As he already detailed in his blog, Martin and I attended an event at the Italian Cultural Institute last week kicking off the upcoming publication of NYTE’s newest book, Unpredictable Plays, an anthology of 28 plays by the Italian playwright, Mario Fratti. It was a lovely event at which Mario spoke passionately about his love for the theatre and the necessity of nurturing and encouraging new playwrights. He is the kind of person I call “a lifer”: someone who is devoted to both the art of theatre, and its continued growth and health. He said many inspirational and insightful things that night, two of which I’d like to share here.
On the art and craft of playwriting, Mario told the audience, “Playwriting is one-third autobiography, one-third history, and one-third imagination.” Personally, I feel that many of the plays that have moved and challenged me the most all contain these three qualities in abundance.
In addition to being a playwright, Mario is also a theatre critic himself, covering the New York theatre scene for several European newspapers. When asked why he did it, he answered, “We all go to the theatre with great hope in seeing a masterpiece every time.” I won’t presume to speak for any of my other reviewer colleagues, but, for me, I know Mario’s words perfectly sum up the reasons why I do it, too.