Anne-Marie Piazza

Actor / Writer / Musician


Leave a comment

Love’s Victory Up Next

After almost half the year spent working on devised musical “Day of the Living” for the RSC I will be returning to my classical theatre joy by performing in a premier of a 400 year old play. Yes I know. It’s 400 years old, is the earliest surviving comedy written by a woman and yet, to my knowledge, there is only one complete copy of the play text and it lives at the writer’s home Penshurst Place.  And the writer herself? Lady Mary Wroth, a contemporary of Shakespeare and character in her own right.

Actors from the Urania Theatre Company will rehearse in the house and grounds from Wednesday, August 29 to Friday, September 14, with director Martin Hodgson and the public can go along.

Two ticketed performances will be held on Sunday, September 16 at 2pm and 7.30pm in the medieval Baron’s Hall, which will also be professionally filmed and put online on the Shakespeare and His Sisters website, hosted by Lancaster University.

More to follow…


Leave a comment

Day of the Living Review

*** Harder-hitting and electrifyingly inventive, Day of the Living is a kind of musical fiesta created by the composer-lyricist Darren Clark, the director Amy Draper and the writer Juliet Gilkes Romero. Under twinkling fairy lights and garlands it mixes Mexican mythology and tradition with a tragic family drama and verbatim testimony from students who survived the atrocity.

The results are nightmarishly vivid: there are uncanny, wide-eyed masks and grinning, Day of the Dead skulls; a severed head tumbles out of a piñata. The songs are either heartbreaking laments or jaunty ditties whose sunniness is a queasy counterpoint to violent, pitch-black lyrics. It’s a wild party in hell, as highly coloured as a cartoon, but deeply serious in intent, radiating anger, defiance and, ultimately, hope. Fiercely effective. (The Times)

There’s no time to relax as Day of the Living threatens to blow minds and break hearts with its gob-smacking blend of Mexican folklore, Day of the Dead imagery, song and dance used to tell the unbearably tragic story…  Day of the Living is a devised piece put together by writer Juliet Gilkes Romero, composer and lyricist Darren Clark and director Amy Draper with a crazily talented cast that includes Mexican actors Alvaro Flores and Jimena Larraguivel, alongside Jamie Cameron, Tania Mathurin, Eilon Morris and Anne-Marie Piazza.

It’s a musical, and it kicks off in fiesta spirit, with the audience invited to holler, whoop and take part…The music is in turns beguiling, funny and deeply poignant: opener A Short History of Mexico is a hilarious clever romp, while Song of the Turtles — sang beautifully by Piazza — is possibly the most haunting song my ears have ever heard.

Day of the Living is like a magical collage, it is a wonderful jumble of colours, sounds and emotions. The songs are augmented by a soundscape full of the voices of the students and crackly newsflashes, while a masked drama forms the emotional heart of the story… and it is a truly extraordinary way of charting the ongoing suffering of the families of the disappeared. (Stratford Herald)

There is real passion behind the group of actor-musicians who tell this story, and their words really do resonate. Although there are some moments of obscurity, the narrative is heart-wrenchingly clear. It is a really interesting piece of theatre that highlights a real issue in a theatrically engaging way.

Through a combination of vibrant music and bright colour, the juxtaposition between the spirit of Mexico and the fear and pain their people feel is portrayed through this piece written by Juliet Gilkes Romeo… The movement and characterisation of the actors wearing masks is remarkable, as it heightens the emotion of their struggle. With the mother and grandfather clinging onto his memories, lost in the unknowing. Stinging with grief, their scenes are beautifully crafted to show what these Mexican families are having to deal with.

Both #WeAreArrested and Day Of The Living are desperately essential, hard-hitting stories told in an informative and gripping way. (SincerelyAmy.com)

***** This is a story belonging to a community and shared heart and soul by a brilliant ensemble of six actors who each play multiple roles, play multiple instruments and add their voices to the music and lyrics created by Darren Clark. The musical numbers are what really hold this production together. In the few moments when the story becomes less clear, the mood created by the music and the stirring emotional power of the cast’s strong vocals carried the audience past any confusion.

The RSC’s Mischief Festival has created theatre that feels profoundly necessary. These are stories that should be on our nation’s stages. I cannot recommend these two productions strongly enough. Why isn’t theatre always this provoking? Leave the ‘safe and special place’ where you are comfortable and go to The Other Place and let yourself be challenged. (the730review.co.uk)

In a whirlwind of song, Mexican folklore, wrestling matches and masks, a company of actor-musicians recounts the unsolved case of the “forced disappearance” of 43 Mexican students in 2014. Its flurry of colour, spirit and celebratory verve at first belies, but gradually reveals, the obscenities of the cartel-related crimes it describes. And coming on the very day that the Mexican government announces its reopening of the investigation into the case, the cast’s planting of 43 pinwheels, spinning fast in the wind, becomes a beacon of hope and a testament to endurance against injustice. (The Stage)

Day of the Living… is more like a savage, satirical, musical review of the entire history of Mexico, a “scrapyard of the dead”.  There are wrestlers and a bull-fight, mime, actors in masks with the action described in voice-overs. It’s as if the chaos is the country.  Dragging in everyone from ancient gods to narco kings, Toltecs, conquistadors, priests and politicians between, the central story is easily lost in a torrent of ideas and images.

