A serious comedy inspired by the tumultuous life of Eleonora Duse and her poet-lover Gabriele D’Annunzio.


Thursday January 25th

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Saturday February 24th

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IMPERFECT LOVE is a story of love and betrayal, set just over 100 years ago, between the actress Eleonora Della Rosa, and her playwright lover Gabriele Torrisi. (Inspired by the real-life relationship between the great Eleanora Duse and the poet D’Annunzio). It’s a story set at the turning of an epoch, and the turning of two styles of theater: the more visceral and emotional style that Eleonora and Torrisi are exemplars of, and the ‘new’ psychological style epitomized by Nordic writers like Ibsen and Strindberg. Our characters Eleonora and Torrisi are both vulnerable and aware that their day may have passed, and along with it, their love. Should Torrisi abandon Eleonora and strike out for a collaboration with her arch-rival, the Parisian Sarah Bernhardt? Should Eleonora withdraw her support (and love?) from the possibly outmoded Torrisi and try to work with up-and-coming Ibsen? In the middle of all this is the classically trained leading-man Domenica, who doesn’t know which way to turn in his professional life, or in the tangled world of his emotional allegiances. One other delight of the play is how the traditional clowns Beppo and Marco not only comment on the action in a comical and human way, but how they themselves also embody the conflicting epochs – the rambunctious farce of the Commedia dell’Arte, set against a premonition, a whiff of the bold futurism of a Beckett or a Pirandello, a modernism that will eventually make all earlier styles redundant. In the end, matters of theater and matters of the heart come together in a climax both affirming and bitter-sweet. The play’s the thing. At least, until the curtain falls.


Cristina  Spina
- Eleonora Della Rosa -

Cristina Spina’s off-Broadway credits include Texts&beheadings / ElizabethR by Karin Coonrod (Bam Next Wave / Folger Theatre) The Threepenny Opera directed by Martha Clarke (Atlantic Theater Company) and Kaos by Frank Pugliese, directed by Martha Clarke (New York Theatre Workshop). Credits in Italy include War, Bizzarra, The Brothers Karamazov, An Inspector Calls, My Name is Rachel Corrie, The Trojan Women, Orestes, The Holiday Trilogy, Orgy, Il Candelaio, That Terrible Mess in Via Merulana, The Wedding, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, and Measure for Measure. Film appearances include La Via Degli Angeli, Cuore Altrove, Hecuba, The Italian Race, Father. She received the Premio Stampa Teatro award for best actress in 2006. In 2016 she directed her first short film So Be It. The film went on to win first prize at the RIFF Rome Independent Film Festival and at the Smita Patil Film Festival in Pune, India.

Rodrigo Lopresti
- Gabriele  Torrisi -

Rodrigo Lopresti is an award-winning Actor, Director, Musician, & New York Filmmaker. Theatre: Stephen Hancock’s 4am Redmond & Meda, Force Majeure (InViolet Rep), Untying Love, The Ninth Circle. Just wrapped shooting THE MAN IN THE WOODS directed by Noah Buschel and stars in Miguel Ortega’s Multi-Award Winning Film THE NINGYO. Past Film: Women Who Kill, A Song Still Inside, 4am Redmond & Meda (Winner Best Short LAAFF), I’m Not Me wrote/directed (Winner Zero Film Fest/Audience Choice Award & Grand Jury Prize), You're Gonna Feel Funny After written by Noah Buschel, Gus Van Sant's Last Days, The Imperialists Are Still Alive, Tom DiCillo's Delirious, The Missing Person. TV: Heart Brakers stars/directs, Castle Rock, The Sinner, Vinyl, Blindspot, Blue Bloods, Pan Am, The Black Donnellys.

Aidan Redmond
- Domenica  -

Aidan Redmond is originally from Ireland. Favorite roles include Dr. McSharry in “The Cripple of Inishmaan” at the Cort Theatre on Broadway, Laius/Laurence/Langos in Sam Shepard’s last play, “A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)” with Signature Theatre Company, and an ongoing exploration of the works of Teresa Deevy with The Mint Theatre Company including ‘Wife To James Whelan”, "Temporal Powers” and “The Suitcase Under The Bed”. Also Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” with Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken. Film and television work include, “’79 Parts”, “Daylight”, “I Sell The Dead”, and the popular Netflix show, “Daredevil”.

Ed Malone
- Marco -

Ed Malone is a playwright, director, actor, clown and buffoon who was born and raised in Cork City, Ireland. He graduated from L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq and the celebrated clown school of Phillppe Gaulier in Paris, before moving to New York in 2007.  He is also a Member of the Dramatists Guild.  He has appeared in at the Irish Repertory Theater in New York, the Theater For A New Audience, and has given several solo performances at Stage Left. His solo play ‘The Three Irish Widows Versus The Rest of the World’ received three sell–out runs in New York City in 2010. For television, Mr. Malone recently co-starred in Lipstick Jungle on NBC.

David O’Hara
- Beppo -

David O'Hara played the role of Jerry Devine in the Irish Repertory Theatres critically acclaimed production of Juno and the Paycock. He trained at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City with the tutelage of David Mamet and Giancarlo Esposito et al.

Brandon Cole
- writer -

Brandon Cole is an established playwright and director. Born in Chicago and raised in New York, he co-wrote the Cannes Camera d’Or winner ‘Mac’ with John Turturro. He has written a dozen theatrical productions which have been performed worldwide, including ‘Nothing Works’; as well as the feature films ‘OK Garage’, ‘Divine Mercy’ and ‘Pete Smalls is Dead’.

