1998 - Le bugie con le gambe lunghe

Students of Italian Theater Practicum at Columbia University with special guest Nicola Marrone and family (December 1999)

2000 - Il berrettoa sonagli

2010 - Il passeggero curioso

2010 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2010 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2010 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

Practicum at 2010 Festival

2011 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 - Festival Orlando Innamorato

Practicum at 2013 Festival

Practicum at 2013 Festival

Practicum at 2013 Festival







2010 playbill - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2011 playbill - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2012 playbill - Festival Orlando Innamorato

2013 playbill - Festival Orlando Innamorato


The success of the “Italian Theater Practicum,” created and headed by Vittorio Capotorto at Columbia University, will have an appropriate follow-up at the Italian Theater and Language School (Italian Cultural & Theatrical Center,) taught in both Italian and English. It will prepare new generations of artists to transcend the limits between the Italian and American acting traditions and languages.


Show-final exam of Italian Theater Practicum course at Columbia University

May 1998, Le bugie con le gambe lunghe by Eduardo De Filippo
December 1998, Mandragola by Nicolo’ Machiavelli
May 1999, Non tutti i ladri vengono per nuocere by Dario Fo
December 1999, Amleto in salsa piccante by Aldo Nicolaj
May 2000, Il berretto a sonagli by Luigi Pirandello
December 2000, Il signore desidera? by Carlo Greca e Nino Mignemi
May 2001, Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore by Luigi Pirandello


Some evaluations of the students about the Italian Theater Practicum course:

“The opportunity this class gives us is offered nowhere else. Thank you!”
“It is a wonderful idea to learn a language through acting. One builds up confidence in speaking, and learns how to gesture and express emotions.”

“It was a great semester. I am excited to enroll again.”

“The fact that this course exists at all, and that Vittorio can direct a full length play with non-native speakers in Italian, is the best aspect of the course.”

“The course was a lot of fun and I improved my Italian.”

“A practical and intensive way to work on Italian.”

“Vittorio is a great teacher and director.”

“Vittorio has the best eyes and ears in the business. He enables us to do the impossible.”

“This course is a wonderful idea and I hope that it continues for years to come so that others will benefit from it and enjoy the process as much as I have.”


Italian Theater Practicum in the 2009 Festival “Orlando Innamorato” – Ugento, Lecce, Italy

Evaluations of the students:

“Dear Vittorio: Now that I returned to Montreal and to my everyday life, I wish to thank you for having organized the Festival 'Orlando Innamorato' and for having chosen me to participate in it. It has been for me a great adventure, almost a dream, which I will never forget.”

Brian Townsley
University of Montreal


“At the beginning, I thought that studying epic poems would be quite a boring thing to do. However, thanks to my experience with Teatromania in Apulia, I had the opportunity to discover this literary genre through theatre, which has also helped me to improve my Italian and have lots of fun. Now I can say that I know well a very important part of the Italian literature and culture.”
Joel Thibeault
McGill University, Montreal


“Teatromania’s Orlando Innamorato was a wonderful opportunity to study the Italian tradition of epic poetry in new ways […] By treating Boiardo’s poetry as a text for the stage, Teatromania has found a way to make the work easier to understand for students of Italian and making it fun at the same time. […] Each student made great strides in improving diction and accent in their work to find the right inflection and correct words to emphasize in the poetry.  Finally, incorporating the poem into a theatrical production was a great way of introducing students to the genre, showing how drama, comedy and action are all found in one piece of marvelous story telling.”
Justin Anderson
University of Chicago


“Teatromania gave me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore Italian cultural and literary expression through theater in a breathtaking setting with an enormously memorable group of individuals. Unique to the experience was the ability to discover my individual voice, which emerged through the in-depth study of the epic poem, the characters of the story and the means by which the production came together into a stunning edition of storytelling. ” 
Nadia Banna
New York University


“'Enriching'. That is the word that encapsulates my feelings about my experience studying Italian through the theatrical interpretation of the epic poem Orlando Innamorato. […]Teatromania in Ugento gave me the opportunity to do just that. It was an unconventional program; […] I was skeptical. My skepticism proved to be unwarranted; the experience was unparalleled, surreal, and provided me with five of the best weeks of my life. I was fortunate to be a part of an extremely diverse group of Northern Americans, […] we devoted several hours a day to decoding the manuscript […] under the guidance of our patient director Vittorio Capotorto […]
“The program is ingenious and innovative in its approach to improve the Italian student’s command of the language. Theatre in itself presents an excellent opportunity for oral expression. […] we enriched our arsenal of formal literary vocabulary through the study and recitation of Le Isole Lontane while maintaining the prospect of informal expression through the exchange with all of the Italians who participated in bringing alive Orlando’s adventures.
“To reiterate, the experience was enriching, educational, and most importantly, fun. I improved my language skills, made friends for life, and gained an appreciation for epic poetry with its memorable characters, rich scenery, exciting adventures, and engaging narration, all brought to life by the beautiful language that is Italian.”
Smadar Brandes
McGill University, Montreal

Italian Theater Practicum in the 2010 Festival “Orlando Innamorato” – Ugento, Lecce, Italy

Evaluations of the students:

Italian Theater Practicum Course: It was so great!

