“Maybe i’m not a free person, but certain passionate of freedom”
Interview with the actress, soon staged in our theaters with “The Secret of Life – Rosalind Franklin”
by Maria Lucia Tangorra
In this sector it is never easy to emerge, even when it is deserved, fortunately the right opportunity has also arrived for Lucia Mascino with “Amori che non sanno stare al mondo” by Francesca Comencini (taken from the novel of the same name published by Fandango Libri).
A multifaceted actress with great experience on the stage, she became known to film audiences in particular thanks to the series “Una mamma imperfetta“. We had the opportunity to interview her during the thirty-fifth edition of the Torino Film Festival (November 24 to December 2, 2017) where two films were presented that well represent it and – one might say – represent us. In addition to the work of Comencini, we were able to attend, in fact, “Favola“, based on the show created by Filippo Timi, with whom he created a fundamental artistic and human association. We discover through his words all the details of a woman and an artist who has been generously told.
If you had to respond instinctively, what impressed you of Claudia’s character?
From the first moment I read it on paper and imagined it, I felt great sympathy for this adult in battle with herself and with others. In battle for the values brought to the absolute as the idea of truth and totality. She is a generous woman, but also intrusive and demanding, she is funny and insecure and her exposing herself with enthusiasm comes from believing that there is something important to defend and to fight for. Claudia is one who “shouts” not to clash but to meet
The idea is that the directors are more able to sketch the women. In your opinion, this happened with “Lovers who can not be in the world”?
Yes, I think yes. In this case, I would also add the script written by three women (F. Comencini, F. Manieri and L. Paolucci, nda); they feel their work together, they went to fish from various materials including philosophical texts (including “Toxic text, Sex, drugs and biopolitics in the pharmacopornographic era” by Paul B. Preciado). They have translated “serious” materials into comic scenes while keeping the content. This choice is primarily due to a battle that Francesca Consencini has done for years on the role of women in society.
It is not the push that my generation had, born in an era when, after all, many things had already changed, and yet only forty years ago there was the “reparative marriage”, and we do not realize how much the path to be done is still urgent in the present.
The film tells of a love story and reasons about love by entering a specific historical moment that is today’s. It does not want to be an indictment of the male role. Here man is the desired object, he is the “much loved” and in this there is a reversal with respect to the story to which we are accustomed. Then we chose to take some themes that may seem cliche, like the fifty-year-old who leaves his partner for a younger, but which are realities, and have been treated with sincere seriousness and at the same time irony, without ever being trivialized. Some scenes will remain cult.
Speaking of forma mentis, the idea still remains that a woman is complete if she realizes the desire for motherhood…
Although today there are women without happily single children, there is still a “ghetto” social look towards the woman who made that kind of choice and finds herself at the “second act of her life” as Francesca (Comencini) says – I steal her expression because I like it.
“Lovers who do not know how to be in the world” is a feminine rather than feminist comedy, but in addition to the love story there is a reasoning on the freedom to be alone and to determine: the idea that the conclusion of a great love story does not it coincides with the failure or the end of a life, but with a passage. Alas we still pay the price for a social evolution that has not gone hand in hand. It is a film for couples, singles, men and women, for people who have been left, to leave and fall in love; In short, there is no line with a judgment and in case, when you comment, you do it with tenderness and fun and, in any case, everyone is judged, both Flavio (Thomas Trabacchi) and Claudia. Seeing the feature film with the audience I discovered that parts that I thought were dramatic made laugh because clearly some dynamics are common.
For example, during a nightly lit scene, at the height of tension, he says: “No, do not cry … but why do you cry all between four and five in the morning?” And there the spectators laugh. I only found out that this is obviously more frequent than I thought.
As it denotes that scene, I would say that in general, the same script often changes register, from the comic to the dramatic, so that I can not say in the word “gender” what is right to put: comedy? Drama? Can you put both? Comedy drama maybe.
How is the “right balance” found?
