It has been almost a decade since Steve Galluccio put his theatre career on hiatus to focus on television and movies. This week, he returns to the Centaur Theatre to present his latest creation, In Piazza San Domenico.
His new play, directed by Roy Surette, is set in the mid-century’s Italy. The comedy, which revolves around love and misunderstandings, was written by Galluccio with the image of Sophia Loren in mind as the lead.
“Cinematographically, it’s an era that was very interesting to me,” Galluccio said. “Italy was very interesting to me in the 1950s so I thought, ‘why don’t I pretend like I’m writing [the play] for Sophia Loren, and set it in the 1950s in Naples,’ which is where my people are from.”
In Piazza San Domenico marks the return of Galluccio to theatre after having spent the last couple of years working on various projects, such as the CBC/Radio-Canada TV series, Ciao Bella, and the movies Surviving my Mother and Funkytown, which finished filming in August.
The catalyst that propelled Galluccio’s professional life was the unprecedented critical success and popularity of his Montreal-based play, Mambo Italiano, first performed in 2000. Presented both in English and French – the latter a translation by playwright Michel Tremblay – the play succeeded to connect with audiences by portraying the coming-out of a young man to his Italian family with humour and sensibility.
Three years later, he was quoted by the Montreal Gazette saying “he was through with the stage,” deciding to concentrate on cinema. He has now clarified this statement, saying he was only expressing how he felt at the time. “I tend to always make these statements,” he said. “At the moment, it was one of those things when [you feel], ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life’ and then all of a sudden you say, ‘well, maybe not.”
This new production diverges slightly from the original style Galluccio fans are used to. “In my previous work, I have always played around with the notions of comedy and drama,” he said. “With Mambo, it was very funny but there was a moment in the play where it became very serious . . . In this play it is pure comedy, through and through.”
The production of In Piazza San Domenico starts Oct. 6. The French production, translated once more by Michel Tremblay, will be presented in summer 2010. Afterwards, Galluccio intends to add the roles of producer and distributor to his resume. He is also looking forward to working on other upcoming projects, including two that are still in development, with producer Denise Robert.
Nonetheless, he insists that, for the immediate future, his priority is to take a well-deserved break. “I have just had two projects back to back,” he said, “and although that is fantastic, it is quite tiresome . . . Now I just need to sit back and rest a bit and see.”
In Piazza San Domenico plays at the Centaur Theatre from Oct. 6 to Nov. 1.