// exil playwrights’ prize 2022
A longing for America drives the protagonist of Giorgio Ferretti’s play into a state of restlessness. It’s not all that easy to describe America – and nobody knows whether it will be possible to find America one day. But the search seems to be many things at once: hopeful, desperate, painful, fulfilling and sensual.
In a series of spotlight-like episodes, we follow the protagonist of this coming-of-age story from the confusion of early puberty to the uncertainty of adult life in his mid-thirties. And his family, classmates and friends as well as his boss and other parties pipe up too – both asked and unasked – to share their views on the subject that is so important to the main character: the longing for America.
Forty years ago, Gianna Nannini created a scandal when she sang about this desire: to feel America, to touch it and to look for it over and over again. On the record cover, the Statue of Liberty confidently held a dildo instead of a torch. Giorgio Ferretti transforms this metaphor from a search for erotic pleasure into the longing for self-discovery, professional success, excess, security and love, even taking his protagonist all the way to the US. Maybe you could say: Starting from self-gratification, “America” ends up as self-exploration.
Giorgio Ferretti was born in Lecco, Italy, in 1990 and has been living in Germany since 2014. He studied literature and cultural sciences in Milan, Bremen, Bonn and Florence. While holding jobs in hotels and catering, he worked at the Department for Romance Philology of Bonn University and in a retirement home in Strasbourg. He has been studying at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig since 2019 and has been invited to the 2021 auftakt festival für szenische texte, to the 25th Klagenfurt Literature Course in 2022 and to the 2022 Bieler Gespräche. Furthermore, he is a member of the publishing collective hochroth Leipzig as well as the writing and performance collective Rhymth.
“America” received the 2022 exil dramatists’ prize of WIENER WORTSTAETTEN. The jury statement said: “The text’s distinctive feature is a melancholic humour pervading every chapter. In ‘America’, Giorgio Ferretti has created concise acting material, a play that addresses longings that everybody feels and that still remain puzzling to most of us because they are as individual and transient as real life itself.”
With this world premiere production of “America”, Schauspiel Leipzig continues its co-operation with Salome Schneebeli. She has been working as a dancer and choreographer at numerous theatres including Schauspielhaus Zürich, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Schauspiel Frankfurt and the Vienna Burgtheater. Together with Heta Multanen, who will design the set and costumes for “America”, and scenographer Demian Wohler, she constitutes the artists’ collective “Das morphologische Institut”. Salome Schneebeli has already worked at Schauspiel Leipzig as the choreographer for “Lazarus
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