Gianmarco Tognazzi remembers Bruno Armando as an ‘honest ghost’

At the Sala Umberto in Rome with Renato Marchetti, Fausto Sciarappa and on video the missing friend-colleague, with dramaturgy and direction by Edoardo Erba

Remembering – in the text, on stage, in memory and in life, simultaneously – a friend and a colleague, the pivot of an actor’s partnership: this is the purpose, achieved thanks to the dramaturgy of Edward GrassOf Gianmarco Tognazzi with Renato Marchetti and Fausto Sciarappa, on stage until Sunday at Umberto Room in Rome with ‘The Honest Ghost’who on video has the authentic likeness of Bruno Armando, the involuntary protagonist of this work who, in addition to thrilling the audience at the ‘première’, also visibly moved the three actors on stage.

The story revolves around this group of four actor-friends and the sudden and tragic death of one of them, Bruno Armando in the true story whose fictional name becomes anagrammatically Nobru. One of the three, played by Tognazzi, has made a rapid career in cinema and is contacted by the other two, less fortunate, to return to acting in the theater. He opposes so as not to betray the memory of the deceased, but to reform the ‘quartet’ with Nobru even after his death one could still think of ‘entrusting’ him with the role of the ghost in ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet… But how to convince the recalcitrant friend-star who declares after the death of his colleague that he is definitively done with the theater?

“Friendship is a feeling that requires modesty, like love. And certain texts are written just so as not to have to speak – he underlines Edward Grass in his director’s notes – Love burns everything and immediately, friendship cooks on a slow fire, sometimes very slow. But the ingredients are the same: happy moments, a sense of possession, misunderstandings, jealousies, estrangements, quarrels and reconciliations, betrayals. Everything more hidden, more easily hidden. I wanted to tell this complexity, which a definitive absence makes alive and painful”.

Furthermore, continues Erba, “I also wanted to put a few words of William Shakespeare in one of my texts, take me this honor. Measuring the distance between those immortal verses and my ‘stammers’ but putting them together on a sheet, thus immodestly stating that I shared the same profession with him… I chose ‘Hamlet’ which, in essence was a story of a revenge or rather the poetic analysis of the feelings of an avenger. The honest ghost of the title is an absence and as such takes revenge for the betrayals of his three friends, forcing them into a painful confession; but at the same time it reveals itself to be the essence of the feeling that bound them and that will bind them for life”.

(Of Enzo Bonaiuto)