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“Hurried steps” – Italian Cultural Institute of London

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Steps against domestic violence.

Tuesday, 30th November 2010 – David Franchi


It was an interesting “Hurried steps” much applauded from the audience at the Italian Cultural Institute of London, last 27th November.

Directed by Nicolette Kay, the show was a theatre play from the original Italian book “Passi affrettati” – translated by Sharon Wood – written by Dacia Maraini forAmnesty International in the frame of a cultural and educational project.

Briefly introduced by Mr. Carlo Presenti, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, the show was a lecture of passages, marvellously interpreted by actors Eugenia Caruso, Mariam Haque, Peter Marinker, Lynsey Murrell and Anthony Ofoegbu.

It is a mix of short stories, mostly coming from real tales, concerning women and violence. Everywhere in the world women are subject to violence as a consequence of tradition, unwanted marriage, violent family or discrimination.

In different forms it is something affecting all the countries of the world fromAsia to Middle East, from Africa to America and to our ‘civilised’ Europe.

Dacia Maraini described the pain of women from different parts of the world who are offended as human being. It is a piece on seven portraits of women that shows the absurd situation of many of them, seven icons of fear and pain, of indignity and brutality.

But how come that this show was played in UK? Director Nicolette Kay explains: “Dacia asked me if I would direct it in the UK because I’ve directed three of her plays. I went to meet her in Paris. When I saw action in Paris I was in ‘La Banlieue’ – the suburban area Ed. – which is a very very disadvantaged area of Paris. I read the piece before in English and I was really thinking necessarily I do it. But when I saw young people who are obviously very ‘rough’, from the ‘wrong side’ of town I saw their response to the play in French and I realised it was a brilliant piece of writing. So I chose it because of the writing.”

Women’s freedom is an inalienable right. We cannot discuss about it. Violence roots go profoundly into our culture and the way our society is organised. Violence affect anyone, women firstly but children too and men in different forms as well, either a single person or a group. Women are all of us: if they are free from violence anyone of us is free. That’s why there is an unavoidable need to stop this situation and proceed to a new kind of society.

“Hurried steps” was written to be followed by a discussion. At the Italian Cultural Institute the panellists were Nicolette Kay (Director), Meghan Filed (Senior Community Officer of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Community Safety Team), Ruth Lacey (Family Support Child Protector Advisor, Kensington and Chelsea Family Service) and Eugenia Caruso (Translator).

Many persons participated to it. Some of them brought their personal experience and it was proud of them to speak about it in an open session. Many different questions were posed and accordingly to all helpline should be advertised in GP surgeries with big panels.

An interesting hint is that there is Respect a helpline for men who cannot avoid stopping perpetrating and also Men’s Advice Line a helpline for men who experience violence.

Panellists made clear that domestic violence can assume different forms of abuse such as physical, emotional, sexual, verbal and economic. All forms of domestic abuse have the purpose to gain and maintain total control over the victim. Abusers use many tactics to exert power over their spouse or partner: dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, denial and blame.

“Hurried steps” refers to the main issue of why the violence is so similar in all the parts of the world, Nicolette Kay: “I am not an expert. My panellists are the experts. But what I have learnt from doing the play for a year is that it is to do with power and control. And that men when they wish to have total control or power they will perpetrate violence to their convenience”.

Dacia Maraini is born the 13th November, 1936 in Fiesole, near Florence. She is one of the most famous living Italian writers. She is the daughter of Sicilian Princess Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta, an artist and art dealer, and of Fosco Maraini, a Florentine ethnologist and mountaineer of mixed origins.

Her family moved to Japan in 1938 to escape Fascism but were interned in a Japanese concentration camp from 1943 to 1946. After the war, the family returned to Italy and lived in Sicily with her mother’s family in the town of Bagheria (Palermo) she describes in her homonymous book.

Not long after, her parents separated. Her father moved to Rome and at the age of eighteen Maraini joined him.

She was educated at Istituto Statale della Ss. Annunziata, a prestigious and privileged boarding school in Florence.

She married Lucio Pozzi, a Milanese painter, but they separated after four years. She then became Alberto Moravia‘s companion, living with him from 1962 until 1983.

In 1973, she helped to found the Teatro della Maddalena (Roma) which was run by women only.

Dacia Maraini has won many awards including the Formentor Prize (1963), the Premio Fregene (1985), the Premio Campiello and Book of the Year Award (1990) and the Premio Strega (1999).

Dacia Maraini’s work focuses on women’s issues. She has written more than sixty theatre pieces, staged in many different parts of the world, together with books, films and screenplays. She also directed movies and theatre.

Last 18th November 2010, the Foggia University awarded her with an honorary degree.


Published for: www.italoeuropeo.com

Direct link: http://www.italoeuropeo.com/focus/culture/-steps-against-domestic-violence-at-the-italian-cultural-institute./

Written by davidfranchi

December 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm