An Interview with Laura Pasetti
THE MUMBLE – Hi Laura – so can you tell me what ‘A Bench on the Road’ is all about, & what inspired you to create a play about it
LAURA – The play explore 100 years of Italian immigration in Scotland from the women’s perspective. Narrations, music and physical theatre give voice to many women that between 1850 and 1950 left Italy in search of a better future for their families. The play is divided in frames as each scene is like a living painting, Italian and English languages intertwine creating an interesting mixture of sounds and expressions. I was inpired to create the play by the story of my first friend in Scotland when I arrived at the age of 15 to learn English. She was an Italian Scottish woman and she introduced me to the story of immigration as I wasn’t aware that so many Italians lived in Scotland.
THE MUMBLE – There seems to be an awful lot of research gone into Bench – where did you source you materials
LAURA – The play was commissioned by the Italo Scottish Research Cluster- University of Edinburgh. It because of their archive and the support of many academics like Pedriali, Pirozzi , Colpi and Ugolini that I was able to write the play.
THE MUMBLE – Bench is a multi-media presentation, can you go into more detail about we have to expect.
LAURA – The play has been framed in Kantor style where the images s are strong and express the core of the stories; the marriage of ancient Italian and Scottish folk songs support the presentation of each frame. The costumes are designed in the shade of grey and sepia, like an old photograph to give a clear “image from memory” to the spectator.
THE MUMBLE – You have seven actors playing the voices of the women. Who are these, & where are they from
LAURA – Vanda De Luca is Italian Scottish, Anna Carfora is Italian and lives in London, Nicoletta Maragno is from Italy. The three Scottish actresses are Scottish: Sian Mannifield, Helen Cuinn, Pamela Reid. The accordionist who is also doing actions on stage with the actresses and playing an important role is also Scottish: Caroline Hussey. I mus say there are an AMAZING cast. This is one of the main reason why I left Italy and founded an international company: to offer opportunities to actors of different nationalities to work together. I travel a lot myself when I was younger, in search of more opportunity to grow and improve as an actress. Actor are constantly under training and if they don’t understand this, they will be extremely unhappy. Researching is one of the main duty of an actor. I noticed that when I was working in Russia with German and Russian actors, we were very open, productive and the creative process unfolded easily. I wanted to do more of this kind of work and after my last trip to Russia I founded Charioteer Theatre.
THE MUMBLE – What is your personal background in theatre, Laura,& how did you come to be in Scotland
LAURA – I started as an actress in 1990 after the degree at Piccolo Teatro di Milano Acting School. The director was Giorgio Strehler. I immediately started to tour internationally and I think that I was pretty successful in my acting career. I won the Milano 90 Award as best emerging actress then the Virginia Reiter Award and then the Anna Magnani Award. I had the privilege to work with the best Italian directors and to have rewarding experiences abroad. I then became a writer, a director and an acting coach. I love teaching actors. I consider myself a real CAPOCOMICO, like in the tour companies of comedians in 1500, I lead my company artistically but I also drive the van on tour.
THE MUMBLE – So you are taking your play across Scotland – what do you hope that your prospective theatre-goers will get out of ‘A Bench on the Road’
LAURA – Possibly a new intake on a piece of Scottish and Italian history. I hope that they will perceive the play as a journey through which they can reflect on identity and sense of belonging.