(‘the beautiful image’)

LA BELLA FIGURA, literally ‘the beautiful image’, is a uniquely Italian concept. It means more than just keeping up appearances and dressing sharp for the camera. It’s an attitude, a way of life, a philosophy, a moral code even.

“I just wanted them to understand what it’s like. Behind all the cliches, you know. The loving fat Nonna in the kitchen. The happy Nonno in the garden. The gaudy furniture. The cute and tidy stories of immigration.

So what is behind all the cliches? This is your chance to find out!

Thursday, OCTOBER 31! 6:00 PM.
Botanic Gardens Visitor’s Centre!

Come along and experience this truly hilarious and deeply moving story of one family’s experience of la bella figura.

$10 admission, some refreshments to enjoy, and a lucky door prize!

Proudly supported in-kind by JUTE Theatre Company.

The project was developed and supported through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and Culture in regional Queensland.

The Story:

Simona is a second-generation Italian-Aussie, a successful businesswoman, a go-getter, a real fireball. She’s also not yet married at the over-ripe age of 45, a special sore point for her Italian family.

Today Simona visits her Nonna and Nonno, and as we hang out in the Cavaleri family kitchen that seems stuck in 1960 something, Simona is keen to share some family photographs and learn how to cook her Nonna’s famous Siciliana sauce. But something else is bubbling away. Something awkward and possibly catastrophic. We are all in on a secret that her grandparents do not yet know. How will she tell them she is about to cross the line, making an unforgivable move that may bring social shame on her whole family?

The Actors/Story Catalysts:

Roz Pappalardo and Frank D’Angelico

This new comedy is the brain-child of second-generation Italian-Aussies and Cairns locals, Frank D’angelico and Roz Pappalardo, both of whom have an intimate knowledge of how la Bella Figura has worked its often hilarious magic in their lives and careers.

Some of the work was inspired by original family photographs from both Frank and Roz, and although the work is completely fictionalized, the photos are both informed and crystalized the work.

Nonna enjoys her morning cup of coffee in her stylish Formica and Melamine Dream kitchen of the late 50s, reading a fashion magazine, and enjoying the leisurely Aussie lifestyle.

Through a series of consultations with Roz and Frank, and prominent members of the Cairns Italian community, the story has been developed by playwright Kathryn Ash. This reading is its first outing into the public air, and this is your chance to find out what is sure to be a popular Cairns production in the future.

Roz Pappalardo: Actor/Creator

Fresh from Alice In The Antipathies by Sasi Victoire, an international co-production between Cairns’ JUTE Theatre Company, Sasi Victoire and Kuala Lumpur’s Masakini Theatre Company, Roz Pappalardo is as busy as ever in her artistic practice! She has a wide range of theatre skills both on and off stage, including acting and singing, playwriting, composing and producing. She has a wealth of theatre experience locally, state, nationally and internationally and she enjoys a full Arts career schedule, being recognized as one of Cairns’ finest and most dedicated arts workers.

Roz already enjoys a formidable career as a country music singer-songwriter and has toured widely with her music. She has written and performed the original score and script to a successful musical comedy Banging on the Door, developed through JUTE Theatre Company’s Write Sparks programs, touring the performance to Brisbane Powerhouse, and the Ipswich Arts Fest.

She was the producer, co-conceiver, commissioner, and assistant director on the highly acclaimed Commonwealth Games theatre project Beginnings. Her play Rosa, a one-woman show about her Sicilian heritage complete with her original songs, developed through JUTE Theatre Company, had a successful season in Cairns, Innisfail, and Cooktown.

Roz plays Simona, at various ages, her Grandmother Maria as a young woman, and her middle-aged mother, Angelina.

Frank D’Angelico: Actor/Creator

Frank is a member of CO.AS.IT an Italian cultural services association established in 1968. He has written educational programs and training on Italian wine, food & culture. He has arranged, hosted and advised on hundreds of Italian events, wine dinners, tastings and outings since starting in hospitality & wine in 1987.
The focus of these events was to present regional dishes matched with wines of the same regions of Italy, this gives me the opportunity to share a host of cultural facts, stories, and comedy with guests and further explain the importance of regionalism to Italians.
He is a member and contributor of the Cairns Wog Boys Club, a social group celebrating Italian heritage, food & culture.
He is the founder of W.A.C – The Wog Advisory Committee, a service to Italian restaurants where along with two others, he advises on the integrity and authenticity of their dishes, yes, it involves eating and drinking, but the ultimate aim is to maintain the tradition.

Like many things over time, our traditions become diluted, my generation are now of an age where many of our parents are no longer with us and it’s up to us to maintain the traditions that they brought with them. There are a thousand laughs, stories and facts to share about our upbringing as Italian Aussies, I am now in the process of documenting these to pass on to my children and hopefully theirs, if we are not careful, the dialects and language that our parents brought here will soon disappear, it would be a shame to lose such a significant part of Australian history.

Frank performed with the Opera Queensland production of The Barber of Seville at the grand opening of the Munro Martin Parklands in 2016. He trained with Opera Queensland in Brisbane in 2017
He performed two roles in Beginnings one as a singing Italian cane cutter called Giovanni, and one as Jeremiah the landlord in the Malaytown scene.
His role as Giovanni enabled him to share some of his cultural understandings with both the director and choreographer, as well as use his Opera Queensland training and Italian language skills to deliver dialogue and song in both English and Italian.

Frank plays Nonno Salvatore (Simona’s grandfather) aged 89, Papa Mario (Simona’s father) and most eloquently, Nonna Maria (Simona’s grandmother!).

Kathryn Ash: Playwright

Kathryn Ash

Kathryn Ash is an award-winning playwright, dramaturge and actor, working from Cairns. She is a co-founder of JUTE Theatre Company, and has worked with the company on a project by project basis for over 26 years. She is currently the Creative Producer for JUTE’s writing programs and dramaturg-in-residence there. She was the driving force behind JUTE’s award-winning new works program, Enter Stage Write and currently heads up JUTE’s script development program Write Sparks and JUTE’s actor development program, JUTE Actors Studio. As a playwright, she is nationally recognised, with over twenty productions to date, and her work was invited to be workshopped and read at three national conferences for playwrights. Her published plays include Bag O’ Marbles, Flutter, Surviving Jonah Salt and most recently Here We All Are. Assembled.

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