Enjoying all the dynamics of the film and, when they are comic, enjoying the rhythm of writing, while, when they become dramatic, do not be afraid to give free vent to that part. After all, it rarely happens and for me it is a great merit of the film, which is deliberately not homogeneous. The difficulty was to keep the truth of feeling. “Lovers who do not know how to be in the world” does not tell a distance, but a closeness, touching the heart. Inside the characters think a lot about love and sex, yet, at the same time, is a feature that we could define instinctively.
The “Favola” by Sebastiano Mauri was also presented at the Torino Film Festival, based on the theatrical show conceived by Filippo Timi…
I have done very few roles so big, apart in “Another planet” (2008) and “Fräulein – A Winter Fable” (2016), so it is very strange for me to be at the festival with two major works.
It seems to me it’s a beautiful coincidence…
The work of Comencini and in the one directed by Mauri, I play characters very distant from each other and I realized that I really enjoy the opportunity to transform myself. It’s an aspect that I’ve only focused on in recent years. Recently I happened to participate in a show (“Portrait of a capital” directed by Fabrizio Arcuri) made from twenty-four fragments lasting twenty minutes each, written by as many authors from cinema, theater and literature. I embodied two characters that were in two different fragments: in one, written by Fausto Paravidino, I interpreted a Roman coatta and in the other, written by Roberto Scarpetti, a Romanian woman. Two completely different styles. I brought them on stage one after the other, so I went in fifth, I changed very quickly and I was back on stage. I was surprised to see how much fun I had in this sudden transformation, it was like a Russian mountain of the self.
Thinking about the works with Timi in the theater, as a spectator, however, comes as if she already had awareness of this and had fun playing with it…
In “Hamlet” I gave life to three women: the buffoon, the actress who unleashes herself and the mother of Hamlet. In the others they were unique roles in the same piece.
Returning to “Favola”, what kind of work was done for the transition to the cinematographic part?
We were afraid, because the piece was based a lot on a “live” part that led Philip – he is unique in the ability to improvise and not only – and it was a moment that gave a lot of energy both to us and to the public. At the same time it was a very cinematic show with the music of Hitchcock, the cuts of light, the clothes of the fifties and contained in itself the desire to bring it to the cinema and make those characters exist, beyond us.
What we have lost in the exchange with live viewers, we have won a thousand times in truth, intimacy and wealth of details and we have expanded more. The role of Mother – interpreted by the wonderful Piera Degli Esposti – and that of her husband, to whom the talented Sergio Albelli gives expression, have been concretely added; without forgetting Luca Santagostino, who embodies so well the three twin brothers Stuart, that, I swear, it is difficult to connect that it is a single actor to dress the clothes (had the same role in the show, nda). The fascination of cinema is undeniable: at last our eyes were big meters by meters and everything is legible inside them, from the nuances to the cascades of emotions. The cinema in this is unattainable.
Then there is good that the most explosive parts that led viewers to return twenty times to see the show, in the feature film have remained and then miraculously has created a continuity despite the total difference in languages.
We also prepared a lot with an American coach, Michael Margutta, to shift the habit compared to the “routine” that could have been created by the many replicas made. A theatrical aspect is the fixity of the location, there was only one room, on the big screen we find a whole wonderful fifties house rebuilt specifically in Cinecittà – after all it happened so in the cinema of those years with the theaters
In “Favola” there is a reversal of illusions. What, in your opinion, is an illusion that has yet to be reversed today?
The illusion consists in thinking that the maintenance of what was both salvation, instead it is impossible to stop the change that is underway – very powerful at this time. For example, it is believed that it is possible to continue to keep closed many types of borders, but the world is in a great change and the process is unstoppable – in some ways I would say fortunately.
Perhaps I am not a free person, but certainly a person who is passionate about freedom: openness brings new energy and can have a positive return. We can not generalize, but perhaps we should believe that we are freer than we think and we should realize and enjoy the conquest of rights that has already taken place. Instead, it seems to me that the opposite occurs: we take for granted the point at which we are and we are munched in conquering or opening ourselves to change, that is, the path we could still do not do because we think we are already free.
I know it can be twisted, but it’s linear. It must be said that it is not easy to realize at what moment one is in the hic et nunc of when one lives it.
Without going into the merits of specific cases of Weinstein and what has broken out in Italy, just for the speech on freedom, do you think that something is moving?
