"I can't, I have rehearsal," as well as actual performances and Easter, prevented me from seeing Vignettes of an I-talian American Girl until well after it opened. I am glad that I switched my season ticket to this weekend because I would have missed a wonderful show if I had not done so.
Seven Angels was packed on this Friday night, perhaps because it was Sweet Maria's Night. This means that one hour before the curtain opened delicious cakes and biscotti were available for sampling, all donated by the Waterbury bakery. My friend Gary Rosengrant () was volunteering as house manager so we got to chat before the doors opened to the theatre. In her announce, Semina DeLaurentis reminded us that the theatre, the only professional one in the area, is preparing for its twenty-second season.
When the lovely Maria Baratta began her two hour monologue, we knew we were in for a great show. This author/performer was an excellent actress who switched effortlessly from character to character and back to herself, and everyone was able to follow along. I couldn't help but admire the fact that she had memorized all the lines she had written, some of them in Italian. I wished that I remembered more Italian, because I sometimes felt left out when the patrons around me were laughing before she translated the line.
The actress covered a lot of topics during the two acts; nothing was taboo. There was an effective mix of comedy and tragedy and it was so much more than what I expected. I was surprised at how funny the comedy was, and how sad the tragedy. Basically a description of her life, the script was extremely well thought out. I found it interesting that the show started out as a performance piece, grew into a one-act play and finally to an expanded two-act version for Seven Angels. The audience enjoyed hearing local references like St. Mary's Hospital, Chase Avenue and Western.
Anthony Patellis (last seen as ) directed this fine young actress very well. The scenic design by Eric Diaz was, as always, extremely well-done. Without fail he manages to use exactly the right items to set the mood. The lighting by Matt Guminski added to the necessary ambiances.
I highly recommend this show which runs until April 22 (there will also be a special matinee at 2 p.m. on April 21). One does not need to have an Italian heritage to enjoy it but the accents and Italian references were probably my favorite part. Go see it before it is too late.