Theatre West Presents “The Italian in Me”

“The Italian in Me” written and performed by Dina Morrone.

I’m a big fan of one-woman shows and I have been privileged enough to see quite a few of them over the years at various solo theatre events and festivals.  “The Italian in Me” by Dina Morrone has to be one of my absolute favorites though!

Almost painfully and certainly hilariously biographical, “The Italian in Me” follows its author from Canada to Rome as she searches for her place as an Italian Canadian actress.   When Dina announces to her incredulous Italian grandmother her intentions of moving to Rome and becoming a famous actress she is met with the completely understandable response of, “Let me find you a husband.”  Fortunately, Dina resists the obviously tempting offer and flies to Rome anyway to pursue her love of acting and pasta.

After several months of mostly nothing, except praying at every church to every saint, she lands a few dodgy meetings with a few very dodgy producers, directors and agents…surprise, surprise.  Eventually, she meets the maestro Frederico Fellini who advises her to just be herself, hires her for his new TV show and promptly passes away.  But at least she now knows she is on the right track if Fellini wants you then bugger everyone else, right?

After a few years of terrible Italian television shows, she returns to the American continent and lands a brilliant role on Broadway…in a play about Fellini because she finally followed Fellini’s advice…she just took her own sweet time.

“The Italian in Me” is a wonderfully written play about an extraordinary life.  Dina guides us through these comical, pivotal moments with the grace and the gusto of her truly incredible talent.  She struts, she wiggles, she emotes and she cavorts.  Her strength and her belief in herself always propelling her onward and upward…if not occasionally sideways.

This is a woman who has lived her life well, even when in doubt.  This is a woman who embraces her Italian roots, her blonde locks and her Canadian accent, and succeeds because of them.  She is a force of nature, a “forza della natura.”  And she makes me want to move to Rome and zip around the streets on a Vespa drinking cappuccino. 

I highly recommend “The Italian in Me.”  Dina Morrone is a gift from above, a brilliant comic talent with echos of Lucille Ball and Gina Lollobrigida with a touch of Tracey Ullman. I absolutely loved “The Italian in Me.” Bravo!