News Section: Arts and Entertainment
Good Laughs and Italian Food Prove Hearty Mix
SARASOTA – It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, but when it’s combined with a hearty Italian meal, it may be just the cure for a seemingly terminal love life, as demonstrated in Jacques Lamarre’s theater adaptation of the memoir I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci.
Directed by Rob Ruggiero—who scored a hit with Show Boat at Asolo Repertory this season—this wry, one-woman comedy about a woman’s failed love life will have you holding back snorts of laughter all night long.
Photo by My Union House
Starring Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia Melucci, the play is presented in a way that transforms the idea of “dinner theater.” LaVecchia actually cooks a three-course Italian meal on her onstage kitchen for the 10 “upgraded” ticket-holders seated at dinner tables at the base of the stage, all the while recounting episodes from her unsuccessful past relationships.
The actress interacts with the audience members as though they are her house guests to whom she is serving a meal. The dynamic is not at all jarring to the overall effect of the story, however—quite the opposite, in fact.
The audience members are actually drawn into the story as though Giulia Melucci is having a one-on-one conversation with them. She even speaks directly to a few select members of the audience at the beginning of the play to demonstrate her “talent” for identifying a man’s favorite meal.
The character of Giulia Melucci is quick and witty. To make her points, she uses a plethora of food quips and analogies throughout the performance. When deciding what meal to cook for one of her many former boyfriends, she settles on risotto, after which she explains to the audience that, “much like love, risotto requires a lot of work.”
In another successful device, Melucci tells her story by revealing an item she kept from each of her failed relationships, such as a jade bracelet given by her first boyfriend, a framed email she sent to another, and other various keepsakes of the like.
The actress is also skilled with impressions, as she provides each of her former boyfriends’ characters with a different voice, as well as different mannerisms, which certainly adds to the comedy of the performance.
What begins as a story of youthful mistakes and choices by a girl desperately searching for love, becomes a tale of growth into a woman who is comfortable enough with herself to be able to find it on her own without changing who she is.
If you enjoy delicious Italian food and engaging comedic theater performances, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti is a play that will not disappoint. It runs through June 15 in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for Performing Arts. For tickets and show times, visit the Asolo Rep website.
|Antoinette LaVecchia: Photo by My Union House|
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