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Tiffany Parker
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Day Two Fringe Festival Screening at 7

Today at 7pm on our facebook page we are delighted to feature “Caliban” a play written by Maggie Rose who lives in Milan.

Notes on “Caliban” from Maggie and Matteo 

We live in a world that is fading little by little. Some people don’t care about what is an environmental state of emergency, others do. We are part of the latter group. We want to do something in order to help this world, but what can we do? We need help, and that’s why we called in Shakespeare’s Caliban. It’s our belief he’s the man we need in order to make a change, not only environmentally, but also politically and ethically. He was born in nature and can see the world we live in with eyes, free from the biases and assumptions of many Europeans today. He has more questions than answers. Still thanks to his sometimes naive view of the world, he prompts us to question ourselves.

SHAKESPEARE’S CALIBAN

Prospero, the Duke of Milan, in “The Tempest” calls Caliban “a thing of darkness”, “a demi-devil and abhorred slave”. Caliban is called all these names by an important Renaissance duke, who, with his daughter, came to live on his island, learnt all he could learn from the only native in the place and turned him into his slave. Caliban, though, possesses several qualities, and these are what interest us. He has helped Prospero and Miranda to survive when they first arrived, by supplying them with basic foodstuffs and drink. He takes Stefano and Trinculo, the two Neapolitan servants who find themselves shipwrecked on the island, on a trip to find local food and spring water. When he talks about his homeland, Caliban’s language grows poetical, even lyrical, showing his deep love for the place: “The isle is full of noises\sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.\Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments\will hum about mine ears.”

CALIBAN, OUR GUIDE

By focusing on Caliban, we are led to ask ourselves if Prospero, a privileged member of the ‘old world’, behaved fairly. This leads us to ask whether people today are behaving fairly when they exploit nature, cutting down forests and, through unsustainable farming methods, making many species of plants and animals extinct. Through Caliban, we can learn to communicate with nature thanks to a mutual dialogue, instead of engaging in a constant and cruel war with the environment around us. Caliban can perhaps help us to discover the much needed balance between nature and city life. With his childlike nature and playfulness, mixed with his sometimes brash outspokenness, as he is re-imagined here by Maggie.

THE PLOT OF MAGGIE ROSE’S PLAY, CALIBAN’S CASTLE

With Prospero, the Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda, Caliban makes the trip to Milan, to start a new life far from his native island. Miraculously on the way, 400 years go by, and the trio arrive in the middle of a contemporary Milan, full of cars, and pollution with people in their usual rush so they don't even notice them. Like all first generation migrants, Caliban has problems with his legal status, but more than anything he struggles to settle down. He suffers from the lack of nature in Milan: there are so few trees, flowers, green areas in this city of fashion, furniture and design. Still Caliban is resilient and immediately makes friends with the cats at Prospero’s magnificent Sforzesco Castle. He throws himself into caring for the gardens and cooking the local food he brought with him from his island. His life reaches a turning point, moreover, when he is contacted by a group of Green Guerilla Gardeners (GGGs), who enroll him and Miranda in their organisation, whose aim is to recoup abandoned areas of the city, and in general to make Milan a greener, more livable place.  As plans go ahead, Caliban joins his efforts with Miranda and even Prospero, whom he now feels sorry for. This once all-powerful duke tries to understand the new world order and in his own way uses his privileged position to bring about change in his city. Starting from Milan’s Castello Sforzesco and stretching into the suburbs, Caliban, together with Miranda and Prospero, is ready to wage a battle to give rebirth to a natural environment neglected and mistreated for so many years.

BIOGRAPHIES

MATTEO FRANCESCONI attended a three-year course in acting in 2016 at “Centro Internazionale - La Cometa” in Rome. After he graduated Matteo started his career as an actor performing in “Hamelin” (dir. Lisa Ferlazzo Natoli), “Pinocchio” (dir. Fabrizio Arcuri), “Cinderella” (dir. Fabrizio Arcuri). He had a long internship with director Giancarlo Sepe which ended with the performance “Three Sisters… at rehearsals”. He appeared in the short movies “Everyone at home” and “Epidemic”. He has continued studying with well-known directors like Andrea Baracco, Daniele Salvo, Emma Dante and joined the Italian membership organization for professional actors ESTAD led by Daniele Monterosi. In 2018 he toured the show “Is it true or false?”  throughout Italy. In 2019 he decided to move to Glasgow to continue his training, discovering the Nadine George technique and performed in “Down the pot wash”(dir. Daniel Gee Husson) and “Riddle me this”(dir. Daniel Gee Husson) for Short Attention Span Theatre. He is currently working on a short movie with his acting partner in Glasgow.

MAGGIE ROSE held the Chair of British Theatre Studies and Performance at Milan University (where she now has a contract). She is a member of the Scottish Society of Playwrights. Her stage and radio plays, some of them co-written, exploring issues of multiculturalism and migration, have been presented at the Edinburgh Fringe, Traverse and Gateway Theatres (Edinburgh), Oran Mor (Glasgow) and Soho Theatre (London). In 2004 her translation and co-adaptation of Renato Gabrielli’s Mobile Thriller (dir. Carrie Cracknell, Traverse Theatre and a National tour) won a Herald Angel’s Award and a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2006 she dramaturged the critically acclaimed, “I Confess” (dir. Andy Arnold, The Arches, Glasgow) and in 2009 contributed the original concept and dramaturged Graham Eatough’s “Shattered Head” (dir. G. Eatough, Oran Mor and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh). In 2010 she adapted and translated “Alice in Wonderland” (dir. Emiliano Bronzino, Piccolo Teatro di Milano). In 2013 she wrote the prologue and dramaturged Salvatore Cabras’s “Europa our First Migrant” (dir. Joe Gallagher, Edinburgh Festival and Highlands Tour, supported by Creative Scotland). In recent years she has written the site-specific plays, “Caliban’s Castle” (Villa Burba, Rho) “Shakespeare, Secret Agent” (Brera Botanics, Milano), “Harlequin and Shakespeare, Ltd” (dir. Massimo Navone, Villa Ghirlanda, Cinisello Balsamo), “A Walk in Shakespeare's Garden” (dir. Donatella Massimilla and performed at Brera Botanics, Grotte di Catullus, Sirmione, Lago di Garda, during European Heritage Days, supported by the Polo Museale della Lombardia, The Great Garden, New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon) for botanical gardens, parks and villas, reflecting her current interest in food and the natural world in Shakespeare. She is developing the documentary, “Shakespeare, Arlecchino and Green Passion” and a book on Herb Women in the Renaissance and the New Millennium. In 2019 her play, “Ophelia, Herb Woman”, toured botanical gardens and villas, with the support of the Polo Museale della Lombardia. She is a co-founder of the theatre workshop "PER, una Venezia consapevole" and has co-written and co-curated the productions, Veniceland and The Market of Venice, staged throughout Venice in site-specific locations. Her next workshop for PER will be devoted to climate change and the specific dangers Venice is facing. In 2019, with Sal Cabras and Julia Holden, she founded English Theatre Milan, a non-profit association that aims to bring top quality theatre in English to Milan, produce new plays in English, and ultimately create a new and vibrant theatre community in the city.  She is currently adapting Eugenio D’Agostino’s novel, “Wandering Minstrel”, for actor Gavin Paul, original idea, Carlo Pirozzi, research fellow at Edinburgh University.

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