But when the smoke clears, there are visions of horror—a jolly song about a severed head with fingers in its mouth, or a description of a tortured student too graphic to repeat.Tania Mathurin and Alvaro Flores lead the ensemble numbers with style and vigour. So resilience is evident here too, but I left the theatre with a profound sense of unease about events in countries at the book-ends of Western democracy. (British Theatre Guide)

It fights via fiesta… using Mexican music and carnival spirit to tell the sombre story of 43 students ‘disappeared’ by a pack of unmarked, government gunmen….Detached voices recount the students’ experiences of the affray – the issue being we can only guess what they went through – while a masked dumbshow follows a family refusing to give up on a disappeared son….Clark’s songs have spirit – one trills about severed heads in the street, “not normal, but not not normal” (WhatsOnStage)

The six-person ensemble (Jamie Cameron, Alvaro Flores, Jimena Larraguivel, Eilon Morris, Anne-Marie Piazza and Tania Mathurin) do their best…shifting uneasily between black humour, desperate sorrow and righteous anger. It takes enormous skill to find comedy within such a tragedy….The music, dancing, mime, masks and audience participation offer plenty of energy.  (Guardian)

Day of the Living blends testimony, mythology, overwrought mask-work and pointed musical performance from its company of six in a style which the publicity material calls “anarchic” but might equally be called a bit of a mess. (Financial Times)


Leave a comment

Updates – New Voicereel

For the eagle eyed amongst you, you’ll see the website is getting a spruce. Quite a few things are actually – new showreel, a musician’s showreel and (drum roll please) a new voicereel too.  Recorded with my wonderful agent Damn Good Voices you’ll find a range on my soundcloud (including the MegaMix of all the new clips) but here are a few of my favourites.

Race for Life

Nutella

Welcome to Wales

Compilation

 

 

 


Leave a comment

2030

This summer I spent a day with writer/director/actor Mark Knightley and theatre company This Crowded Room.

2030 is a commission by Collusion to create an installation that explores technology and the year 2030. The installation will be presented alongside four other artists in Cambridge 2019.

Through collaboration with researchers, technology developers, and young people both local to Cambridge and from across the globe, we will create an immersive, interactive installation, set in 2030. This will explore the exciting possibilities and potential impacts of AI as this reaches a mass market.

​With the advent of AI, one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces is how to harness its power to benefit the whole of society. This project is an empathic response to the U.N.’s appeal to “leave no-one behind” enshrined in the Sustainability Development Goals 2015-2030.


Leave a comment

The Virgin and the Gypsy

January 2018 saw a flurry of rehearsal and development projects including this on with the Romany Theatre Company.  Founded in 2002 by director and writer Dan Allum their work is: rooted in the culture and experiences of Romany people and focuses strongly on their struggle for equality and challenges negative opinions of them and the lives that they lead.  Dan is writing an adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novella The Virgin and the Gypsy with music by Candida Caldicot.

January 2018 we rehearsed in Ipswich and performed excerpts at the New Wolsey and the St Andrews Church, Short St, London.


Leave a comment

Wicker Husband (Other Palace)

Rhys Jennings and Darren Clark won the MTI Mentorship Award from Stiles and Drew which meant a years mentoring culminating in a showcase at the end of the year directed by Charlie Westenra.  It has been on a long journey already and will now be going over to New York having been selected as 1 of just 8 shows by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s showcase this fall. Here’s what we did with it in 2017 at the Other Palace Showcase:

WestEndWilma gives a great synopsis:

The Wicker Husband is based on the short story by Ursula Wills-Jones. It tells the tale of a woman known as Ugly Girl. A local town fish seller who  is told she will never have a husband because she is too ugly. A chance encounter with an Old Basket Maker reveals the chance to have a husband made for her out of Wicker. But when the local women of the town meet the handsome new husband they are overcome with jealousy and hatch a plan to destroy Ugly Girls relationship and her happiness.

And also thoroughly enjoyed it:

It’s an interesting story and one that doesn’t drag. The climax of act one leaves the audience begging for more, wanting to find out what happens next and the songs are well written. With a cast of well established and award winning actors including Tyrone Huntley, Rebecca Trehearn and Clive Rowe, The Wicker Husband has a lot of support behind it to help the show take its next steps towards a full scale production.

A review from the MusicalTheatreReview.com

This showcase was a delightful sneak peek into the beginning of The Wicker Husband’s journey.  The show has been through a full year of developmental support including a writing retreat and two panel-led progress labs. The presentation, directed by Charlotte Westenra, demonstrated the progress of that work; and with only three days of rehearsal behind them, the cast members did an extraordinary job of bringing this tale to life.

It was hard to consider Anne-Maria Piazza as the Ugly Girl as she managed so flawlessly to pull out all the beauty and goodness of her character, not to mention she has a beautiful singing voice that seems to take on any style thrown her way.

Thank you BroadwayWorld for a full company list:

This one-off showing by Darren Clark and Rhys Jennings features a cast including Tyrone Huntley as the Wicker Husband and Olivier Award-winners Rebecca Trehearn (pictured, left; Tailor’s Wife) and Clive Rowe (Old Basket Maker).

The cast is completed by Anne-Marie Piazza (Ugly Girl), Sebastien Torkia (Tailor), Roger Evans (Cobbler), Elexi Walker (Cobbler’s Wife), Loren O’Dair (Innkeeper’s Wife) and Jamal Andréas (Innkeeper). The presentation will be directed by Charlotte Westenra with musical direction by Mark Aspinall.

 


Leave a comment

Fight exam

A quick update on my love of swords and fighting: the swashbuckling Jeremy Barlow has  taught another APC stage combat course, following on from his unarmed combat course last year. This time broadsword. Paired with the glorious Gloria Sanders and a scene from “Love for Love” by Congreve we both passed with distinctions! Woop. Hopefully it’ll mean more of this:

(Treasure Island, Iris Theatre 2016)