Dear Vittorio:

“...there are things between the sky and the earth’... that remain inside of us and have the power to partially change our DNA! This is how I perceive the International Festival ‘Orlando Innamorato’: an indelible mark.
Because of your passion for the theatre, to assist to your lessons, where we followed the process from reading the script to performing ‘Hamlet in Spicy Sauce,’ has no price.

This “creature of art” grew day by day getting into every single actor and molding him to the character that emerged with its own form and content thanks to your masterful skills and extraordinary creativity.

I cried when I left the stage for the last time and while taking off my costume because I was removing a part of me that you have allowed me to maintain alive.’

Marta Dean

University of Padua

“Workingwith Vittorio Capotorto was demanding but rewarding: he has a unique vision of theatre that I was ultimately glad to be a part of. Acting really wasn't my thing as it makes me uncomfortable to speak in front of many people but doing it in a foreign language made meconsiderably better at it and for that I will alwaysbe thankful toVittorio and Maureen.’

Xhesika Shanja

Queens College NY

“For me the festival was the ultimate experience because I got to live in a world everyday that combined two of my favorite things, speaking Italian and doing theater... The Italian vocabulary I gained during the trip was wonderful because I expanded what I already knew and also gained a more literary vocabulary than I had before.

I enjoyed the play you choose immensely because it was playful and funny and we really got to play with the words and lines and it offered us a realm of vocabulary that I had never been exposed to.’

Hannah Elwyn

Buffalo State College

“Cari Vittorio and Maureen,

I am writing you to emphasize how incredibly grateful I am for providing me with the opportunity of a lifetime I had in Italy those five weeks. I could not have asked for a more special, enriching, beautiful experience.

Vittorio, your profound creative vision and youthful spirit inspires me to try my hardest and fulfill my potential as an actress. And Maureen, I greatly appreciated your gentle, patient demeanor and willingness to translate to me whenever I didn't understand something that was said in Italian as well as the time you put in to help me with my monologue.

I would love to work with you both again in the future and hope to participate in the fellowship program again next summer.’

Jennie Mintz

University of Wisconsin

“Participating in the Festival with Teatromania was a fantastic life experience, a truly unique opportunity. It is not your typical, run of the mill, vacation.The program puts the students in a complete culturalimmersionlife style of a small Italian town. Performing in the play was also a fun experience especially for me, as I had not done much acting before.’

Marco Manuel

University of Washington

“Having participated in the Teatromania's practicum in Ugento, Puglia 2010, I can say that the experience of combining theory and practice is close to none. In addition to working on improving my understanding of dramatic text, rehearsing and studying in an Italian context allowed me to greatly develop my language skills.
The cultural immersion, undeniably, forced me to learn new sets of vocabulary pertaining to the theatre and daily life, as well as, idiomatic expressions that are essential in becoming more proximate to native-speaker capacity.
Personally, this experience allowed me to explore simultaneously my two greatest passions: Italian language and culture, and drama. There is really nothing like it!’

Lorenzo Pagnotta

McGill University Montreal

Italian Theater Practicum in the 2011 Festival “Orlando Innamorato” – Ugento (LE), and Mola di Bari, Italy

Evaluations of the students:

Studying in the Teatromania Italian Theater Practicum under Vittorio Capotorto and participating in the Orlando Innamorato festival was among the most unique experiences of my life. It enriched my knowledge on both a cultural level through linguistic and cultural immersion like no other study abroad program, and was also an important step forward in my studying performance.

The work on the play itself was challenging but fascinating. Navigating through the new vocabulary and idioms of the language in the script in the early stages of the process improved my Italian just as much as any class dedicated solely to language learning. Subsequently, bringing the script to life on stage with Capotorto's masterful direction brought out a level of confidence in speaking that I never knew I had.

Moreover, the acting instruction helped me as a student of theatre. Acting in my non native language did not distract me from performance but rather encouraged me to pay careful attention to the meaning of the words and thus the intentions of the character. Capotorto's passionate direction and his theatrical eye for detail assured us that we were in good hands. I was particularly impressed that Capotorto gave second parts in one act plays to students who had smaller parts in the central play. Not only did this serve the festival, but it assured that every student actor had similar challenges and an equal experience on stage.
At the same time, everyone came to the program with differing needs and levels of experience, and it was wonderful to see my peers grow in their own journey, as I was growing in mine.
Finally, on a personal level I would like to thank Vittorio and Maureen for this program. It seems now, looking back, to have been a necessary step in my learning about theatre and about Italy.

