whose wife put her career on hold to be his campaign manager. The ambitious couple refers to themselves as DINKs: people with “double incomes, no kids”. Enzo, Anthony’s younger, impetuous brother, is about to embark on his latest career choice as a plumber. After the sudden death of both parents, they must decide whether or not to hold on to the family home, a rundown relic stuffed to the gills with conflicting memories, unpaid bills and a lifetime of worthless junk. To move forward, each must decide what they are willing to give up but at what cost to their relationship?
“I love the way that Michaela’s play captures the tragic-comic experience of being grown-up children. We all struggle as adults once we have to come to terms with our inheritance from our parents, both in terms of stuff and in terms of our own characters”, said Centaur’s Artistic and Executive Director, Eda Holmes. “It is family drama at its very best.”
Ms. Di Cesare was first exposed to professional theatre through a Centaur subscription series and credits that early experience as one of the factors that made theatre a serious career goal. “I feel like I have come full circle”, said the playwright/performer. “Centaur included one of my plays in their main stage season; Tamara, who directed me in 8 Ways, is directing it; and Tara, an actor I’ve admired since I first saw her on stage here, is playing a character that I wrote … it’s a dream come true.”
Ms. Brown, also the Associate Artistic Director at Black Theatre Workshop, said, “To once again be at the helm directing another hilarious, heartfelt and incisive piece of theatre written by Michaela felt like both a homecoming and the beginning of a great adventure”.
Imago Theatre’s Artistic Director, Micheline Chevrier, contributed her expertise as dramaturg throughout the play’s development.
Davide Chiazzese, from the cast of Centaur’s Last Night at the Gayety, plays the fiery Enzo, opposite Carlo Mestroni as his brother Anthony, the hot-shot lawyer-cum-politician. Nat, Enzo’s straight-talking, beautician girlfriend, is played by Gita Miller, and Tara Nicodemo is Anthony’s wife, a former TV actress currently focussed on putting her husband in public office.
All of the action takes place in the cluttered basement and garage of a typical St. Leonard bungalow. The home, a character in itself with a palpable hold over its inhabitants, makes it difficult for them to break free of it, their history, and each other. Set and Costume Designer, Diane Uribe, used the Spanish word hopalanda— a heavy dress or robe used as a metaphor for the heavy burdens that people carry with them—to describe the creative inspiration behind her designs, expertly reinforced by Audrey-Anne Bouchard’s dense lighting. Centaur’s Peter Cerone provides the sound design and Fight Choreographer, Anita Nittoly, lends a hand for the more heated brotherly exchanges. Veteran Stage Manager, Melanie St-Jacques, is assisted by Apprentice Stage Manager, Brandon Hepworth.
“Di Cesare is a wonderful storyteller” – Charlebois Post
“It is always thrilling to discover a fresh, Canadian playwright with new, insightful perspectives on contemporary living; Michaela is definitely one such exciting voice.” – Roy Surette