Nora Armani Takes on Pirandello in New York


NEW YORK — Actress, filmmaker, festival director, writer and translator: these are just some of the roles that Nora Armani plays in her everyday life. In fact, Armani was recently labeled “Wonder Woman” by noted European critic Natja Igney for the many different hats that she wears in the theater and film worlds. Born to an Armenian family in Egypt, the multilingual and multi-talented New Yorker divides her time equally between her home city, Paris and Yerevan. For the past several years Armani has concentrated much of her efforts on successfully launching and producing the New York-based SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, which has become a fixture on the New York festival circuit. Now she returns to her first love — acting —with a lead role as “The Mother” in a stirring showcase production of “Raison d’être: an Evening of Pirandello,” adapted from selected works by Italian Nobel Prize Laureate Luigi Pirandello.

The play, which runs at the renovated Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament on Manhattan’s Upper West Side from September 20 to 29 combines Pirandello’s renowned work “Six Characters in Search of an Author” with two of his lesser-known one-acts, “Chee Chee” and “The Man with the Flower in his Mouth.” Produced by Jennifer Jewell (Goblin, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Henry V) and adapted by noted director Patrick Mulryan (Into the Woods, Jack), the stellar cast includes Mickey Abbate (as Chee-Chee), Lucie Allouche (as Stepdaughter), Carleigh Chirico (as Girl), Jennifer Jewell (as The Man with a Flower in His Mouth), David Klein (as Son), Alex Might (as Boy), Rachel Lauren James (as Nada), Brian Linden (as Father), Ed Malone (as Stage Manager), Melissa Eddy Quilty (as Madame Pace), R David Robinson (as Producer), Robert Charles Russell (as Commuter), and Giovanni Villari (as Commander Squatriglia). This contemporary interpretation of Pirandello’s classic work examines questions of personal identity, zeroing in on the often troubling battles that individuals wage between their true inner selves and the personae imposed on them by rigid societal structures and dictates.

Armani’s own stage creations, “Sojourn at Ararat,” “Nannto Nannto”, and “On the Couch,” have earned accolades for her performances around the world including at the Sydney Opera House, The Metropolitan Museum, Joe’s Pub, The Cairo Opera House, Paris Cartoucherie and Yerevan’s National Theatre. Armani has also starred in a plethora of films including “Deadline in Seven Days,” “The New Eve,” “Voisin Voisine,” “Last Station” and “Hungry.” She has twice been rewarded with Drama-Logue Awards for performance and creation and won two Best Actress Awards in Armenia. Armani is particularly thrilled to be playing the role of “Mother” in “Raison d’Être,” a woman who “is tormented when her husband takes her son away from her and forces her to go away with another man with whom she has three other children. Pirandello shows his characters to be victims of circumstance as well as of one another. It is particularly rewarding to play such a rich role,” said Armani.

The play runs from Thursday, September 20 to Saturday, September 29. (There are no performances on Monday, September 24.)

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Topics: Plays, Theater
People: Nora Armani
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