Passionate Women, a play by Mario Fratti (librettist for the musical Nine) , has its American premiere at NY's La MaMa, Dec. 3- 20. As an Italian journalist in the late 50's playwright Fratti gained a personal acquaintance with legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini, covering his rehearsals and spending time with Fellini himself and his actors. During that time, Fratti imagined a scenario for a revenge play, where the actors with whom Fellini had a tempestuous relationship came out to exact their revenge.
From those daydreams, Fratti built Women, in which Nino, an Italian filmmaker, is suffering from a creative block, so he begins going to bed with scores of beautiful women seeking ideas and stimulation. His chosen sexual partners, all artists in their own right, begin to feel exploited by The Maestro and exact revenge by making a movie of Nino's life and fantasies, with the aim of humiliating him for the public.
Women isn't the first play of Fratti's caught up somehow in the life of Fellini. He received national acclaim for his book to the Broadway hit musical Nine, which itself was adapted from Fellini's film "8 1/2". Women predates Nine, but is just now receiving its American premiere.
While known primarily for Nine, Fratti's plays have been performed in 19 different languages, in over 600 theatres. Other plays by Fratti include: The Cage, The Victim, Che Guevara and Refrigerators.
The cast for Women includes downtown favorite Tony Torn (Richard Foreman's The Universe, and the upcoming Paradise Hotel), Holly Cate (Bway's An Ideal Husband), Maria Cellario, Bruce Katzman, Charmaine Lord, Rebecca Nelson, and Susan Wands.
Mario Fratti's Passionate Women, directed by Joumana Rizk, plays at La MaMa E.T.C., Dec. 3-20. For tickets ($12) or more information, call (212) 475-7710.
-- By Sean McGrath