E' buona ha? Squisito ha? Ancora!
English translation: "It's good, right? Tasty right? More!" That was just one of the phrases listed in a press information for Blood Type: RAGU, a solo comedy that played at the Belmont Playhouse in Bronx, NY back in 2000.
Two years later, on Feb. 24, there was a special, one-night-only staging of the piece in New York, at the Manhattan Theatre Source on McDougal Street. Due to overwhelming ticket demand, another performance has been added for 7:30 PM March 17.
Frank Giano Ingrasciotta is the writer and performer of the piece, about a family that emigrates back and forth from Sicily to America. Dante Albertie, who staged Shyster, directed the original RAGU, which spans 29 years and features 32 characters.
Performances for Blood Type: RAGU began Jan. 8, 2000 at the uptown Belmont Playhouse, which specialized in Italian-themed works (such as Behind the Counter with Mussolini and Love in the Age of Dion). Initially, only a four-week run was planned, but the piece extended to the end of April. A free performance of the first half of the show was also given in May 2000 at NYC's HERE. *
Author-actor Ingrasciotta, an acting teacher trained in the Meisner technique, developed RAGU at Off-Off Broadway's Dixon Place. He told Playbill On-Line in 2000 the show was about "the first-generation child as a go-between two cultures. It should resonate with any ethnic group that's experienced this." Asked how much of the show was autobiographical and how much was fictional, Ingrasciotta replied, "It's 80 percent true, 10 percent my wife's story combined into mine, and 10 percent heightened for drama. Ultimately I'd like it to be a movie; that's the eventual vision.”
Oh, and some other "Sicilian and Bastardized English Translations" used in the show? How about:
* Dio mio, ora l'uova — "Oh my God! Now the eggs."
* Managia l'America — "Damn this America."
* Pezza di tsoccola senza marito — "You piece of whore without a husband."
* Porca femmina americanizata — "An Americanized pig woman"
* Ayo una bruchura allu stomacu, mi fa guare gure, mi fria — "I have a burning in my stomach that fries me like a drop of fire."
For tickets ($10) and information on Blood Type: RAGU call (212) 501-4751.
— By Andrew Gans and David Lefkowitz