I think I was born with the desire to always be heard, always be seen, but most of all to always be in the midst of it, to experience. I ran around strangers' houses opening drawers and cupboards just so I could grab a taste of it all. Growing up in Italy having German father, was more alienating than one could expect, there was a constant sense of being “different.” Not only was my brain always conceptualizing things in two ways but people were also constantly questioning my belonging to either culture, either reality.
My friends today always observe stress fly over my face and laugh about my daily emotional rollercoasters, but as far as I can remember I have been stressed since elementary school! With two working parents I not only became the best friend of the after school bus drivers but was also involved in a slew of activities, horseback-riding, swimming, homework help, pottery, you name it, I tried it. But one activity reigned over all: my Violin. At the age of four I saw a concert where two beautiful girls played a concert in diaphanous white gowns with their eyes closed, and to this day I remember thinking: that will be me (and just as a warning that never became me, but sometimes I play and close my eyes for a few notes and I feel pretty damn cool).
After much arguing my mother allowed me to start playing, and if you have never heard somebody try and learn how to play the violin, believe me, my mother's granted allowance meant a lot more than imaginable.
As any little girl all I wanted was to dress up and be a princess (which in a slightly messed up why is still my desire). BUT for me it came with a twist: for my tenth birthday I had everyone come dressed in princess dresses, but we ate goulash by a bonfire and were only allowed to eat with our hands (one of my more popular invented games “porcellini” little pigs). To me, this is representative of how I see myself and especially myself within this world. Two extremes come together to form one.
I was never “bitten by the bug” an expression which I only recently learned, my path to the theatre was a long and steady journey, where I searched and worked hard to arrive there. In 1998, at the age of six I wrote a short play with two of my friends and we performed this for years. We performed it in the summer on campsites, at peoples home, during other play dates we would add or detract characters, shy people got to play the bear who had no lines (and for the truly shy ones they got o cover their faces, mush to my disagreement that they should really just play the game right). And on one wonderful performance at a campsite in the Sardinian countryside our performance had a full audience that flowered us with gifts. “Le Tre Contadinelle” (loosely translates to the three country-maids) was my first paid acting debut. I'm also not kidding as that was an endlessly important event for me. I realized that when I had fun, people could have fun with me! Here is a picture of the dress rehearsal at the campsite. During this time I had no idea where I was going in terms of acting, there weren't really any opportunities in Italy and my parents, as two scientists, didn't really force me to the arts, so I found my niches to perform: I would sing, do music, try and be utterly perfect in all the school plays put on and slowly I began realizing I had an itch, a desire to do this more. At age eleven I moved to England, where I learned how to speak English, but also learned that this is what I wanted to do. I wasn't able to be part of the Drama club in my school (which was the first ever club of that sort I had ever witnessed) because it conflicted with my classical signing lessons, in retrospect I should have pursued my objective more strongly (small acting pun intended). Yet in England I did, as the picture kindly points out, experience the magic of Theatre.
What happens next is sort of a very fast carnival ride, I started attending an international high school and began really being in a Drama Club, I gave up all my time just to be part of it (we had no right whatsoever to miss any rehearsals, during vacations, weekends, late nights) but I felt like for the first time I had found myself to be on the inside of something, I could identify, my duality had become something to cherish, not despise. I began to identify with my belonging to the theatre and one day, when our College Counselor began to talk about schools, I knew. After a dabble in sociology, a thought about English literature and a foot dip into eduction. I said “No” I want to wake up every morning and know that this is what I will be doing. It had finally become my sense of self-identification. By a snow-balling of events, an overly dramatic journey to the top of the Empire State Building and a wintery journey to America with my father, I ended up here in New York City getting a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. It sounds and seems like a dream-sequence where in another life I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be enacting this dream that was within my core from as long as I knew. Now I am shining this core of mine at a ball of outsiders, a grand ball of people who felt alone, people who felt misunderstood, who found in theatre a community, a family a sense of belonging. We are the outsiders of this world inviting each one of you to join us in our magical journeys.