Inspired by Ettore Scola’s 1977 Oscar-nominated film Una Giornata Particolare, A Special Day is an intimate play full of imagination.
Inside The Arch at Holden Street Theatres, actors Ana Graham and Antonio Vega get dressed into their costumes. It is something that is not often done in front of an audience but it creates a relaxed and intimate feel as they chat to audience while buttoning shirts and putting on stockings.
“Benvenuti a tutt”, Antonio welcomed the audience to the production.
What seemed like a simple set at first – three black walls, a table and chairs – soon developed into something much more. Other items like a bike, coffee grinder, suitcase and books were brought out but it was the way in which the two actors use the black walls that was so creative. Using chalk the actors drew various objects throughout the play, including windows, a birdcage and even a gramophone. They interacted with these images, showing the power of imagination while also garnering some laughter.
The play is set in an apartment building in Rome in 1938 on a day when Hitler is visiting Mussolini; a time where fascism was in full swing. Antonietta (Graham) and Gabriel (Vega) are two very different neighbours who meet each other for the first time.
Both actors delivered strong performances with a deep-emotional intensity that becomes quite confronting towards the end of this human drama. They were both clever and creative in the way they performed numerous characters at the start of the play without us needing to see them. Diction was an issue at times, with a couple of audience members asking each other ‘What did they say?’ Despite this, there was a genuine chemistry between the two actors and it was lovely to see them wish each other the best before the performance began.
A Special Day is an inventive and emotional production that takes you back to a time of political unrest. Go with an open mind and take delight in the power of imagination.
Reviewed by Isabella Pittaway
Venue: The Arch, Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: 15 February – 16 March
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $20.50 – $26.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255