November 11, 2023. Written by Gaia Mencagli
“Stories of Eggs and Flour” is a one-woman show that portrays the life of Rosa Falleri Mencagli. Rosa was my grandmother, my father’s mother, Gino’s wife, a young girl, but beyond all that, she was an Italian woman who lived in the 20th century in central Italy, and when I met her in her latest years, she had many stories to tell.
The stories that I have decided to tell in “Stories of Eggs and Flour” are just a few of the many, and I chose them because I wanted to try to imagine what it was like to grow up in the twenties in Italy as an orphan with two younger sisters and an older one that does not care about you.
Rosa was a great cook, and so I decided to interpret her while making pasta on stage. I do the whole process from start to end, but the stories that are told appear in a non-linear fashion. Therefore, I created a soundtrack with old Italian TV and Radio clips to help the audience navigate through the several jumps in time and space. Whether or not you are going to see the show, I will share some of these old tunes with you, and I am sure that once you hear them, you will start traveling back in time.
1928. “Tango delle capinere” A famous song written by Cesare Andrea Bixio and composed by Bixio Cherubini: Gabrè – Il Tango delle Capinere
Roma, 6 October 1924, 9 p.m. The first Italian radio transmission was on air, celebrated with a concert with music by Joseph Haydn: Inizio trasmissioni radio in Italia
1932. A clip from the movie “Gli uomini che mascalzoni”… Where a young Vittorio De Sica sings and dances to the tunes of “Parlami d’amore Mariu”: Vittorio De Sica – Parlami d’amore Mariù (1932)
I wanted to imagine her relationship with her fiancé and then husband through difficult times. I wanted to imagine what it was like for her to hold her child while trying to escape one of the many bombings during the Second World War.
Roma, 23 October 1942. The annual celebration of the foundation of Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, the Italian Fascist party, created by Benito Mussolini in 1919: Annuale Fondazione dei Fasci
Rome, 4 October 1941. The speech of Mussolini, Italian dictator and founder of Fascismo, after the first year of taking part in the Second World War: Discorso di Mussolini
I also wanted to share the love and care that she had for her family and that twinkle in her eyes that went away only when she was gone.
There was a couch at the entrance of her home, and when I opened the door to her apartment, I would often find her there, waiting for somebody to come and visit. If I sat close to her, she would then tell me about the first time she met the love of her life, my grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet. Other times, I would find her in the kitchen making some ravioli, or fettuccine, or gnocchi, or cooked apples for an afternoon snack. On a sunny day, she would sit outside on the balcony, keeping an eye on us kids playing in the street.
The sixties TV commercials: E Adesso Pubblicità Spot
Gaia Mencagli is an Italian-Danish theater artist. She completed her degree at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in California in 2018 and previously studied in Denmark and Italy. From 2018 to 2020, she lived in Minneapolis, where she worked as an actor and an educator. She then moved back to Italy and established herself in Trieste. There, she performed her solo shows “Stories of Eggs and Flour” and “It’s Red!” at Hangar Teatri and taught theater to kids, teenagers, and adults. She is currently working as a puppeteer at the Rossetti Theatre with the Marionette di Podrecca while cultivating independent projects of her own.