By Jane Heil Usyk
In March 2018, the cultural organization Italytime will present a theatrical piece called Three Eyes on Pinocchio—an Italian story updated by three prominent writers. It will be presented in English in the downstairs area of Our Lady of Pompeii Church. (That space has been transformed into an attractive, elegant area with a cappuccino corner, comfortable chairs, cafe tables, chandeliers, and bunting.)
Pinocchio began in 1883 as a children’s story by Carlo Collodi. It was a long story with many twists and turns. In 1940, Walt Disney took a few of those elements and turned them into the Pinocchio of full-length cartoon fame. Recently, three well-known Italian writers focused on events in the original novel; each took an event and, together, developed Three Eyes on Pinocchio.
Dacia Maraini, an award-winning novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, supervised the venture and wrote the “Fairy” episode, the prologue, and the epilogue. A great contemporary Italian writer, Ms. Maraini has published more than 40 books. She has been involved with and endorsed Italytime since its beginning. Silvia Calamai, a playwright and teacher, composed the “Cat and Fox” episode. Paolo Tartamella, another longtime collaborator with Italytime, wrote the section on children who became donkeys because they didn’t go to school—“Pinocchio in Playland.”
Vittorio Capotorto is a theater director who produced over 100 plays in his native Puglia and all over Italy before coming to New York City over 20 years ago. He has taught Italian theater and acting at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and the City College of New York. Vittorio’s enthusiasm for the theater is inspiring, as is his enthusiasm for all arts. His wife and partner is Maureen Gonzalez, a talented Spanish translator who speaks and translates English, Italian, and Spanish.
Vittorio’s nephew, Domenico Capotorto, wrote the original music for the play. He is an award-winning musician based in Berlin who has composed music for many of Vittorio’s productions. Vittorio’s friend, Franco Mannarini, did all the artwork for the show, including posters and ads.
Another member of the group is Francesca Illuzzi, a longtime member of Our Lady of Pompeii Church and of the Village; Francesca is a dressmaker and gracious hostess, making sure there are sufficient refreshments at many of Italytime’s major events.
Italytime has been presenting various forms of entertainment in the Village for several years; most have some connection to Italy. There have been jazz concerts, Italian movie series, discussions led by distinguished faculty from New York universities, theatrical readings, and full-blown theatrical presentations. Many events are free.
Three Eyes on Pinocchio (which is suitable for all audiences) will be performed on March 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, and 10th at Italytime (Our Lady of Pompeii Church: 25B Carmine Street, at Bleecker Street). Tickets are $25. For more information, visit italytime.org.