F30 Countdown – Marco Calvani

The festival is almost here! In just thirty days we will be ready to see and celebrate our finalists’ incredible work. I know, it still feels like the festival can’t start soon enough. 

So, why don’t we start the festivities a little early?

Every day between now and August 7 we’re going to feature one of our playwrights in our annual F30 Countdown. And, we’re going to kick it off today by learning a little more about Marco Calvani! 

Italian born, Marco is an award-winning writer and director based in New York. Strong Hands was his first play to be performed to great acclaim throughout Europe. Commissions from the Todi Art Festival, the Phoenix Theatre of London, Teatro di Roma, the Théâtre de la Ville of Paris, La MaMa Theatre New York and the Grec Fundaciò of Barcelona followed. Other plays include: Oil (Teatro India, Roma; Robert Moss Theater, NY), The City Beneath (La MaMa Theatre, NY; Ubud Festival, Indonesia; Sala Beckett, Barcelone), Penelope In Groznyj (Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin; Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, Teatro Vascello, Rome). He created with Neil LaBute the project AdA – Author directing Author (Spoleto Festival, Fringe Festival Madrid, La MaMa Theatre, Venice Biennale, Grec Festival Barcelona). Most recently he directed the movie adaptation of his play The View From Up Here starring Melissa Leo and Leïla Bekhti (US/France, 2017).


When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I started my career in theatre as an actor at an early age. When I was twenty I was acting in a terrible terrible play and every night after every performance, when I was home, I started to write my first play ever. I was tired of doing something I wasn’t completely driven by and obsessed by the idea that something so bad could be produced. At that time, I found myself to be incapable as an actor to turn down a job, so the idea (and the need) of writing plays became my personal revenge against that impotence. And soon the only the only way to express my vision as an artist. 

How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

Estelle Parsons commissioned me this play for The Actors Studio last year. Other writers and I were asked to write a short play around the theme Community. Maybe because I am an immigrant myself, maybe because through all my work, sometimes more consciously than others, I always deal with the question of identity and belonging, I had no hesitation in using that opportunity to turn the lights on an issue that was (and still is) happening all around the globe, in our cities, in our neighborhoods. Right now there are almost five millions of refugees in the world in need of a resettlement. I couldn’t ignore any longer the devastating tragedy of those who are forced to leave their homes and feel abandoned, and the rising fear of those who are afraid to lose theirs and feel invaded. 

What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Intimate, violent, political, tender, geometrical.

What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

The reality I read in the newspaper and see on the streets, elderly people, my personal struggles, Harold Pinter, Mozart, the silence. 

What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I’m afraid of the dark. Literally. 

What are some of your favorite plays?

A Doll’s House, Caligula, The Importance of Being Earnest

Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

I’m working on my first feature film script and on a full length play commissioned by an Off-Broadway company. 


His play The View from Up Here will be performed on August 10th at 6:30pm. It’s centered around Claire and Lila, who are neighbors. They both live in the same building, they see each other every day but they hardly know their names. Until today, when Claire decides to pay a visit to Lila, a refugee from Syria recently resettled in US thanks to a program supported by the church, and to ask for something that will definitely put at risk the cohabitation.