Michael Di Jiacomo
- director -

Michael Di Jiacomo is a director and writer living in New York City. He started his career working with MacArthur Genius Award winning dance theater and opera director Martha Clarke. His first feature film, Animals, starred Tim Roth, John Turturro, & Rod Steiger. His second feature, Somewhere Tonight, starring John Turturro, premiered at Karlovy Vary and won awards in Europe and the US. In fall 2015 his play, The Man Who Isn't There, had a critically acclaimed four month run in Holland and starred Johanna ter Steege.

Gianni  Quaranta
- sets & costumes -

With what was his third Academy Award nomination, Gianni Quaranta won the Oscar for Production Designer for the film A Room with a View, by James Ivory, and has enjoyed a long and esteemed career as a director, production designer, set designer, costume designer and creative designer in the worlds of cinema and theatre – lyrical, prose and ballets – in advertising and creative project development for various artistic exhibitions.

Highly regarded in both Europe and America, great theatrical and performing artists such as Carla Fracci, Alessandra Ferri, Luciana Savignano, Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Viktorovich Vasiliev, James Urbain, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Roberto Bolle, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Josè Cura, Marcello Giordani, Eva Marton, Giulia Gertzeva, Teresa Stratas, Barbara De Maio, Daniela Dessi have danced or sung on sets designed by him or have been directed by him or dressed in his costumes.

He also has great achievements in cinema. Among some of the movies where he has worked as production designer are Tempest by Paul Mazursky, Brother Sun, Sister Moon and Jesus of Nazareth both by Franco Zeffirelli, with whom he has worked for about 17 years on nearly all his movies and theatrical productions; 1900 by Bernardo Bertolucci, Dancers by Herbert Ross, Farinelli by Gerard Corbiau, The Comfort of Strangers by Paul Schrader, Marquise by Vera Belmont, The Legend of the Holy Drinker by Ermanno Olmi, and many others.

He has received many international awards, among the most important, besides the Oscar, two Baftas (British Academy Award), the César (French academy award), three Nastro D’Argento (Italian Award of Excellence), the Prix d’Honneur (at the Berlin International Festival), the Italian Association of Critics Award, and others.

He has greatly contributed to improving the international reputation of the arts, a fact that has been recognized in his receiving the title of Commander of Italian Republic.

Dorota Czerner
- dramaturge, producer -

Dorota Czerner is a Polish born poet-performer and writer, educated at la Sorbonne, in Paris. For the past decade she has been the editor of the contemporary music and art theory magazine Open Space, and has collaborated with classical composers and filmmakers to create settings for her written and spoken words. In 2017 Dorota premiered her full-length poetic/orchestral work Fireflies at the National Opera Center on 7th Avenue in New York City.


In 1984 after working Off-Off Broadway for some five years, often with two friends of mine, John Turturro and Michael Badalucco, eighteen lines of dialogue came to me. These are the same opening lines more or less that are in this much-revised version of the play that exists today. It has taken more than thirty years to bring “ImpLove” to a finish and I suppose it's fair to ask, “Why?” One explanation is that to do justice to the source material I needed to become an adult, a life-process that took me more than fifty years of living and studying.

“ImpLove” is a serious romantic comedy loosely based on the life and work of the extraordinary late nineteenth century Italian actress, Eleonora Duse, and her nine-year love affair and sometime tumultuous working relationship with the poet and playwright, Gabriele D'Annunzio.

So some of these many years were devoted to research, to reading Duse biographies and familiarizing myself with the period, and for absorbing the enormous appreciations for this extraordinary woman from her influential contemporaries, Luigi Pirandello, George Bernard Shaw, Konstantin Stanislavsky, Rainer Maria Rilke, Isadora Duncan, and Eva Le Gallienne, to name a few of the most prominent. And, beginning in 1992, for studying Italian.

Along the many-years way, there were readings, there were workshops, there were meetings here in New York City and also in Rome, and some years I thought we might be close to a full production. But the first staged-production was in 2000 and it didn't do justice to the play, I was very much convinced. So I put the play down then as troublesome but kept pursuing another production whenever I saw the smallest opportunity.

During the next ten years, surprisingly enough, I'd get an email from some one in Ohio, in Berlin, in Paris, asking about the play that the film “Illuminata” is based on so I'd send off the manuscript. The folks in Berlin put up a production and paid me 400 euros, and the fellow in Paris began a French translation. And I began to think that if these folks were interested in the play I should take another look at it. So in 2016 I shut myself up in my study for a few months and I revised a play I had very much believed I had finished. Luckily, I was wrong to think so and this months of work led to the finally finished manuscript.

—Brandon Cole


‘The tightrope between love and ambition is delineated with passion, charm, and wit in this retelling of the story of the great Italian actress Eleonora Duse and her playwright lover Gabriele D’Annunzio (here called Gabriele Torrisi), written and directed by Brandon Cole. Cole also co-wrote Last year’s movie “Illuminata,” which explored the same territory on a larger canvas; as a miniature, in which every detail counts, every aspect of this drama—from the sumptuous costumes to the perfectly turned lines to the splendid acting—is just right.’

The New Yorker, March 2000

Original poster from the March 2000 production at The Ryan Stage at New York Performance Works.
1998 feature film adaptation by John Turturro.



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