Mariana Kellond and the new Vertigo Theatre

Mariana Kellond and theatre director Marco Conte at the new Vertigo Theatre, LivornoMariana Kellond and theatre director Marco Conte at the new Vertigo Theatre, Livorno 11th April 2012 It could almost be the title of a play - Mariana and the new Vertigo Theatre! Mariana, however, is far from just an actor in one of the performances created by the Centro Culturale Vertigo: she is an enthusiastic, dedicated and highly motivated organizer, supporter and member of the energetic team of actors, teachers, writers and musicians that make up the association.

She has become more and more involved in Vertigo over the years, and is now a fundamental part of the centre, having also sponsored the new theatre project.

I asked her to tell me a little about her life and how she came to be involved in the world of theatre, seeing as when I first met her years ago we were both teaching English at the same school here in Livorno.

Where were you born Mariana? In London. My father was an English naval engineer from Grantham (Lincolnshire), and my mother was from Turin.

So how did you end up in Livorno? My mother's brother opened a shipyard in Livorno in the late 1960s and asked my father to be his business partner. I was about 5 at the time. I went to school in Livorno and then to college in Grantham. Since then I have travelled to England regularly, going about once a month now, although I have no family there any more.

Do you like Livorno? I love the area I live in, on the seafront in Antignano. I also love the Venezia district [where the Vertigo theatre is located]. I'm not really part of the Livorno lifestyle though. I prefer peace and quiet!

Is there anything you don't like about Livorno? I find it dirty sometimes, and the attitude of people in shops and public offices really irritates me.

Is there anywhere else you would like to live? Yes, I love Capri. I first went there about 15 years ago, off season, and fell in love with it. It has a peaceful but 'fizzy' lifestyle, and the people are open and friendly. I often go back there.

You worked for many years teaching English, didn't you? Yes, and I still do! I have worked for the British School for 25 years! 

When did your interest in acting begin? I started a theatre course with Vertigo director Marco Conte at the end of the 1990s.

What was your first acting role? I played the part of an unpleasant headmistress in an adaptation of Dario Niccodemi's La Maestrina.

Dressing Room at the Vertigo Theatre, original mirrors from the old Gran Guardia theatre in LivornoDressing Room at the Vertigo Theatre, original mirrors from the old Gran Guardia theatre in Livorno And what are you going to be appearing in next? Vertigo's next production [13-15th April 2012] is a comedy called "Il Buono, il Brutto e il Cretino", originally a film parody by Giovanni Grimaldi on Sergio Leone's 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'.

You recently made your singing debut in Vertigo's production of The Little Shop of Horrors. What's your favourite musical?
The Phantom of the Opera

And your favourite theatrical play? Noises Off by Michael Frayn, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in London last year. I also love anything by Charles Dickens. Aren't you going to ask me who my favourite actor is?!

Alright, who's your favourite actor?! Michael Caine, especially in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)! But my ideal man is definitely Gregory Peck!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I sometimes write poetry and short stories. Some of my poems have been published!

The Centro Culturale Vertigo is in Via del Pallone 2, Livorno. To find out about upcoming events and courses, consult their website  or the Livorno Now What's On guide.