Avrei voluto fare del cinema…
“Avrei voluto fare del cinema…” is the story of the difficult love between Cesare Pavese, one of the greatest 19th century Italian writer and poet, and the American actress Constance Dowling. The play is based on the letters and diary of Cesare Pavese together with a theatrical adaptation of some of the stories he wrote for the big screen. Interestingly, most of this material was originally written in English as Pavese was one of the most important translator of American Literature in Italy – he brought authors such as Whitman, Faulkner and Melville to the attention of the Italian public – and often used English in his correspondence.
It’s the Spring of 1950 when Cesare Pavese starts writing for Cinema. He writes eight treatments composed around two American actresses that are very close to him: the sisters Doris and Constance –Connie- Dowling who came to Italy to seek a career with the masters of the Italian Neorealism. While Doris stars in prestigious films, Connie only gets small roles in minor films and so decides to move back to America. Desperately in love with Connie and hoping to bring her back, Pavese chases the mirage of the two sisters working together in one of his films. With Doris’s help, he approaches the most renowned directors of the time, but only receives a long list of refusals. Nevertheless he carries on writing new stories.
Writing stories for Cinema has been Pavese’s “last profession” and his last hope to redeem his unhappiness: Cinema was like a blank canvas where anything was possible, even the dream to bring Connie back from America and see her in one of his films. He passionately pursued the desire to become a screenwriter and be a spectator, in a dark cinema, of his own words turned into images in a film. Circumstances never gave him a chance to see that happen and with our play we wish, however imperfectly, to give life and voice to Pavese’s unknown stories.
Cinema, as well as theatre, was for Pavese a dark shelter, a place to travel elsewhere, an escape from the sorrows and disappointments of life.