Manuela Ventura and Andrea Camilleri: the words of a Sicilian actress who knew the Maestro
Guest of the Radicepura Garden Festival, Manuela Ventura told us some anecdotes that bind her to the great writer Andrea Camilleri, who died recently. From the first steps to the National Academy of Dramatic Art to his fascinating lessons, up to her first role in the tv show Il Commissario Montalbano. «He was able to move your soul»
«When a eighteen-year-old Sicilian girl arrives at the National Academy of Dramatic Art Silvio D’Amico, in Rome, it is not easy for here to settle in immediately, as yoy may feel really lost. And yet I had a great help: I met Andrea Camilleri, and this made me go back to my origins». With these words the well-known actress Manuela Ventura remembers the Maestro Andrea Camilleri, telling us what binds her most to him.
THE DEBUT WITH MONTALBANO. «Apart from a small television role at only fifteen, my debut on TV was in an episode of Commissario Montalbano called The patience of the Spider» said Ventura. «When I showed up at the auditions, I was told that they were looking for a different face, but I insisted on trying and the irony that has always characterized myself was on my side: I was taken». Being able to experience her first television experience on a set with many actors already well known to the general public can be inhibitory, while for Manuela Ventura the meeting with Luca Zingaretti was heartening: «Zingaretti and I both trained in the Academy, even if in different years, and therefore we both started as theater actors. On a TV set it is impossible to find the same concentration that you have on a stage before the curtain opens; nevertheless, seeing Zingaretti sitting on the sidelines to find the right calm and enter the role gave me great serenity».
THE MEETING WITH THE MAESTRO. Beyond the bond with Montalbano, Manuela Ventura can boast of having had the Maestro as a teacher: «Camilleri was first of all a man of theater in the noblest sense of the term: he distinguished the act of writing a novel (destined to an intimate and personal reading) from that of writing a piece, which must be read aloud and interpreted by an audience-oriented actor. In the Academy Camilleri taught us directing lessons, but sometimes he also involved us as actors». In this way Ventura had the opportunity to attend lessons that went far beyond the explanation of some manuals: «When I listened to Camilleri talking I knew I was already living a formative experience on” how one can tell a story”» she said. «He was pedantic and very informative, always started from concrete life experiences without ever dwelling only on theoretical teachings. Hearing him remember Pirandello was almost like reliving their encounter on stage. To me Camilleri was and still is a great teacher and great a man – Ventura continued. – His humanity made his alive and intense, and sometimes his hoarse voice still resounds in my house: not only my ten-year-old children read his fairy tales, but I also show them his videos often, and watch hey remaining enchanted. Camilleri was able to move in the deepest sense of the term: he moved your soul».
REMEMBERING HIM TO PROTECT HIS ISLAND. Andrea Camilleri is one of those men who do not need to be remembered, because they already are unforgettable. Anyway, being able to commemorate him in his land during the Radicepura Garden Festival (which took place from 2 to 4 August in Giarre) for Manuela Ventura has been a great opportunity: «Camilleri loved Sicily and discovered its beauty not only through tv shows, but also through his novels. Today many of us actors and young people in general do not find themselves there and feel a deep bitterness inside. Sicily is the wonderful island so many singers talked about, even if its treasures do not resonate enough within the region. Protecting the memory of those who loved this land is already a way to protect the place itself, that is why we must continue to be its most responsible guardians».
Translated by Eva Luna Mascolino