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My Italian Wife
A light-hearted comedy about 2 sisters and their marital foibles

Written by
Mary Melfi

Directed by
Leo Samà

Nov. 26th to Nov. 29th 2015

Casa d’Italia, Montreal

Lisa Giannini as Rita Romano, an English teacher of Italian descent
Paolo De Paola as Dr. John Ross, a Montreal surgeon (Rita's husband)
Catherine De Luca as Paula Romano, a secretary (Rita's sister)
Anthony Gervasi as Carlo Ferrara, an actor

Mary Melfi’s “My Italian Wife” is a light-hearted comedy about sex, love and marriage. In the play, Rita Romano, a teacher of Italian descent, suspects her much younger sister, Paula, of having an affair with her husband, a Montreal surgeon. Rita, who grew up poor but is now rich, battles it out with Paula, who grew up rich but is now poor. Complications, misunderstandings and disagreements arise. Strong emotions clash; tradition and contemporary values conflict. The two sisters, one Italian- born, the other Canadian-born, seemingly have nothing in common and yet their love for each other is evident (Or is it?). You don’t have to be Italian to recognize yourself in them.

Audience Reaction to Sold-Out Production (One extra show added)

“Out of ten I give it an eleven” Egidio Vincelli (Italian-Canadian artist & sculptor)

“Mary Melfi is a female Oscar Wilde – an Oscar Wildette” (writer and filmmaker, Antonio D’Alfonso)

“Entertaining and funny” Robert Albanese (musician & theatre enthusiast)

“A masterpiece” Lisa Leder (nurse & playwright’s cousin)

CTV What’s On with Christine Long Wednesday November 25th 2015

Radio Interviews
CFMB AM 1280 Montreal Multilingual Radio Station. Interviewer: Lidia Russo: Nov. 18th 2015.

On-line Magazine interviews
(re. book publication of "My Italian Wife") Open Book/ Interviewer: Grace, January 10th 2013 Italocanadese Interviewer: Agata De Santis, Oct 10th 2012

General Comments on the Playwright’s Works
“Melfi... thrives as a powerful force in the Canadian literary landscape.”
Italian Canadiana, Vol XXX, 2016

“While Melfi’s writing exhibits a mastery of understanding, sympathizing with and challenging her characters, her proclivity for exploring subjects that are close to home has also allowed her to develop an ability to speak to complex, human subjects and relationships. Her writing is humorous and truthful….”
Panoram Italia June/July 2015 vol.10 No. 3

Leo Sama - Playwright, director and producer, Leo emigrated to Canada from his native Calabria (Italy) at the age of five. His passion for theatre, emigration and anything Italian have driven him not only to stage and direct but also to write his own plays. From 1982 to 2001 he worked mainly writing and staging his own plays in Italian (St-Viateur ‘65, Residenza, ‘U Bloccu, Sotto Vuoto, Donne di Briganti). In 2001 he founded PIER 21 PRODUCTIONS, accepting thus the huge challenge of promoting English theatre in the north-eastern corner of the Island of Montreal. Norm Foster’s Wrong for Each Other, Addolorata by Marco Micone and the classic Filumena Marturano by Eduardo De Filippo are only a few of the Leo's productions. St-Viateur ‘65 and The Bunker (firstly Sotto Vuoto in Italian), two Leo Sama original plays, were translated and adapted from Italian to English and have been staged at the Leonardo Da Vinci Center in the past few years, obtaining good media reviews and favorable spectator response. Leo is also co-founder and administrator of the Teatro Stabile Leonardo da Vinci. Directing Mary Melfi's light-hearted comedy My Italian Wife represents Leo his latest project, having emigration and Italian-Canadians as the central theme.

Lisa Giannini – Has extensive stage experience, especially in Italian theatre; she began her acting career back in 1994 with the Gruppo Teatrale Calabresi nel Mondo. Appeared in most of Leo Sama’s plays. Who can forget all the extraordinary characters she has played? Filumena Marturano in Eduardo de Filippo’s classic, Addolorata in Marco Micone’s play carrying the same name and Michela in Donne di Briganti by Leo Sama. With enthusiasm, she takes on the role of Rita in Mary Melfi's My Italian Wife.

Paolo De Paola – Left Italy at the age of 23 to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York where he developed his acting and playwright talents. He taught in Paris, London and New York. Paolo’s passion for theatre has no limits. Important to mention the two plays he has written, produced and directed: Donald’s Affair and Soleil Rose. He is also very involved in Montreal’s Italian theatre community. His stage work with Leo Sama includes Eduardo de Filippo’s Filumena Marturano and The Bunker a Leo Sama creation. He plays John in Mary Melfi's My Italian Wife.

Catherine De Luca - is a John Abbot College graduate: Professional Theatre Acting Program. Some of her teachers include Joan McBride, Rob Burns, Terry Donald, Jason Howell and Andy Cuk. Her most noteworthy theatre performances includes "Ali" in Soleil Rose and "Amanda" in Donald's Affair, both Paolo De Paola creations, "Chrissy" in Hair and "Sandy" in Grease. She worked on several independent films, including Pimp by Meal and Vintage Lingerie. My Italian Wife marks her debut in a play directed by Leo Sama. She plays Paula.

Anthony Gervasi - A Dawson College Professional Theater Program graduate in Montreal has been active in the Montreal artistic stage for over a decade. He has performed in a several Pier 21 theatre productions with Leo Sama. Noteworthy, his performance in Dawson College's production of Gemini, in which he played the lead role of Fran. Independent film productions and modeling are some of Anthony's other passions. In Mary Melfi's My Italian Wife, he plays Carlo.


Script-in-hand reading of Mary Melfi’s play, “Via Roma,” & Book launch of, “In the Backyard”


Foreplay and My Italian Wife, two plays by Mary Melfi, (Guernica Editions, 2012)

Sex Therapy, a black comedy by Mary Melfi  (Guernica Editions, 1996)

REVIEWS of published plays


 [Foreplay and My Italian Wife] “Both Foreplay and My Italian Wife examine the complex dynamics in any relationship – love, trust, and sex. Foreplay centers around the relationship of an emotionally insecure couple that a much-needed vacation on a New Age refuse island in order to improve their sex lives. The more light-hearted tongue-in-cheek My Italian Wife looks at the mind-set and preoccupations of second-generation Italian immigrants.”  Agata De Santis, italocanadese


[Sex Therapy]  Melfi’s intense, lyric, occasionally prophetic language produces a rich, magic texture of strong words and funny bittersweet imagery and action.” Dawn


[Sex Therapy] “Mary Melfi examines the reversal of roles, in which a therapist becomes the patient and a patient becomes the therapist, in her satirical dramatization of desire and sexuality. Sex Therapy, like other work by Mary Melfi, brings together a variety of elements: the anxieties of modern womanhood; and the textures and feelings of living in Italian and Canadian culture. These elements are shot through with Melfi’s wit, bouts of black humour. In her own way, she celebrates the absurdities of contemporary human existence.”                                  AICW Bollettino


[Sex Therapy] “An existentialist/absurdist tragicomic farce with more than a touch of futurist mystery novel, Sex Therapy is replete with word games and epigrams.”   Drama