- DIRECTOR: Becka McFadden
- TRANSLATOR: Matthew Morrison and the cast
- CAST: Jean Paul Del Monte, Anna Elena Pepe, Lara Parmiani, Federico Zanni
The Return, is the first English translation of the award winning play Il Ritorno, by Sergio Pierattini, winner of the 2008 Italian Critics Award. It is the play that gave us the opportunity to develop and explore our unique method of translation.
The show premièred at the Camden Fringe Festival in 2012, followed by the Calder Bookshop, and, in 2013, the prestigious St James Theatre in Central London. It was received with unanimous positive feedback and reviews, and it sold out almost every night.
Watch a trailer here:
THE PLAY: Set in Bergamo, Northern Italy, The Return takes place in the home of an Italian family, whose daughter has recently returned from a long absence. As the plot develops, it is revealed that she has spent the past seven years in prison for the death of her fiancée, a Moroccan immigrant employed by her father. Pierattini’s script juxtaposes the seriousness of the material, and its commentary on intercultural relations, with darkly humorous dialogue, a surrealist sensibility and a creeping sense of claustrophobia to capture the disintegration of the traditional Italian family. While the play’s given circumstances arise from a specifically Italian context, British audiences will discover parallels with contemporary life in the UK as they discover a darker, less-familiar side of Italy.
THE PROJECT: Italian critic Rossella Battisti aptly described Sergio Pierattini as “a sensitive narrator of small, contemporary tragedies” (L’Unita). Indeed, the terrain of The Return – a gentrifying, postindustrial Northern city whose demographics are changing due to ongoing waves of immigration – will likely provoke viewers of this production to draw parallels between Pierattini’s Bergamo and similar urban landscapes in the United Kingdom. The purpose of this project, however, is not to transpose Pierattini’s work – developed in part based on on-site research and interviews conducted by the author – to a UK context, but rather to find a language that preserves the linguistic and cultural flavor of the Italian text. Our cast, composed entirely of Italian actors performing in English, was uniquely placed to do this work and the script that forms the basis of our production has been arrived at over a year-long process of workshopping, rehearsing and dialogue not only between the company and our translating team but also with the audiences that have witnessed the project’s development and provided valuable feedback along the way. When successful, the theatre possesses a unique ability to address universal human experience through the telling of specific, particular stories. The Return, focused as it is on the domestic tragedy of a single family, nevertheless keeps an eye on the broader social circumstances in which that tragedy unfolds, charting a web of tensions, passions and contradictions that is not only a story about Bergamo, or Italy, or even Europe, but about any society in which cultures and values collide. At the same time, The Return opens a window on a contemporary Italy that bears little resemblance to the stereotypes associated with a country we think we know.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Born in Sondrio, Northern Italy, in 1958, Sergio Pierattini graduated from the Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica “Silvio d’Amico” in Rome and since then he has been active as a writer, actor and director. Since 2005, he has taught radio playwriting at the National Film School in Rome. His award-winning plays include The Return (Best Play, National Association of Critics 2008; short-listed for the Ubu Prize); Un Mondo Perfetto (Special Jury Award, Riccione Theatre Festival 2007); Il raggio bianco (Flaiano Prize 2006); and La Maria Zanella (The Ubu Prize 2005).
CENTRAL TO THIS ELEGANT AND MINIMALIST PLAY IS THE FAILURE OF A MARRIAGE BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE COMING FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES… (…) THE PLAYWRIGHT FOCUSES ON THE MORBID RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEMBERS OF A FAMILY FROM THE “DEEP NORTH” OF ITALY… THEY CAN’T ACCEPT TO HAVE BEEN SO HEAVILY SCARRED BY THE DEATH OF SOMEBODY WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF OUR SOCIETY’S WEAKEST LINKS: AN IMMIGRANT…. A QUESTION HOVERS IN THE AIR: HAVE THEY BECOME LIKE THIS AFTER THE MURDER? OR WAS THE MURDER THE DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF A RACISM HIDDEN AT THE CORE OF ITALIAN SOCIETY?
BEAUTIFULLY ACTED BY A CAST OF BILINGUAL ITALIAN ACTORS, THIS IS COMPELLING THEATRE. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
…The play addresses issues of regret, blame, love and the dysfunction of family relationships as they deal with the fallout of the tragedy….
This show is performed by four fantastic actors whose performance was authentic and powerful. Their characters felt natural and their interactions were dynamic and realistic – I really felt like I was a fly on their kitchen wall.
The play had a clever way of revealing the details of the criminal act slowly so that the audience must wait to almost the end to understand what happened and why. This increases the tension and suspense and keeps a greater focus on the family relationships.
A unique, interesting and enjoyable drama.
(Cathy Petrakis, Remotegoat, 4 star review)