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A Night at the Ghione Theater: Dead Poets Society in Rome

L’Attimo Fuggente starring Ettore Bassi, a reproduction of Tom Schulman’s Dead Poets Society went on stage in Rome from the 8th to the 20th of October bringing the movie’s powerful message back to the hearts of audiences.

Dead Poets Society 

Based on Tom Schulman’s life experiences with his inspirational teacher Samuel Pickering at Montgomery Bell Academy, Dead Poets Society is a semi-autobiographical screenplay that won Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards in 1989. The movie, starring the endlessly talented Robin Williams, was nominated for Best Picture as well as Best Director. Directed by five-time Oscar-nominated Peter Weir, since its release it has become iconic due to the powerfully engaging storytelling that captivated the hearts of audiences worldwide. 

The story centers around the impossibly shy Todd Anderson as he enrolls at Welton Academy following in the footsteps of his valedictorian brother. His popular roommate, Neil Perry, who lives in the shadow of his father introduces Todd to his friends. As their previous English teacher retires, the boys meet a figure that greatly impacts their lives, Professor Keating. Going against the values and traditions of the school, Keating introduces the boys to Poetry from a unique perspective, teaching them to live to the fullest, believe in themselves and most of all think independently. “Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary!” this lesson becomes the motto of the students who end up emulating their teacher and reconstituting the Dead Poets Society their esteemed Keating used to be a member of during his student years at the Academy. The movie instills a deep love for life, love and Poetry reminding us all to seize the moment and savor the depth of each experience by living our lives with passion and bringing our unique contribution to the world. 

Titled “L’Attimo Fuggente” in Italian and starring Ettore Bassi as the inspiring Professor Keating, Tom Schulman’s screenplay is on stage directed by Marco Iacomelli at the Ghione Theater of Rome and is set to reach other Italian cities as well.

 

Ghione Theater

Located near the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, this 468 -seat theatre was founded in 1982 by Actress Ileana Ghione and recently restored. It features plays that range from the classic to the modern as well as musical performances in its charming, intimate setting. From the 8th to the 20th of October it featured the Italian version of Tom Schulman’s screenplay adapted for the theater audience to remind people that we each have a verse to contribute to life.

 

L’Attimo Fuggente

No experience of the Eternal City is complete without immersing yourself into its Art & Entertainment scene. On Wednesday, accompanied by my friend Sara, I took the unmissable opportunity to see “L’Attimo Fuggente” (Dead Poets Society) at the Ghione Theater. We took a walk through Saint Peter’s Square, taking in the beauty all around us while on the way to see the play. Teatro Ghione is located only 10 minutes away from Saint Peter’s Basilica and it is quite charming with its black and red decor and red velvet seats. 

“L’Attimo Fuggente” is a celebration of Love, Art, Poetry and Beauty brought to life by passionate actors that wish to remind us all that we only have one life and the way we choose to tell the story is the way we impact the legacy we create. 

What is most amazing about this play is that the cast brings immense emotion to life with a minimal scenography by Maria Carla Ricotti featuring white panels, upon which media relevant to the story such as verses and pictures is displayed in key moments, as well as chairs that are artfully used by the students in a powerfully metaphoric way during their scene switches. This allows the audience to stay focused on the powerful emotional thread of the story creating a greater impact. 

The boys were brilliantly selected as they all embody their character’s characteristics with intensity, dedication and youthful enthusiasm that is pure joy to watch. Neil Perry (Matteo Vignati), Todd’s roommate, is portrayed with a mischievous aliveness and dark layers that give the character dimension and an engaging nature. His character’s choice, to end life due to being suffocated by his overbearing father’s demands regarding his life path, is done in a defying, full of life way that makes his passing powerfully moving. Knox Overstreet, played by Matteo Sangalli, flaunts a megawatt smile and charismatic gentleness that is endearing to the audience as they watch him win over the beautiful Chris (Sara Giacci). Rwanda, otherwise known as Charles Dalton, is fully engaging in his commitment to rock the boat and challenge the status quo. Alessio Ruzzante sweetly embodies Todd Anderson, who’s painful shyness draws the attention of Professor Keating, who becomes personally invested in bringing him out of his shell and connecting him to his classmates as well as to Poetry, leading him to reveal his inner depth. 

Ettore Bassi is the perfect choice for this role, as he has the endearing humility, dignity and powerful presence required to embody Keating. His empathy helped him create a natural connection with the boys and the audience as well, turning him into a magnetic presence each time he walked on stage. The iconic classroom scene where John Keating creates rapport with Todd helping him come out of his shell was a powerful reminder of how believing in someone can empower and create connection, in this rendition the scene was incredibly moving. The lead actor has an extraordinary smile that electrifies audiences and it is obvious that his choice to play this character is anything but random, his passion for the values that Professor Keating instills in his students are shared by him powerfully, revealing the depth of his dedication is also his own. It’s not only cathartic but also empowering to watch someone moved by a mission they are deeply dedicated to, this is why Ettore Bassi will resonate strongly with audiences. 

The overall theme of the play, just like the original screenplay, focuses on reminding us all about the legacy we create in the world and the power we have to impact our lives as well as the lives others. A reminder we get to write the story by contributing our uniqueness to this incredible world. 

What verse will you contribute to life?

 

Written by Anamaria Maier

25th Oct 2019