If you’ve ever done local theatre in any of the outskirts of New York City, especially in those little corners of Long Island, you will know that not only is theatre abundant and vibrant, but that the faces are familiar...and friendly.
Maria Capp and her family are no strangers to that type of artistic community, having emerged from Long Island, then to Manhattan, and now taking their creative work to the other side of the country (Los Angeles), and now right back here for the debut of their new play, PIZZA and WHINE, opening February 12th at the Winterfest Theatre Competition.
We had the opportunity to talk to Maria about her and her family’s work, and the significance of this very personal production.
LocalTheatreNY: Where did the idea of PIZZA AND WHINE come from? Tell us the origins of your play.
Maria Cappricielli: The idea for “Pizza and Whine” came out of a desire to create content and opportunities to act. Raffaela who plays the role of Jennifer and is one of the co writers pitched me her idea to produce short form content surrounding the idea of four female, cousins loosely based on the lives and experiences of herself, her sister, Natasha and cousins, Veronica and Emily. Their grandmother passed away this summer and creating this piece so quickly is in honor of her life and the lessons she taught her granddaughters. We are also Italian New Yorkers, so keeping close to where this takes place was easy !
LocalTheatreNY: Would you say this is a modern coming-of-age story? If so, how is growing into adulthood different today and how is it represented in your play?
Maria Cappricielli: This is definitely a modern coming-of-age story. Growing into adulthood today has a few obvious differences especially for young millennial women. Beyond the feminist movement that has evolved from the 60's and 70's, young women are growing up in world where new boundaries are being defined and new voices are not only being voiced but also being heard. It's exciting and scary. Through the main narratives, we wrote about the challenges young women face transitioning from dependence on their nuclear family while navigating their way into an autonomous adult world that has redefined the rules of love, dating, and relationships. Growing up in a world of instant accessibility to information, entertainment and social relationships has it advantages and disadvantages. Beyond the instant fame one has within their own social media world, dating apps such as tinder and bumble have replaced the typical social networking opportunities that existed in meeting your mate. Our play has other narratives and the characters voice concerns about pursuing their dreams while balancing their vocational jobs. We also explored the truth that exists in unhealthy relationships that is more commonplace in today than ever before.
LocalTheatreNY: You've worked with a mix of family and other talent. What does that bring to the production?
Maria Cappricielli: Working with family is second nature. I've directed and coached my own children and nieces many times both on camera and on stage. I've also collaborated with my sisters and father on previous endeavors both theatrical and in a visual medium. The girls are third generation actors. Collaborating with Raffaela is always gratifying. Facilitating her growth as an artist in writing, music and acting is synergistic. I learn something new each and every time. Extending the family to include other young emerging professionals from the Los Angeles community is just as natural as working with blood. The value in having the history and relationship that is already in place is immeasurable. Backstory, previous relationships have strengthened the piece that we hope translates to a deeper connection for the audience to the stories and characters.
LocalTheatreNY: Has the play seen any development prior to the festival? Please share how it evolved and got into the festival.
Maria Cappricielli: The development of the play was an extremely quick process. Raffaela was scheduled to perform this past fall in another stage production that ultimately got cancelled. Pizza and Whine was conceived as a result of that cancellation. In September over a family dinner Raffaela, Veronica, my dad and myself came up with the "why - on the eve of their grandmother's wake, four cousins come together at the request of their grandfather's request to sing at their grandmother's funeral." The WHAT - four cousins discuss their experiences and obstacles that have challenged their traditional values while rediscovering their love of each other and music. WHERE - West Side apartment in NYC above the pizza parlor and wine store where we, The Capp's, use to live. Once we decided to adapt Raff's idea to a play, Veronica suggested submitting to the New York Theatre Festival's Winterfest (Veronica is an alumni having performed in last year's Dragon Slayer) and Raffaela suggested bringing it to the Hollywood Fringe in June 2018.
LocalTheatreNY: Tell us about yourself and your company.
Maria Cappricielli: Cappricielli Productions is a multi-media production company creating socially conscious content. We've produced everything from theatre, short form, music video to our first feature film, REACH coming out 2018. I enjoy telling stories about ordinary people transitioning into the "next stage" and "finding oneself." What do you love to write about? What inspires you? I'm inspired by stories that show ordinary people overcoming any of life's adversities in a way that is extra ordinary. I like writing about what I know: my family, my life, and I'm particularly drawn to stories that have a lesson and strong message. The feature, REACH is about the power of kindness and how that can change one's life forever - and Pizza and Whine is about holding on to your truth and trusting the process of life. What type of material do you think you will be creating? The stories I'm most inspired to write at the moment come from the loss of my mom and surround the themes of love, spirituality and death.
LocalTheatreNY: Where would you like this play to go moving forward, after the festival?
Maria Cappricielli: We are bringing it to our Los Angeles friends this June. Pizza and Whine is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and will be performed June 1, 7, 17, 20 and 23rd at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood. After that, we will revisit the original intention of creating digital content. Ideally a TV show but a ROM COM feature would be fun too.
LocalTheatreNY: What's the biggest challenge of producing in a festival setting?
Maria Cappricielli: Like anything else it's about getting the word out there and getting people to come and see it whether it's a live production, downloading it on their TV, smart phone or laptop OR going to the movies!
PIZZA & WHINE by Raffaela Capp, Veronica Kelly, and Maria Capp
A loss reunites four cousins to share one crazy night over pizza and wine. On the eve of their Grandmother’s wake, they rediscover their love for music and each other. The young women share secrets and struggles that challenge their effort to become autonomous, kind women. They are reminded of where they came from while discovering hope for their future.
Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 6:15pm,
Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 9pm,
Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:30pm
BUY TICKETS HERE: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3194629