Cymbeline’s Italian Influence

by Nick Sheets, dramaturg

As part of the Noir concept behind Cymbeline we’re hitting up the Italian side of America: Jersey accents, Italian mannerisms, sly moves, etc. But, have you ever wondered why America is so fascinated with Italian families? From our American movies, the concept of an Italian family might make you think of the following:

The Godfather (1972)

Moonstruck (1987)

Rocky (1976)

When I grew up I would visit my grandmother and great-grandmother often. We lived a block away from their home. Almost every day we would watch The Golden Girls, a sit-com based on an Italian immigrant family.

The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

Throughout my time I learned stereotypical tidbits about Italians, mostly from Sophia the mom, played by Estelle Getty.

     Blanche Devereaux: Is that all you Italians know how to do? Scream and hit?

     Sophia Petrillo: No, we also know how to make love and sing opera!

For the Noir version of Cymbeline we’re basing our production on a more city-like feel. You’ll first meet us at a ristorante (Italian for restaurant). Then we’ll take you through Shakespeare’s play as if you were part of the family. Capisce?

Please feel free to comment on any Italian influences you’ve experienced in your own life or ways in which the Italian community in America has affected our society for good.

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