We talked with Ippolita Baldini who play’s a great Mag Wildwood in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, she is the rival of Holly Golightly, who is played by Francesca Inaudi. We asked Ippolita to tell us her young career as an actress, the difficulties and achievements that you meet.
Tonight the premier at the teatro Manzoni in Milan for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The play will be on until the 17th of March, directed by Piero Maccarinelli and based on the book of Truman Capote and rewritten by Samuel Adamson in the only adaptation for theatre ever made. After the tour that has all ready touched more than 20 Italian cities, this “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” first of all wants to remain far from the famous film version done from the adaptment of Capote’s book. Staring in the film is the great actress Audrey Hepburn.
A play that talks about dreams, hope, delusions and achievements. We spoke with one of the actors, Ippolita Baldini, that does the part of Mag Wildwood in a very convincing way. Ippolita in the play is the rival of Holly Golightly (Francesca Inaudi), and we asked her to tell us the career of a young actress, her difficulties and her achievements.
Theatre has been fundamental in your artistic journey. Cinema arrived in a second moment. You have starred in “Welcome to the North”, “When the night” and “Ti presento un amico”. For a 30 year old actor in 2013 what type of languages are theatre and cinema and what fundamental differences are there between the two.
I would prefer not to define the differences between theatre and cinema, I would be forced to enter a wide philosophical-psychological-artistic subject, of which I don’t have strong opinion and theory. What I can do on the other hand is speak about the job of an actor in theatre and cinema. In both situations the actor tries to give his truth by delivering the text, by staying in relation with the other characters and by changing himself radically. In cinema the emotion and authenticity of the line and situation has to be delivered at every clapboard, in theatre instead you have to follow a defined period of time to create the emotion of the character.
In theatre the public is fundamental: audience is the third character of the scene. The audience gives the pace to the evening and you have to be able to listen to it, understand it and satisfy it. You have to be able to communicate with the audience, this is the job of an actor.
The actor has to juggle with these three elements. You need technique, talent, imagination, joy, and passion. For this reason I will take the risk of saying: cinema doesn’t need actors, theatre does. Cinema needs interesting souls. In cinema you don’t need to be a good actor if your soul and your physicality is right for the part and the script. Post production and a good director are able to move the audience directly in the cinema. The responsibility that an actor has on set is very different from the one that you have in the theatre. In theatre you live the present moment and the audience is either with you or not, in cinema you bring the audience to empathize with your character in different ways: a specific frame, a music in the background which support the scene with an editing game. All of these efforts create an intimacy with the scene, it’s as if the audience was an immaterial being, a spy that observes the destiny of the characters. This is one of the reasons why the first thing that they teach you in cinema is not to look in camera but close to the camera lens, the actor should never engage the audience by looking at them directly in their eyes. The actor has to pretend as if the audience and the camera wasn’t there. Sometimes in cinema the cameras are huge and they point them at a couple of centimeters from your nose.
Concentration on the other hand is very different in theatre and cinema. In theatre you arrive an hour prior the play, and from there you gradually find your concentration through corporal training and then pass on to make up and dressing (every actor has his way to enter in a state of concentration and this is mine).
In cinema you need a different type of concentration. The film crew gives the timing directly on set based on the different necessities of the director and his team. The actor has to repeat the scene many times and he has to find the authenticity and be instinctive.
Can you speak about the work that you did on your self to transform in the character of Mina.
I was in Berlin and was working as a performer for an artist. Someone told me that Almodovar was about to start the preparation of a film on Mina. A couple of months before, during a photographic service the photographer told me that I had Mina’s eyes. This strong lady had always attracted me, she is pragmatic and has a beautiful voice and gaze. The tiger from Cremona. I was searching a part of myself that had been left unexplored. I have a very important physicality, big eyes, very tall, and expressive face but I had never been conscious of this and through the study on Mina I was able to have access to this strength.
Mina’s gestures, her intensive look that pierces the screen arrives directly to the audience and then slides away. Mina has both lightness and gravity in body and voice.
All of the characters that you meet as an actor enrich you, you have to search in yourself some similarities to the character and start to build on those.
You invented something that’s called “Theatre at your door” can you talk about it?
I decided to bring my characters (Mina, “Miss snob” of Franca Valeri and others) in private homes for a sort of weariness in my artistic path. I felt the artificiality and alienation of the actor in the big theatre productions. I needed to rediscover my audience and the necessity that had guided my choices.
I do these evenings to bring a text, to warm up the atmosphere and give out energy.
So you auto produced yourself. Is this thing common in these times of crises for an actor? What does an actor do, today? The pros and cons.
Today for a young actor times are rather difficult. There are not many productions, the money that is invested in culture and in the theatre sector is not enough. What is lacking is the courage to risk. Producers (in theatre as well) rarely invest in “promising young actors”. They prefer supporting projects that have low percentage of risk. This is very difficult for actors that are trying to become known.
How did this passion for theatre start? Could you say that it was in some way inevitable for you to become an actress or did you discover it after a while?
It was inevitable, even if it took me years to discover it and find the courage to become one. Since I was a kid I did imitations and small shows in my home and at school. It was a joy to make other people laugh and warm the atmosphere. For me it came spontaneously because I had to react to certain difficult or tense situations, it was a way to react to inconvenient circumstances. The passion for theatre on the other hand arrived when I was fifteen and I went on stage for the first time and discovered the audience and got a round of applause from them. From there on theatre became my drug, a true passion.
You have worked with Cristina Comencini, Claudio Bisio and Filippo Timi, that are among the best young actors and directors in Italy. Is there some other young artist with which you would like to work.
I would like to work with the “Popular Shakespeare Company” directed by Valerio Binasco, they are a group of excellent young italian actors, a special team that works in theatre with passion and talent (like Filippo Dini, Antonio Zavatteri and Fulvio Pepe). An experience with them would be very useful for my artistic career, because they work with Shakespeare (an author that would be far from the bourgeois ones that I have done in the last period). I would be able to work with great actors and a director that does a superb work on the text and character.
Who are your guides, the people who inspire you and that you would like to emulate?
Guide- Lorenzo Salveti. Among the actresses that I love: Franca Valeri, Franca Rame, Monica Vitti, Mariangela Melato and Maria Pajato.
Do you have a dream you would like to come true as an actress?
I won’t tell you because I am afraid it won’t and I am a bit superstitious (all actors are, aren’t they?)
Interview from Blog Notes of Marta Calcagno Baldini: http://www.linkiesta.it/blogs/blog-notes-marta