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Tosca and the Two Downstairs, a Play by Franca Valeri



Tosca and the Two Downstairs, a Play by Franca Valeri

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A satirical, behind-the-scenes sister-story to Puccini's Tosca as imagined by one of the wittiest and most admired Italian playwright and actresses, Franca ValeriTosca and the two downstairsis directed by Laura Caparrotti, Artistic Director of KIT, and its English translation is by Natasha Lardera.

The play will be acted by Laura Caparrotti and Marta Mondelli in Italian with English supertitles by the prestigious Prescott Studio in Italy. KIT-Kairos Italy Theater is a rarity: a bilingual Italian-English theater company that presents Italian theatrical works of literary merit. It is named for Kairos, the Greek god of the fleeting moment. 


This program is organized under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic and in collaboration with NYU DC as part of the 19th Week of Italian Language in the World, an event promoted yearly by the Italian diplomatic and cultural network to foster the diffusion and study of the Italian language in the world.


nyu kairos




NYU Washington DC 
1307 L Street NW 
Washington, DC 20005


Please Note


A registration is not a guarantee of a seat as these are assigned on a first-come first-served basis.

Once the event is full we will not accept wait list requests. A limited number of “last call" registrations will be available on Eventbrite between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM on the day of the event.






“Tosca” by Puccini (1900) is an opera based on a drama by Sardou. Mario Cavarodossi, a painter who has concealed a dangerous political prisoner, is being protected by his lover, an Italian singer named Tosca. Mario is being tortured to reveal the whereabouts of the prisoner to Scarpia, the chief of police, who promises to save the painter by a mock execution if Tosca will give herself to him. She agrees, but stabs him at the last moment. The execution is, however, a real one and Tosca leaps form a battlement to her death.



On the night of the torture, the event is overheard from an adjoining room by two women, the wife of the torturer and the female caretaker of Palazzo Farnese where the interrogation is taking place.

It is the nineteenth century; the porter's lodge of the Palazzo Farnese is dominated by Emilia, who is responsible for upholding both the house's decorum and the reputation of the powerful and wicked baron Scarpia. Emilia is married to Nando the jailer of the Castel Sant'Angelo. She is a strong housewife who doesn't get easily upset over the constant shouting and somewhat shady affairs of the palazzo.

One night, Iride sneaks into the porter's lodge. The woman is a former lower-class "artiste." She comes to pick up her husband, the galley-sergeant Sciarrone who is, late and that night, still at work. He is now busy at a very delicate job on the upper floor of Palazzo Borghese: he is trying to make Cavaradossi, Tosca's lover, talk. His techniques are considerably less than gentle, but Scarpia knows that this is an efficient way to shock poor Tosca, for whom he longs, into surrender.

Emilia and Iride patiently wait for the end of Sciarrone's shift. The two women keep each other company, and their conversations lead to a hilarious parody of common people's life. Yet, there is more. Iride, in fact, is not there just to wait for her husband. Within their constant gossip they discuss their miserable daily life, and the moralism of the poor but ugly, and the Cavaradossi's tortured screams, the audience learns about deep secrets and dangerous plans.

Among the outspoken conversations between Emilia and Iride are inserts of the actual opera performance. At daybreak, finally, Emilia and Iride say good-bye...

The play had its debut on 1978 in Italy with Franca Valeri as Emilia and Adriana Asti as Iride. In the States, the play has been presented in the form of a reading at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo' and at the Ciao Italy Festival.



Franca Valeri was born in Milan in 1920. She is the first female comic actress and satiric playwright to enjoy steady success from the 1950s to today. Her unforgettable "women"--above all the "Signorina Snob," the satirical portrait of a rich girl from Milan--made her very popular in the 50s. During a career that, despite the age, showed no signs of slowing down, Ms. Valeri has worked in about 53 films with the most famous Italian directors and actors. In addition, she has written several screenplays and plays. Ms. Valeri is also an Opera connoisseur who has directed several operas and founded a competition for young Opera singers. 



KIT’s mission is to create a cultural exchange program between Italy, the US and the international community, to unveil the artistic and creative sides of each country, with special focus on Italy and the US. In the United States, Kairos Italy Theater is primarily dedicated to spreading Italian Culture and to creating a Cultural Network in order to support and further increase the knowledge of Italian and International culture, and to support and encourage collaboration between artists world-wide.

  • Embracing: seeking to understand the “other” in order to discover differences and similarities
  • Collaborative: sharing experiences and learning from each other in order to create something universal
  • International: promoting art without boundaries and not grounded in stereotypes



President/Artistic Director/Actress

caparrottiLaura was born in Rome and she has a degree in Performing Arts from the University “La Sapienza” in Rome, Italy. She also studied independently with Dario Fo, Annie Girardot and Elsa Wolliaston, among others. In Italy she performed with Giancarlo Cobelli, Mario Carotenuto, The Teatro Stabile di Torino, and many others for over ten years. In New York Laura performed at The Kitchen with the Japanese company OM2 and in The Cosmic Legends Series.

She is the curator of “Excerpts of a Prince named Totò” and she continues working and touring as representative of the de Curtis Family, as an actress, a voice over talent, a director, a Theater&Italian teacher, a lecturer, a consultant, doing all of that as President and Artistic Director of KIT -Kairos Italy Theater Inc with the ultimate goal of spreading the Italian Culture and to create an Italian Culture Network in order to maintain and grow the knowledge of Italy in the States, and vice versa. In 2008, Ms. Caparrotti has started KIT in the city, a bi-lingual online news-magazine dedicated to cultural and every-day events in New York and Rome. Laura is a Member of the Lincon Center Director’s Lab and a member of its international sub-group WorldWideLab. She was recently an artist in residence at The Watermill Performance Center in Long Island (fall residency program). Since 2011 she is also Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.



Data: Mar 22 Ott 2019

Orario: Alle 18:30

Organizzato da : IIC Washington

In collaborazione con : NYU DC, Kairos Italy Theater

Ingresso : Libero


NYU Washington DC