Tonight at 8:00 pm at the Access Theater in New York, will debut the off off Broadway show I am Salome, produced by Black Lodge Theater, which has in the cast also the young Italian actress Cristina Lippolis. Native from Putignano, Puglia, she moved to the US when she was a child, discovering a great love for acting and its derivative forms. Today she tells us a little bit of her story.
When did you decide to come to New York?
I decided to come to NY when I was 9 years old. I used to live in LA with my family at that time and my dance teacher’s daughter had just been admitted to Julliard School. She also was a dancer and I really admired her. Since then I decided back then that I would have moved to NY to attend the same school. Later on I was forced to quit dancing due to an injury and I never made it to Julliard but I always knew that I would have ended up in NY. After I graduated from high school I was accepted at the Stella Adler School of Acting and here I am.
Are you professionally satisfied of what you’re doing here?
Yes! I’m very satisfied professionally . Both in theater and in the film projects that I have landed in the past 5 years, since I moved here. Even though I’m still young, I’ve had the opportunity of working with amazing artists, both nationally and internationally acclaimed. I’ve always worked on projects which I really believed in. That is a luxury I don’t ever want to give up.
Last month you attended the Giffoni Film Festival with the short movie “La Malaerba”, third classified. Do you ever think about a career in Italy?
I’d go back to Italy even tomorrow if I could but for now I have to create my own opportunities here, because over there it’s very hard, especially in the film industry. You have to be present so that people can remember you. I spend too little time in Italy to be taken into consideration by casting directors and film directors. Also I work in independent projects in NY, without an Italian distribution, so I’m still unknown over there. But I’m very happy for “La Malaerba”‘s success. It’s a very important project to me because I co-wrote the story, I’m one of the associate producers and, most importantly, it was shot in Puglia, precisely in Putignano, which is the town where I’m from. I feel deeply connected to my Country. I’ll definitely go back to work in Italy one day, it’s just a matter of time!
Actress, producer, writer. Which one better represents you?
I don’t think there’s an actual distinction between these three things, at least not for me. I believe that they are just different sides of the same coin. I’ve chosen this career because I’m literally obsessed with trying to understand the human condition and all its nuances. Acting, producing and writing are three tools that all serve the same purpose, which it’s essential to me.
I AM SALOME pieces together a unique version of the classic titular character based on the innovative work of American author/playwright Charles Mee. Mee crafted his original play by culling together the writings of Colette, Gustave Flaubert, Camille Paglia, Catherine Millet, Annie Sprinkle as well as anonymous Internet-based authors. Director Alexandra Siladi re-imagined the iconic role for the millennial generation; one who identifies with the trans-formative story of Caitlyn Jenner as much as the horrific details of the “Barbie” murderer, Karla Homolka. This provocative interpretation follows the 6 actors/ Salomes as they share stories about their sexual emergence in an attempt to find their innocence and embrace all of their inherent complexities and contradictions.
Is it difficult for an Italian actor to perform into a theater show in New York?
Yes, I think so. For different reasons. First of all, the language: you must have an impeccable American accent or at least you have to be able to do one if they ask for it, otherwise it’s limiting. Then there is the visa problem: today it’s much more difficult to get it approved than it used to be, but it’s necessary if you want to work and perform here legally. Besides New York became lately very expensive and you need to work a lot just to live here. It requires a big sacrifice.
Did anyone in particular inspired your career?
The only true inspirations I have had are my four grandparents, Aurelio, Giovanna, Bruna and Carlo: all of them have been extraordinary people, both in their personal and professional lives. Perhaps my grandfather, Carlo Rambaldi, had the most influence on me. He taught me to never accept compromises, especially artistically: it’s not worth it.
What’s your biggest dream?
I think I might be already living my biggest dream and I thank the Universe every day for what I have. But if we’re talking about what goals I have for the future, I definitely want to open my own Production Company, direct my first film and keep working between LA, NY and Italy. I would love to have a flexible working schedule that allows me to spend a few month a year to travel the world and go to the beach in Puglia during the summertime!
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