Volo Verticale: a Collection of One-Act Plays by Professor Rosa Filardi
John Cabot University Italian Language and Theater professor Rosa Filardi recently published Volo Verticale (Vertical Flight, Macabor publisher, 2021). The volume includes the monologue “Volo Verticale” and two one-act plays, “Scarti” (Waste) and “Alba Liquida” (Liquid Dawn). Some of her plays, co-authored with Monica Mioli, are collected in the book Vieni avanti che non ci son dei sassi (Pendragon, Bologna 2006). She is a professional (APID®) DanceMovementTherapist and collaborates with the Compagnia della Mia Misura, an integrated Dance-Theatre group and a project of social inclusion through art and dance. She is one of the founders and organizers of the InVerse poetry festival.
Congratulations on the publication of Volo Verticale! Tell us a bit about it. Are there any playwrights that you consider an inspiration for this book?
“Volo Verticale” was born from the desire, or actually the need to talk about the mother-daughter relationship. The first love relationship we have in life is with our mother, and I wanted to talk about this and about the painful but necessary detachment from this first love. When I was writing the play, images and memories of my mother, grandmother, daughter, and myself came to mind. Volo Verticale is about the four generations of women who are all inside of me.
The second play “Scarti,” which focuses on individuals who are marginalized by society, came about after I read two dreadful news items that deeply affected me. The first one was about a group of young people who set a homeless man on fire while he slept on a bench. The second was about the prison for undocumented immigrants that has existed for years in the U.S. on the border with Mexico. Model citizens have become vigilantes and hunt down immigrants in order to hand them over to the local police. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, over 7,000 people died crossing the U.S. – Mexico border between 1998 and 2017. At the time I wrote the play, I was fascinated by the works of Polish sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman, whose book Wasted Lives inspired the title for the play “Scarti.”
In part, the title of the last play, “Alba liquida,” also comes out from Bauman’s concept of a liquid world, a metaphor for the condition of constant change and mobility in contemporary society. This play is about the ease with which we fall in and out of love with each other and with the things of the world.
In terms of playwrights, there are many who have influenced my vision of theater: Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett first of all, together with all Chekhov, and obviously Shakespeare. The great classical Greek theater also had an influence on me. For example, when I was creating the character of Donna in “Scarti,” I had in mind both Antigone by Sophocles and Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht.
You are currently teaching Introduction to Theatrical Performance. What are the main lessons that students take away from this course?
I would say my main goals for students of this course are: creating awareness of the unity between mind and body; developing a sense of belonging to a group; encouraging students to take responsibility for themselves and their work as part of a team; fostering respect for diversity and the different abilities and possibilities of each person.
I try to create an inclusive and relaxing atmosphere that allows students to work on all these aspects in order to grow as actors, artists, and above all, human beings.
Tell us about your work with Compagnia della Mia Misura.
For over a decade, this group, led by Roberta Bassani and Vittoria La Costa, has been integrating nondisabled dancers with people with various disabilities. I had never worked with this type of group before, and this encounter has enriched me both professionally and personally. It was such a fulfilling experience that I wanted to bring it to JCU, so I created the course Community Inclusion through Art and Movement, where students have the opportunity to meet and work with this group.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am also a DanceMovementTherapist and I have several projects I would like to develop now that Covid is, hopefully, a bit more under control. One of my projects is to further explore the connection between the body and writing, a connection that I believe is fundamental in order to find authenticity in creative work.
In addition, I have a huge project in mind inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf and German choreographer Pina Bausch, two great women, artists, innovators. Both created a new vision, one for writing, the other for Dance and Theatre. I do not know what shape this idea will take yet. Waiting has a fundamental role in any artistic work: letting something emerge, waiting to be struck by an image, a word, a gesture, a movement, something that lights up the entire creative process, is very thrilling.