The little voice of reason in the back of every performer's head reminded me to keep up the technique so as not to break character, and I did. Still, that feeling I felt that night on stage was unlike any feeling I have felt before in my years of student theatre. When that heaviness was lifted, I felt liberated in a way, like I had completed a long pilgrimage. Then came that good old feeling every actor knows; the feeling of having the audience in the palm of my hand. The whole program was worth it just for that!

Max Sklar

McGill University, Montreal


Italian Theater Practicum in the 2013 Festival “Orlando Innamorato” – Ugento (LE), Italy

Evaluations of the students:

To have had the chance to study and perform as part of Teatromania's Italian Theater Practicum alongside Vittorio Capotorto and Maureen Gonzalez has truly been a unique and amazing experience. This course has turned out to be much more than your average language course. I have totally become immersed into Italian culture, and because of this my language and acting abilities have truly been put to the test. Both Vittorio and Maureen are so passionate about what they do, and it is thanks to their careful and compelling direction that my linguistic abilities and cultural knowledge have been truly enhanced, only further increasing my love for theatre and languages.
[...] Being part of this outstanding and talented team has inspired me so much. Theatre is life, and this is a lesson I will always hold close to my heart.

Anna Surricchio

Royal Holloway UK


When I first heard about the Italian Theatre Practicum course through Teatromania, I thought it sounded like a great opportunity. Then as I got to know Vittorio Capotorto and Maureen Gonzalez, I knew I would be in good hands. Coming to Italy, the opportunity turned into an adventure, but now that I have gotten to work with Vittorio it has become a privilege. Not only does he care about you as a performer or a speaker of Italian, he cares about you as a person. He wants you to grow and to flourish, because being an actor and being an Italian means you must know how to live. That is what Vittorio offers, life; and I will never regret my choice in pursuing this experience.

Nick Catanese

University of Dallas


When I first heard about the Festival Internazionale Orlando Innamorato organized by Teatromania, I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me, not only as a native of Italy but as a performer. It has been a privilege and honor to work with both Vittorio Capotorto and Maureen Gonzalez. They are outstanding interpreters of both the Italian language and theatre; they are amazing people that put others before themselves. They not only want us to achieve greatness on the stage, but in our everyday life. This experience reminds me of a quote I read in the past by Nora Roberts. "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place." My advice to anyone given this opportunity, I would say take it and run with it because I can assure you that Vittorio and Maureen will change your life, as they have mine.

Alessandro Barbarotto

City College of New York


It's not an exaggeration when I say: the first day that I arrived in Ugento, I knew only the bare minimum of the Italian language - often mispronouncing words to the extent where I'd be saying the complete opposite of what I actually wanted to be saying. However, thanks to Vittorio Capotorto and Maureen Gonzalez, along with their outstanding organization, Teatromania, I now feel beyond confident to perform in a language that I could hardly comprehend just 3 weeks ago. I could never have imagined a better way to spend my summer. Both Vittorio and Maureen have not only challenged and encouraged me as an actor, but also inspired and educated me as a human being. They both have overwhelmingly huge hearts and a rare willingness to share the most profound lessons they've learnt in their lifetimes with all their students
[...] For me, this challenging course has not only been about the rich, riveting world of Italian theatre and culture; but also about friendship, growth, humanity, love and life. And I will forever be greatful for this amazing opportunity.

Jade Garisch (South Africa)

Brandeis University


Participating in this year's Orlando Innamorato Festival was a unique and defining experience for me in many ways. As an Italian major, I got the opportunity to practice my Italian conversational skills, and as a theater enthusiast, I had the chance to immerse myself in a character and perform on stage in front of a live audience. While I am extremely grateful to Vittorio and Maureen for providing this opportunity, I know that the skills I learned as a student in Italian and theater are priceless. The sheer honesty and sense of dignity that I experienced as an actress, and the genuine love and hospitality of the Italians which made me feel as if I were one of their own will remain with me for a lifetime. Regardless of the career path I may take in the future, I know that I will have become a better and more knowledgeable person as a result of the experiences gained during this program.

Tara Jamali

University of Buffalo



Gli Italici

Founded in 2008 by Vittorio Capotorto, Gli Italici is a theatrical group composed of non-Italian natives who want to experience the beautiful challenge of performing in Italian. In 2008 Gli Italici performed at Fordham University Visita ai Parenti by Aldo Nicolaj, directed by Vittorio Capotorto.