Carmela’s Table

By (author): Vittorio Rossi

At first glance a classic tale of immigrants to North America, there is something more to Vittorio Rossi’s autobiographical A Carpenter’s Trilogy than the conflict of a romanticized past confronting the excitement of a brighter future. Carmela’s Table, part two of this chronicle, finds Silvio, the decorated Italian war hero, settled in a new suburb of Montreal with his wife, their three children and his mother, applying for immigrant status in 1957.

Bristling with a cold and violent sense of outrage at the wartime horrors he survived in North Africa; his prison camp experiences in England; a bigamist father who abandoned his young family to emigrate to Chicago; betrayed by his mother who raised him and his sister in the humiliating poverty of their Italian village; it is easy for the audience to empathize with Silvio’s cold-hearted need for retribution, lashing out at everyone and everything around him as the play opens.

While Rossi’s dramatic portraits of Silvio’s manipulative mother, Filomena, his inexplicably loyal wife, Carmela, and their understanding and supportive neighbours, Neva and Dave, are finely drawn variations on what have become pop-culture stereotypes of Italian immigrants, they clearly exist to allow Rossi to peel back the complex layers of Silvio’s psyche—to reveal what drives him to his bi-polar excesses of emotion: the willfully constructed memory, the unassailable sense of honour, the judgmental dismissal of what he perceives are the faults of others, and an intransigent refusal to acknowledge his complicity in the creation of his own problems—all the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the play’s final cathartic scenes, however, Silvio is forced to understand that to have consistently chosen not to act on what he has always known has also been a choice—one that now finally threatens to overwhelm and destroy his family.

AUTHOR

Vittorio Rossi

Born in Montreal in 1961, Italian-Canadian playwright Vittorio Rossi grew up in the district of Ville-Émard and graduated from Concordia University in 1985 with a BFA specializing in theatre performance. In 1987 he was playwright-in-residence at Montreal’s prestigious Centaur Theatre, during which he completed his first full-length play, The Chain, which opened Centaur’s twentieth-anniversary season in October 1988. The show was then produced at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. From 1990–91 Rossi was writer-in-residence at Concordia University where he also taught playwriting. Rossi has also written several screenplays and directed a film version of his play Little Blood Brother. In 2003 he taught screenwriting at the University of Sherbrooke. His talent extends to acting as well, with screen credits in both television (Urban Angel) and film (Le Sphinx, 1995; Canvas, 1992; Malarek, 1989). Rossi has established himself as a significant playwright in the national theatre community with his award-winning plays.

Reviews

Second time out, the volatile Rosato family still offers passion through familial drama.
Variety.com


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At first glance a classic tale of immigrants to North America, there is something more to Vittorio Rossi’s autobiographical A Carpenter’s Trilogy than the conflict of a romanticized past confronting the excitement of a brighter future. Carmela’s Table, part two of this chronicle, finds Silvio, the decorated Italian war hero, settled in a new suburb of Montreal with his wife, their three children and his mother, applying for immigrant status in 1957.

Bristling with a cold and violent sense of outrage at the wartime horrors he survived in North Africa; his prison camp experiences in England; a bigamist father who abandoned his young family to emigrate to Chicago; betrayed by his mother who raised him and his sister in the humiliating poverty of their Italian village; it is easy for the audience to empathize with Silvio’s cold-hearted need for retribution, lashing out at everyone and everything around him as the play opens.

While Rossi’s dramatic portraits of Silvio’s manipulative mother, Filomena, his inexplicably loyal wife, Carmela, and their understanding and supportive neighbours, Neva and Dave, are finely drawn variations on what have become pop-culture stereotypes of Italian immigrants, they clearly exist to allow Rossi to peel back the complex layers of Silvio’s psyche—to reveal what drives him to his bi-polar excesses of emotion: the willfully constructed memory, the unassailable sense of honour, the judgmental dismissal of what he perceives are the faults of others, and an intransigent refusal to acknowledge his complicity in the creation of his own problems—all the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the play’s final cathartic scenes, however, Silvio is forced to understand that to have consistently chosen not to act on what he has always known has also been a choice—one that now finally threatens to overwhelm and destroy his family.

Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

128 Pages
8.5in * 216mm * 5.5in * 140mm * 0.4375in11mm
191gr
6.75oz

Published:

January 09, 2008

City of Publication:

Vancouver

Country of Publication:

CA

Publisher:

Talonbooks

ISBN:

9780889225947

Book Subjects:

DRAMA / Canadian

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

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