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New York City - Theatre

Frank J. Avella Talks to
Actor Francesco Andolfi
June 8, 2012

Photo Credit:
Marianna Andolfi

 


Francesco Andolfi is a theatrical talent on the rise here in New York City. An Italian actor who grew up in Rome, Francesco, 21, now calls NYC his home. He was a vital part of the ensemble for the recent benefit staged reading of my play, “Vatican Falls” and I hope to work with him again in the future.

What made you passionate about acting?

It all began in Rome in 2008 during a conference regarding the relations between New York and Roman theatre. I met La Mama, the legendary director, actress and musician. She was quite the lively spirit, despite her age and she took an interest in me—telling me all about the very alive American theatre and how it has its roots in European culture. She said it was everyone’s duty to preserve the flame of this relationship and help enforce it. At the end of my studies in Italy, in 2009, I decided to study acting in New York. I was accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting--where I happily graduated in 2011.

What are your thoughts about working and living in New York City and working in U.S. theatre?

When I first came here I was living on my own and I thought that would be a very challenging experience. But as time passed, I found that the lifestyle of this city matched my spirit and, therefore, I didn’t feel alone or lost at any point.

I’ve been lucky to work with a very diverse bunch of professionals. It has been amazing because everyone contributes with his/her native culture and I understood how much my classical heritage could enhance my performances. I’ve toured the US as Orestes in Euripides’s “Iphigenia in Tauris,” travelling from Oregon to Texas, from Chicago to Broadway. I always felt a great connection with American audiences and have been happily shocked by the great passions found on the stage.

I find myself at ease working with Americans, perhaps because of their open mindedness…perhaps because I was lucky enough to find respectful colleagues.

I have not had one bad experience. I’ve actually only received positive feedback from both the audience and the crew and most of those I have worked with have asked me to work with them again; that’s one of the most rewarding feelings—in addition to the addictive applause of the audience.


Francesco Andolfi

Are you interested in film acting or do you see yourself doing mostly theatre?

I’ve always been very fond of theatre. Theatre is the reason I started acting in the first place. I’ve always been more comfortable on a stage than in front of a camera. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other but I’m addicted to the momentum and the “live” experience that one has on stage. It is where I belong.

I would like to do more film work but theatre will always bring out the best of me and I want it to always be a part of my life.

What are the differences between working in the theatre here in NYC and in Roma?

I haven’t worked in Rome as much as I have in NYC but there’s one thing I can tell for sure: Rome, and Italy, have completely forgotten the idea of Meritocracy. Here you don’t need to know anybody to become someone and/or pursuit and fulfill your dreams. If you’re good, you will get what you deserve; some people call it karma but I’m not sure how much that has to do with this business. I work therefore I deserve to.

Who are your heroes?

Heroes? I don’t think I ever thought of anyone as a hero per se. Once a teacher of mine asked me: “Who’s your favorite actor?” and I replied, “I’m a huge fan of Al Pacino, but if I had the chance to see them live I would say either Peter O’Toole or Marlon Brando.” At that point the teacher said: “That’s too bad. You should be your favorite actor.” Since then I always lived by that idea. If I were to mention people who inspire me I’d say everyone who in the past, in one way or another, have fought so that I could have the rights and the freedom to be here and live what I am living as I am living it.

What are your favorite places/things to do in NYC?

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. The view from the roof cafè of the Metropolitan is beautiful at sunrise. I love that I was treated as a friend from the shop owners just after a few days…the taste of a flying hot dog grabbed while running to rehearsals…the existential struggle of choosing whether to go to MoMa or the Guggenheim…the warm caress of the Hudson river from a bar at sunset, the warm embrace of Broadway lights as you leave the theatre post-performance…the brotherly love shared with multicultural friends as we speak of our hopes and dream in a Lower East Side lounge…surely it would be nice to find some time to sleep at some point.

You were recently involved in a staged reading of my play, “Vatican Falls” here in NYC. Can you speak to that experience?

When I first read “Vatican Falls” I was immediately drawn to the theme of this play and I wanted to be a part of it very badly. I researched the play and its history and I found out about the other readings and especially the scheduled, then cancelled opening in Italy. Well, that did it; the motivation that I gained from that episode moved me to put as much of myself as I could into the play. As rehearsals started I realized how much this play could be very dramatic and challenging for it requires a good amount of energy to do it justice.

This was the first time that I ever played such a role. Gianluca, Claudia’s brother, is an Italian man who really wants revenge against the church and in the play he speaks both Italian and English--sometimes simultaneously. The character wasn’t as challenging as the back and forward between the two languages--made more complicated by how much I’ve worked on an average American accent.

Once we performed the piece, my heart was filled with pride as soon as I found out how much we raised for the sex abuse survivors.

This play needs to be seen…to be out there. People need to know what happened and what I’m sure is still happening all over. The lack of information is what led to what happened when this play was supposed to be performed in Rome and this is something no one should ever allow to happen ever again.




 

 

 


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