Speech is an action and speaking is important and it is terrible that someone answers “it has always been like that”. At the same time I think that gossip is faking change, it is counterproductive and public opinion should not replace a more serious and political evaluation. Talking about it on TV is an audience. We must all contribute to catching the voice that has risen, certainly fundamental. Perhaps talking will cause someone to find the courage to do it.
I am annoyed by the respectability that you can get to replace an actor in a production because stained with black stamp. I would not mix. Without a doubt the subject is delicate and very broad.
This dynamic of power exists in all areas, not only in that of the show, but we talk about it because it is part of the gossip.
Lucia, also in the show “The secret of life – Rosalind Franklin” (Teatro Eliseo production), which you bring to Milan (to Franco Parenti from 3 to 15 April 2018, nda) and on tour, we refer to this…
Yes, I’m happy to go back to the theater and work with a talented director, Filippo Dini, as I am excited about returning to Franco Parenti, which is an important house for me. It stimulates me the opportunity to work again on a text that reverses the point of view and brings to light a scientist, a woman, who has contributed to the discovery of DNA but that has always been ignored by the history books in favor of Watson and Crick deemed “the discoverers” of DNA.
Evidently and, I would add, it is finally in the spirit of the times to give back to those women who have been removed for years.
A few days ago I thought, for example, about a small thing about the roles … my mother, for twenty years, cooked twice a day for six people and even though mine was a family not too traditional, where ‘It was a good exchange (my father on Sunday morning prepared the béchamel to make lasagne), it is absurd to have always taken it for granted. We should have said thank you every day, even give her a hand. Traditional roles have involved women a lot.
I believe that you do not want to be a champion “marrying” certain projects, but that it is a coincidence…
I probably have a kind of energy that I can play this kind of role for.
When I came home during the middle school period, sometimes, waiting for the bus, I stopped in a bar to keep warm and I saw the electronic tricks, where the points appeared on little women with naked breasts and I thought: « here I am she, I am a woman “. I felt discomfort for the gender difference between male and female and for years I also fought with my femininity, it irritated me that someone relate to me as a woman and not as a person.
I looked with surprise and almost with admiration my peers who without too much trouble, with ease, wore, for example, the fluttering miniskirt; I, on the other hand, felt the whole story behind him, millennia of differences and obligations.
Let’s deepen your happy theatrical meeting with Timi. In a sector and, in general, in a world in which it seems that there can be mainly competition, why is the marriage with him so lasting?
We met in ’97 during an internship in Bologna, he was already working in the company of Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, I had just met him but it is as if, somehow, we were recognized.
He is more impetuous, I more suspicious, but both with so much energy, with a childish need for play and an adult desire to feel and embrace existence. We worked both with Giorgio (Corsetti) for years, often on tour in France, together with a group of local circus, then in 2005 I left the company (he the following year) and for me it was a moment of crisis.
For a year I stayed in Ancona trying to figure out which other road to take; At that time Filippo metaphorically picked me up and we did not lose any more. There is a great friendship between us and an artistic understanding, perhaps because we grew up together. In 2007 I “shared” winning a national call with my show project (realized with the dancer Rebecca Murgi) entitled “I am international”, where the absurdity of being so closed to the other was highlighted and at the same time to fill his mouth with the idea of being internationally approved.
Then when in 2008 Filippo created his first show as an author and director, as well as an interpreter, he called me. I refer to the “Hamlet”, a wonderful piece (the first version, in 2009, had the title “The people do not have bread? Let’s give them the croissants”, directed by F. Timi and Stefania De Santis and production Santo Rocco and Garrincha in collaboration with Nuovo Teatro Nuovo of Naples, Artedanza E20, Teatro Stabile dell’Umbria In 2012, the artist reconciled in his own way with this cult, proposing a new exhibition entitled “Amleto²“, which also takes care of the Directed by Franco Parenti Theater Production, nda).
Then we made four more together and, parallel to the theater, the two TV series “Una mamma imperfetta” (Rai) and “I delitti del BarLume” (Sky) arrived, which allowed me to have more popularity and therefore to improve the horizon and the present work.
