Scarlet Coffee is a drama inspired by poems written by Argia Coppola dramatised through music, dance, song and the spoken word.


It is an original, colorful, moving and ironic trip through the most intimate and secret cravings of a love story that is both intense and mysterious.


Al, the protagonist, is a woman who we find alone and lonely in her apartment, watching noir (thriller) movies and spinning a dream where, as a femme fatale, she looks for the man of her life, a man she imagines living somewhere else, in the South, who looks like the leading actors in the films she continually watches on TV.  Al dreams of meeting him, going to Naples where he lives, of dancing with him, confessing her love and marrying him. The spectators never see the images on her screen, they just hear the sounds.


She travels to Naples, looks for him, asks the public if they have seen him or not.


We find out in the end that the man never shows up in Al's life.  He is just an illusion in her head and she decides at the end to take a pause and to forget him.


At certain moments some elements of reality are inserted in the show with the presence of the director (sitting upstage), occasionally appearing on stage, acting as a director, a spectator, a passer-by.


The plot develops in a way that gives the sensation that the spectator is watching a movie where we do not recognize the edges of reality, illusion, fiction and dreams.  It does not matter if the story is real or unreal, what matters is the universe were we are dropped.


The man is in the background, with his friend.  They are out of focus; real and unreal at the same time. Their story is juxtaposed with Al's one, as a parallel to her life.  When Al sings, they play.  The heart of the plot is represented by the songs, original compositions by Daniele De Luca and Ivana Messina, intimate confessions and real moments of disillusion and disclosure of the soul.


Scarlet Coffee aims to offer a deliberately contradictory sensation, juxtaposing the poetic and the concrete. These different levels of the story are edited till they intersect




Each fragment of the show is matched with a music specifically written in relation to Al’s intimate moments. As a result we have a fluxus of songs originally written for the show and edited in order to be played continuously. There is a justaxposition of recorded sounds and originally played music, the idea is to give the sensation of two levels, reality and dreams. The total number of songs is eleven originally written, and one track by Elvis Presley (are you lonesome tonight, Laughing version) and Maria Nazionale (Ragione e Sentimento). These two songs belong to two different worlds and the first one is inserted when she dreams to marry him while the second one is inserted when she gets to Naples, and becomes Our Lady …..Music style is kind of vaudeville, let’s say variety (musical style and atmosphere Cabaret, Vinicio Capossela, Paolo Conte, Tom Waits, boler) Ivana’s voice is warm and goes into tunes that remind those of Mina, Cesaria Evora, Janis Joplin) .there is also one music by an artist named ehma (album la plage de blane est modified the 26 .07.2008 by the author).




The decision to work on Scarlet Coffee was taken with the common desire to work on something belonging to our shared cultural heritage - music and films - blending them in a dream-like vision from the point of view of a woman.


Scarlet Coffee uses a contemporary language because it explores different styles, blending them “contemporaneously”, and portrays a reflection on different narrative levels, blending dance, theatre and song.  The style is chosen in order to explore the intimate worlds were we live where we do not exactly know the limits of reality and fiction.  But it is also an homage to the role of films and imagination in life and in the arts.


The choice of having the real director on stage, almost conducting the action and moving along with it in full view of the audience was taken because of a desire to represent some inserts of reality in the whole with the protagonist interacting with the audience and the director interacting with her; it is also an homage to the great Tadeusz Kantor.



Photos:  © Angelo Bellotti - © Franco Borrelli


Costumes: Annapaola Brancia d'Apricena