ASTORIA – Italian-Greek actress Flavia Sgoifo starred in Unspoken Words by Women, directed by Natalia Bougadellis, at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria on March 29 and 30.
The play is a fascinating collection of four monologues by well-known authors, Simone Bertière, Bertolt Brecht, Anna Reynolds and Moira Buffini, and Yiannis Ritsos, all featuring a common element, heroines who came to the forefront of public opinion and spoke words that in the literary and theatrical world had never been spoken before.
In honor of World Women’s Day, March 8th, Sgoifo gives voice to these unspoken words and feelings in a one woman show under the direction of Natalia Bougadellis. As noted in the play’s press release, the Greek words for “silence” and “voice” are both gendered female.
Performed in Greek, the play is a powerful and emotional journey through four very distinct characters’ lives. Sgoifo, who demonstrated her comedic talents in Extraordinary Aliens just about a month ago, proved her skill with drama and tragedy as well in this play. The four characters are distinct, carefully delineated by Sgoifo through subtle mannerisms and changing her voice, so that even without the wardrobe changes, each individual emerges to share her tale of woe with the audience.
Opening with the Apology of Clytemnestra by Simone Bertière, the play immediately draws the audience in with the monologue and unexpected confessions of the character best known from ancient Greek drama for murdering her husband Agamemnon. She points out that for every one Achilles, there are 10 Clytemnestras, and admits she never forgave her husband for sacrificing their daughter Iphigeneia so that the winds would be favorable for sailing to Troy.
In the scene from The Jewish Wife by Brecht, Sgoifo packs her suitcase, poignantly preparing to leave Fritz, noting that “I stayed too long.” Her words are full of emotion and tension as she points out “they don’t let you love the woman you want.”
The scene from Jordan by Reynolds and Buffini was especially moving and powerful since it draws attention to perhaps the most unspeakable of all crimes, a mother killing her child. Sgoifo’s profound humanity in the role of an incarcerated woman was a highlight of the play showcasing her gift as an actor to communicate this marginalized woman’s experience and allow the audience to connect with such a tragic story.
In Ristos’ Moonlight Sonata, Sgoifo delivered the poetic text with skill to conclude the show as the music plays, adding its beauty to the layers of meaning.
Audience members applauded the unique theatrical experience enthusiastically. During the reception which followed the performance, many audience members remained to congratulate Sgoifo and tell her they look forward to her next production.
The director, Natalia Bougadellis, spoke to The National Herald about the show noting that Sgoifo chose the pieces for the play and that in a short time, about four weeks, they were able to put it together.
Sgoifo also spoke with TNH following the performance. She told TNH that it was a return to performing in Greek for her after several recent productions in English.
More information about Flavia Sgoifo and her upcoming projects is available online: www.flaviasgoifo.com.