Where do I belong?
1936, Giustino, Italy. After marrying by proxy Giacomo (a second generation Italian living in London) Laura leaves her Italian village to move to the East End of London, where her in laws own a fish and chips shop. She doesn’t speak the language, old “nonna” and Mary (her sister in law) make her work like a slave. Giacomo uninterested in sharing their marital bed, and is increasingly attracted by Fascism. She dreams to return to Italy, to her house and village. When WW2 begins, and Italians are declared “Enemy aliens”, Giacomo is arrested and placed on the Arandora Star, a boat heading to Canada. When news breaks the Arandora has sunk Laura, Mary and nonna are left to fend for themselves in a country that doesn’t want them. Is pretending to be British the right thing to do?
In the meantime, back in the village occupied by German soldiers, her cousin Adele is resentful and bitter: Laura was the lucky one. Once the war is over, she claims sole ownership of the family house. Laura returns to Italy to discover she has no home left. And the old country has changed.
Neither here nor there was inspired by a verbatim piece called “Mary London” by Emanuela Rossini and Margaret Rose written in the early 2000s. Emanuela is from Trentino and her grandmother in 1935 left the mountains of Northern Italy to move to Britain. Trentino was particularly poor at the time and some villages saw up to 80% of their female population flee. Margaret and Emanuela found some of these women – the ones who were still alive – and interviewed them. We therefore asked Margaret Rose to help us translate, re-write and weave those interviews into a one hour piece, Neither here nor there, which we presented at the Soho Theatre Studio and at the Italian Cultural Institute as our very first production.
Margaret Rose and Emanuela Rossini
Tanya Hossick and Becka McFadden
Matthew Morrison and the cast
Roberto Carretta, Susannah Costner, Leslie Csuth, Lisa Genovese, Elena Mazzon, Francesca Nider, Lara Parmiani