The Heroine’s Journey of Margherita Ortolani

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

What I most love about my profession is the possibility of joining two different lifestyles and making them coexist. The first one is writing, which is immersion, isolation, silence. Going on stage, on the other hand, is openness, night after night. One way or the other, that is still me.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

Frankly, a day where all cares, and preoccupations are put aside, a nice dinner, by the seaside, on a summer night.

What is my greatest fear?

I fear physical violence.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Some degree of naiveté, which sometimes prevents me from seeing how the world actually works.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I admire elegance, be it in expressing your thoughts and in relating to others. I find this corresponds to a clear and focused vision of things, that only great minds possess. The right thing to say, the right thing to do, at the right moment.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I’m moody.

I don’t always like to talk. I think that words, sometimes, are just a way to make things meaningless.

On what occasion would I lie?

I enjoy saying little lies, just for fun. Generally, when people meet tend to assume that everyone fits into a scheme: metro, boulot, dodo. So far, I’ve lead a life that hardly fits into any scheme, I’ve lived in many different cities, at least four for longer times, and many other for short ones, very few people do know me, and all the pieces of my puzzle; whenever someone attempts to superficially force me into a predefined pattern, I laugh at that and play along.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Bureaucracy hell.

Some widespread mediocrity common among those who think too high of themselves.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

There are very rare moments, when everything resonates. Everything. Your vision, and the world outside; then you think that you were right when you didn’t give up. The other days you just hate yourself for it.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I’ve never really given it much thought; everything, probably, just to see how the second chance goes.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Consistency, maybe.

Where would I most like to live?

Palermo is a city I could not do without. I enjoy living in Milano. Paris is the only city I feel homesick for; I even miss the smell of some of its metro stations.

What is my most treasured possession?

My memories, my enchanted childhood.

What is my most marked characteristic?


I can be faithful, to projects and ideas, besides love. However, if I realize I’m being betrayed and used, I cut loose and become unreachable.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Besides being my birthplace, I think Palermo is a marvellous town, with many unusual sides. I’d like to point out two places out of the usual sightseeing: the liberty architecture of viale Regina Margherita and its Villino Florio all’Olivuzza, and the villas of the eighteen century in the area of San Lorenzo Colli. Also, as morbid as it may sound, I have a special feeling for the Catacombs of Cappuccini, a true synthesis of the Palermitan spirit. And the sea, of course.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Caffé Internazionale, via San Basilio, 33

Bolazzi, Piazzetta F. Bagnasco, 1

What books influenced my life and how?

La Cognizione del Dolore (Acquainted with Grief) by C.E. Gadda for the lexical perfection, and the tragedy of incompleteness

Who are my favorite writers?

There are simply too many. I can just mention the ones I more often go back to, with no categorical distinction: Bernhard, Laclos, Bufalino, Deleuze (everything, but especially “Qu’est-ce que l’acte de création” and “Le Pli”), Bulgakov, Bolano (for Nocturno de Chile), Walser, Yourcenar (“L’Œuvre au noir »), Petere Handke (Autoaccusation), Th. Mann (Buddenbrook), Celine (Voyage au but de la nuit) and many more.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Gloria Patri from Handel’s Dixit Dominus (this is for my friends: be prepared)

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

No one. I would like, one day, to play a role like Gena Rowlands’ in Opening Night

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Derek Jarmans Blue

What role plays art in my life and work?


Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Andrea, my best friend and first reader.

The guys who work with me, especially in the very tough project on our territory.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?

Two artists, both from Palermo.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?

I’m already thinking about 2018!

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?

An international project that it’s already on its way, BLITZ, the training and theatre creation project that I’m leading here in Palermo, and BAAL by Phoebe Zeitgeist

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

I will be on stage with Copi’s LORETTA STRONG, a Phoebe Zeitgeist show, directed by Giuseppe Isgrò, at Teatro della Contraddizione (Milano) on March 30-31, and April 1-2.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

I’d suggest my friend Camilla Barbarito (singer) , and Rita Casdia (visual artist)

How can you contact me?


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