by Ilaria Gelichi
1. Monica tell us about your acting company.
I currently lead the company “The Brads” in Prato. It is the third company I have created. With the previous one we had great success and the chance to travel all over the world. Unfortunately the members have taken different paths and the company broke up. I’m now creating a new one, with the first members being a painter, a jazz musician and a girl who dances and loves working with children. I prefer to create companies with non-professional actors and I really like the idea of working with different people who have the same goal, that of theater. I was born as an actress: I started acting when I was 9 (now I’m 50 years old) and it’s the only thing that I always liked to do.
2. In your opinion, why is it so difficult to find funds to do theater?
It’s easy for “household names”, the big “public” theatres easily find funds. For privates there are no investors.
3. Is there a lack of contents in the theater?
I don’t think so, I believe instead that there is too much content. There are too many people who want to do theatre and take on the role of actors. You have to be talented to do theatre, it’s not possible to say yes to everybody. It takes talent, passion but also self-sacrifice; if you don’t have these 3 qualities, you should dedicate yourself to something else. I feel the need for less amateurs and more great masters...
4. Who were your great masters?
Surely the director Massimo Castri and Carmelo Bene, with whom I had the luck to work, but also the director Giancarlo Cobelli. Anyway, my real education was meeting and working with many different people.
5. Can you tell us something about your experience in Russia?
I attended the Russian Academy of Dramatic Art and had the honour of working with Nikolaj Karpov. At the time, I had the habit of claiming to be the diva and in order to teach me humility, he made me just sit and watch for 3 months. What struck me most of Russians is their great dedication, as if theater was the only possible choice of life. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, parents sent their kids to study at the Academy because there they were able to stay warm and eat every day. Art was seen as a way to redeem themselves from poverty; nowadays, everybody wants to become an actor, even without a real passion and with minimum preparation.
6. What do you think is the level of quality of Italian actors and directors?
It depends, but in general not very high. I think that some are very talented, like for example Toni Servillo. Italy is becoming surrealistic like in a cartoon: in general, I believe we need to think less about the production (especially television) and more about training. It should be possible to study in every theatre. Every theatre should turn itself into a meeting point for actors who wish to study and train. This is the only way the quality of acting and directing in Italy can be enhanced.
7. Which are your plans for the future?
At the moment I was assigned 100 hours of training to “difficult” kids, who stopped studying. Besides two/three core subjects, such as math, Italian, etc.., they are taught a trade - cook, electrician, bricklayer, but there is also room for theater. I am convinced that among them I will find some new talent. I also plan to work with the elderly, and of course establish as best as I can my new company, which I have built for the third time. I would like to make it as a family, reflective of theater companies of the 16th and 17th centuries.
8. Which advice would you give to a young person who wants to do theatre?