Salon Peer-to-Peer: Marathon
Updated: May 23
Reviewed by Ana Moioli
Valerio Vittorio Garaffa Cast
"Well, don't doubt it, just run,” says Stephany (Kimberly DiPersia) to her friend Maria (Chiara Cimmino) as they vigorously prepare for their big dream of running the New York Marathon. On January 15th, the charming stage of Lower Manhattan’s Dixon Place was turned into a running track for these two powerful, determined women pursuing their audacious goal. While the track might have been fictional, the ladies' sweat was real – the two incredibly talented actresses were indeed running in front of the audience for a whole hour. Marathon, written by Edoardo Erba and directed by Valerio Vittorio Garaffa, took the spectators through a metaphorical journey of exhaustion and persistence, balancing humor and drama and raising philosophical questions about major human struggles. Created by a team of extremely skilled, passionate Italian artists - who were at their first experience in the American theater scene - the production, in a single night, managed to move hearts, cause laughter and encourage self-reflection.
New York does not allow people to be lazy; time is money, and only the fittest survive. For this reason, Erba's play is extremely relatable to an audience of New Yorkers, who feel the pressure to work hard daily in pursuit of an ideal life. Does it make sense to live our lives chasing a dream? Can we ever afford to take a break? What does it mean to be successful, and what do we sacrifice to get there? What do we want to be remembered for after we're gone? All of these are questions that come to mind while watching Maria and Stephany train for the big marathon. DiPersia's Stephany is tough and focused, while Cimmino's Maria is more innocent and vulnerable (at least in the first part of the show). The dynamic between the two actresses is exceptionally captivating, as they go through moments of bonding and moments of conflict, sharing memories with each other and together drawing conclusions about themselves and about life, as their emotions are heightened by the exhaustion from running. It is simply mind-blowing how Cimmino and DiPersia manage to run on stage for a whole hour and not let that affect the depth and strength of their acting. The two brave, talented women, with the help of Garaffa's astute directing, gained the spectators' empathy and admiration from the very beginning, and captivated them as their conflicts developed in quite an unexpected way. Few of us have ever trained to run the New York Marathon, but all of us relate to the frustrations of pursuing ambitious goals, so that their story is our story.
Being an artist is like running a marathon: it requires a lot of labor, perseverance, and passion. Truth be told, it is also about survival. This group of artists, however, is running to win. Their debut on the American stage was a success, and I am certain that this is the beginning of a long, successful career for them in this country. Perhaps some of our life quests feel empty of meaning, but that's not the case for these brilliant, inspiring and charming artists as they take over the New York theater scene.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Chiara / Valerio: The Company
Chiara Cimmino and Valerio Vittorio Garaffa are international artists based in NYC; they founded the Italian theatre company TeatroDelDisìo and the Montreal-based “G. Grasso” Acting School for Opera singers.
Their ongoing research led to the development of “The Relationship Acting Method,” a movement-based method that they now teach in NYC. During their first acting workshop they met Kimberly DiPersia. They immediately felt a connection.
Chiara Cimmino is an international actress based in NYC. She won the Chiavari Award for Best Actress (2005) and the “Plautus Theater Award” (2017). She performed in ‘King Ubu’, winner of the International Award Piccoli (2007). She won the Special Jury Prize at Maazzeni Film Festival (2014). Acting credits include: ‘The seagull,’ ‘The fan’, ‘Harlequin educated by love,’ ‘The play that goes wrong.’
Kimberly DiPersia is an actress, screenwriter, and film producer. Training includes NYU Tisch (BFA Drama – Stella Adler/Classical Studio), Maggie Flanigan Studio, UCB Improv, and HB Studio. Selected credits include: Off-Broadway: ‘No Exit / Oedipus Cycle’ (Understudy), The Pearl Theatre. NY Theatre: ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Inwood Shakespeare; ‘Julius Caesar’, Hudson Shakespeare. Film/TV: ‘Crash & Burn’, ‘Junie & Frank.’ www.kimberlydipersia.com
Valerio Vittorio Garaffa is an international theatre director and acting teacher based in NYC. He has directed numerous theatre and Opera productions both in Italy and Canada. Highlights include: ‘Cymbeline,’ ‘The Bacchae,’ ‘The Assemblywomen,’ ‘Don Quixote,’ ‘Oscillazioni,’ ‘At the exit’, ‘The festival of our Lord of the Ship’, ‘The imbecile’, Donizetti’s ‘Don Pasquale’. Acting credits include: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Tempest’, Strauss’s ‘Ithaca’, Angeli’s ‘Welcome in California’.
Edoardo Erba is a playwright from Italy. His plays include ‘Marathon,’ ‘Utoya,’ ‘Rosalyn,’ ‘The Mistress of the B&B,’ ‘Nine,’ ‘Vera vuz,’ ‘Margarita and the Cock,’ ‘All the best,’ ‘Michelina,’ ‘Italian Drama,’ ‘All the best,’ ‘Travelling with Albert,’ ‘The trouts,’ ‘The Builders,’ ‘The Salesmen,’ ‘Dejavu,’ ‘Without Hitler,’ ‘The night of Picasso,’ ‘Smallpox.’ His work has been performed at some of Italy’s top festivals and theatres such as the Venice Biennale, the Taormina Festival, the Montepulciano Festival.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Ana Moioli is a Brazilian artist in New York. Ana started acting in Brazil, and later went to the Moscow Art Theatre School and then NYU Drama, where she is currently a senior. She’s been awarded for her performances in short films and has performed in Off-Off-Broadway. She is excited for her upcoming debut as a playwright in ‘For The Time Being’ at the NYWinterfest. She recently debuted as a filmmaker with the film ‘Bridge.’