Working On a Special Day, Inspired By Italian Film, Gets NYC Staging Jan. 10-Feb. 10

By Kenneth Jones
January 10, 2013

Off-Broadway's Obie Award-winning The Play Company launches the U.S. premiere of Working On a Special Day, a stage version of the Oscar-nominated Ettore Scola film about Hitler's visit to Rome, Jan. 10 at 59E59 Theaters.



The production, a version of director-writer Scola's 1977 film "Una Giornata Particolare (A Special Day)," is a collaboration with Mexico City-based Por Piedad Teatro and features the company's Ana Graham and Antonio Vega.

Opening is Jan. 16. Performances continue to Feb. 10. The story, which on film starred Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, concerns an overworked housewife and a mysterious bachelor who meet on May 8, 1938, the day Rome celebrated Hitler's visit to Mussolini's Italy.

The play is performed in English by Mexican actors Graham and Vega "in a singular performance style," according to production notes. "The actors employ simple props to create a bittersweet human drama that unfolds while a charged political landscape of rising fascism stirs outside their apartment windows."

The play based on the screenplay is translated by Danya Taymor, Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, and has "an original staging concept" by Laura Almela and Daniel Gimenez Cacho.

Working On a Special Day had an earlier developmental studio production — also featuring Graham and Vega — by The Play Company and Por Piedad Teatro at The Flea in downtown Manhattan. The two companies also collaborated last spring on Hecho en Mexico, a reading series introducing contemporary plays from Mexico to New York.

Working On a Special Day is the latest production by The Play Company that features the English-language debut of a foreign play. PlayCo previously presented the debut of Jonas Hassen Khemiri's Swedish play Invasion! and Toshiki Okada's Japanese play Enjoy.

In spring 2013, The Play Company will present the New York premiere of The Golden Dragon by Roland Schimmelpfennig, one of Europe's most produced playwrights, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar (These Seven Sicknesses).

The production team includes set and lighting designer Gabriel Pascal, sound designer Rodrigo Espinosa, costume designer Ana Graham and scenery and lighting design adapted by David Arsenault.

Working On a Special Day is performed at 59 E. 59th St. (between Park and Madison Avenues) as follows: Tuesday-Thursday at 7:15 PM, Friday & Saturday at 8:15 PM, Saturday at 2:15 PM and Sunday at 3:15 PM.

For tickets and information, visit playco.org or 59E59.org.