plawright: Mario Fratti
director: Dan Friedman
set design: Floyd Gumble
costume design: Stephanie Rafferty
actors: Dave DeChristopher, Mika Duncan, Jennifer Herzog, Zenobia Shroff, Ross Stoner and Caroline Strong

performance schedule:
February 7-24, 2002
Thursday - Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theatre

"Erotic Adventures in Venice" by Mario Fratti is an ironic, sarcastic satire about the colossal scandal in Italian politics during 1991-92. La MaMa E.T.C. will present the play's American premiere February 7 to 24 in its First Floor Theater, directed by Dan Friedman. At the end of World War II, the Christian Democrats, with the assistance of the Vatican, won the elections in Italy. They ruled there uninterruptedly until 1991; in fact, by playing musical chairs, they stayed in power and dominated Italian politics for almost fifty years. In 1991 the honest, severe Judge Di Pietro uncovered the national scandal now known as Tangentopoli, or Bribestown, whose widespread and brazen corruption led to the indictment of many politicians. These gentlemen ran away and hid themselves in the most disparate locations, even in family mausoleums in well-known cemeteries. In "Erotic Adventures in Venice," Mario Fratti takes on one of these cases. The play is a scathing comedy about the politicians who hid in the well-known Venetian cemetery of San Michele, where the tombs of Diaghilev, Stravinsky and Ezra Pound are nestled among those of other famous people. The posh surroundings were a perfect place to start an amusing sex business for tourists. In Fratti's play, the cemetery--a beautiful, serene island--becomes a tragicomic Italian Bribestown, filled with music, ghosts and bizarre erotic adventures. In particular, it is home to Senator "M" who, although deposed, still relishes the power and influence he can wield with his name and title. Exultant with his money and his women, he can convince anybody, with charming mendacity, how the trickle-down effect of "bustarelle" (bribes) is the best thing for the country. Mario Fratti is a playwright and drama critic who was born in Italy but has lived in New York since 1963. His plays characteristically take on realistic subjects with a touch of Latin irony. His remarkable body of work includes such noteworthy plays as "The Cage," "The Victim," "Suicide," "Return," "Che Guevara," "Eleonora Duse, "Seducers" and "Refrigerators." His previous La MaMa productions include "Refrigerators," "Madame Senator" and "Passionate Women." Fratti's plays have been published and performed in 19 languages in over 600 theaters. Broadway audiences know him as author of the adaptation of Fellini's film "8½" that became "Nine," a now-legendary Broadway musical that grabbed five Tony awards and eight Drama Desk awards. Director Dan Friedman is the dramaturg at the Castillo Theatre. In that capacity, he speaks and publishes frequently on the work of Castillo and postmodern political theatre. His articles have appeared in Modern Drama, Theatre InSight and Theatre Symposium and he is editor of "Still on the Corner and Other Postmodern Political Plays" by Fred Newman. His earlier scholarly work in theatre history includes co-editing, with Bruce McConachie, "Theatre for Working Class Audiences in the United States, 1830-1980." A founding member of the Castillo Theatre, Dan previously worked with several American political theaters, including the New York Street Theatre Caravan, Madison Theatre-in-the-Park, and Workers Stage. Dan is also a director and the author or co-author of 14 plays. He is currently directing "Confused Circuses' by David Alarcon, which will open at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe on March 28.

2002 page