So what characterizes your partnership?
Something similar understood from the beginning and that, from experience to experience, has been amplified. In 2005 Filippo was on tour with “Metafisico Cabaret” (for which he won the Ubu) and I had not been taken, I entered the race for a replacement. Let’s say that I learned from Corsetti, but I also received some injuries. I still remember when we were in Naples, from behind the scenes I saw Timi on the stage and I thought to myself: “if it goes on alone I will follow it because I have so much to learn”.
Nobody, then, had understood that he would be the author and director of his own works. Destiny, then, is incredible: my first training took place at the Pontedera research and experimentation center, the previous year he had been there but we had not met. Then I went to Tonino De Bernardi’s set to visit her daughter, my friend, and the director urged me to take part in a scene in the film. But I was intimidated, Filippo was a real histrion. Well, the fact is that now in the movie (“Making Life”) there is a scene of the two of us kissing each other.
I can not rationally say what our relationship is, I know I can not remember my life when we did not know each other. Filippo is an incredible person. We love so much.
Lucia, you opted for the CSRT of Pontedera, a strong choice…
Even that happened a bit by chance. Following a workshop in Ancona, the person who kept him put me apart from this training course where the students came and get paid.
. In addition to this, it was an approach that corresponded most to me because I was not interested in perfect diction, but I liked the “listening” exercises more, a language that was almost abstract, where one could throw in the impulses and the unconscious. Even the work with Corsetti was linked to interior images, drawing on texts taken from Kafka and Ovid.
Slowly I moved away, also taking taste in telling the normality.
The Teatro Franco Parenti of Milan has become a bit of a theatrical house. Do you think there are theaters and productions that want to cultivate an artist over time?
The Parenti is really a house, in the last two years I have warned in this sense also the Teatro Argentina in Rome.
Surely the Shammah with Fillippo had a meeting and he with us that we feel a company even if it is not legally. In a world where relationships are often fleeting, in particular for the big and small screen, the theater manages to do a little more family because for a show you have the chance to live a longer time.
With “Una mamma imperfetta” written by Ivan Cotroneo, it began to experiment on the level of seriality. How do you think it has changed since then?
The format was conceived by Cotroneo (who also wrote and directed) together with Francesca Cima of IndigoFilm. It was an experimental work of great quality for writing, photography and interpretation, among other things the first that saw the collaboration between Rai and the web – in the specific case it was the “Corriere della Sera”. We, both the audience and the public, loved it and personally it was an important step in my career.
It seems to me that both in Italy and in America film actors go happily towards the series. With “I delitti del BarLume” I have almost the idea that I will meet again the classmates so I look forward to the summer to shoot the new episodes and this reassures a little, especially on the actor’s level.
It takes the right measure, a fiction that engages you for six months consumes you and can occur – for some – the risk of living them mechanically.
What have not you done yet emerge of you?
Until now the trouble was to stay afloat, now I can open my eyes and try to understand what is missing as an artistic expression, but I hope there is still a lot to discover. I do not feel so arrived.
Maybe you deserved this chance even before…
Probably yes, also because now so many parts I can not do it [he says it with bitterness and humility] but now I enjoy the moment that has finally arrived.
Recalling the title of Francesca Comencini’s film, what does it mean for you to be in the world as a woman and an artist?
To be in the world you have to be genuine and in search, be curious about what surrounds us, looking at others. I always look for the instructions for use, but I do not have them. Definitely give and receive.
When you grow up, life must pass mainly through the heart, even the head.
We conclude this interview with her next projects…
I had in mind to make a monologue with Lucia Calamaro, which I appreciate very much, unfortunately this year it was not possible. I hope happens soon. During the winter I should make a comedy by a Milanese director (the actress is shooting “Palloncini”, second opera by Laura Chiossone, nda) and then the tour with “The secret of life” is scheduled.
In January, the new stories of “I delitti del BarLume” will be broadcast on Sky Cinema Uno (they have already aired and are available on Sky On Demand in the “I delitti del BarLume” collection, nda), waiting to find out if we’ll be shooting next summer.
Ufficio Stampa Lucia Mascino: Federica Ceraolo