Eleonora Duse - Last Night in Pittsburgh
by Ghigo de Chiara
directed by Maurizio Scaparro
with Anna Maria Guarnieri
music by Simonpietro Cussino
set designer Barbara Petrecca
costume designer Sartoria Farani
light design Gino Potino
production Compagnia Italiana, Teatro Franco Parenti
with the contribution of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
She was born in Vigevano, in a hotel room; she died in Pittsburgh, in a hotel room. It is the beginning and the end of the long journey, I´d prefer to say long tour, around the world of Eleonora Duse, born into a family of actors.
But her art, constructed with the joy and the difficulty of living, with the curiosity and anxiety to know, was destined to stand the test of time and become a myth, perhaps because it was a cry or a beautifully and tragically human chant (as dramatic arts can sometimes be).
Eleonora Duse performed around the world courageously, in her own language, day after day, city after city, always attentive about the changes in stage writing and art.
The first loves, the sky of Naples, Asolo, the encounters with Gabriele D´Annunzio and Arrigo Boito, the letters scattered across the years and the voyages, the great affection for her daughter Enrichetta, and then the war, the love for Italy and its language, the victories, the loneliness, the disappointments, her revenge, Sarah Bernhardt′s Paris and gradually the palaces of St. Petersburg, the love for Beethoven, the "cruelty" of New York, the sun of San Francisco, the rain and the smokestacks of Pittsburgh, but always the will, despite everything, to travel, to learn and to experiment, to return to her true love: the theater.
For this reason "last night in Pittsburgh," in Ghigo de Chiara′s text, comes to life again in a feverish alternating of memories and dreams, with the echo of the texts and performances that are most dear to her, but above all with the comfort of words written throughout her whole life, to her loved ones and to herself.
This is also a way to pay homage today, after 150 years of Italy′s unification, to an extraordinary woman like Eleonora Duse and what it meant and still means for the diffusion of our culture and Italian theater throughout the world.