Alfonso Veneroso is a Sicilian actor. He loves the theater, played in some famous venues such as the Globe Theater in Rome, the Teatro Biondo in Palermo and the famous Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. We saw him on TV but also alongside Mimmo Cuticchio to tell Dante’s Inferno through the magic of Sicilian puppets. Sicilian Secrets interviewed him.
Q: How has your career as an actor begun?
A: I was lucky enough to fall in love with classical studies during the years at high school, with the idea that the words of those poems could make my voice sound as well as my heart. On stage this is what made me passionate about the theater and led me to study it. I took the first steps of my theatrical training in Palermo, with Michele Perriera at Teatès, at Teatro Biondo, with Mimmo Cuticchio and the Orestiadi in Gibellina. Then, when I was 24 years old, I had the opportunity to attend the school of the Teatro Stabile di Torino, directed by Luca Ronconi. I was completing law degree, but after realizing it was something I didn’t like, I did an audition and passed it. So, I left Sicily. There I had the chance to learn the real tools of this job and studied with some great teachers such as Franca Nuti, Marisa Fabbri and Mauro Avogadro.
Q: Theater or TV? In Alfonso Veneroso’s curriculum there are many excellent shows…
A: My love is theater, I did something on television being part of the cast of some famous TV series such as ‘Squadra antimafia’, ‘Il giovane Montalbano’, ‘Catturandi’ and ‘Don Matteo’. What pushed me on this path is not just the simple need to perform, but it was the love for the speech, the need to navigate between wonderful texts about human beings and in this field, for all actors the theater is the ‘mother’ of everything. I would like to do cinema, it attracts me, I study, I keep myself updated and wait for a good opportunity.
Q: Is there any show that is always on your mind?
A: I certainly remember with joy the show ‘Medea’ directed by my teacher, Luca Ronconi, in which I played Jason. Then there is ‘The Leopard’ at Teatro Stabile in Turin where I played the role of Prince Fabrizio, directed by Andre Battistini. I still remember Aristophanes’ ‘Plutos’, that was the first direction of the great actor Massimo Popolizio in I had the role of Cremilo, the protagonist; two shows at the Globe Theater in Rome, the one of the unforgettable Gigi Proietti in which I played William Shakespeare, and finally my ‘Cicerone e i siciliani contro Verre’, that I am performing around Italy. It tells about an extraordinary battle for justice fought for the dignity of our island, it is the largest corruption trial of ancient times that made Cicero the first lawyer in Rome and involved 60 cities in Sicily. A text that I wrote and interpreted by myself, this is a 75-minute marathon…simply breathtaking.
Q: What is your bond with Sicily and how much does your being Sicilian contribute to your work?
A: Sicily is a kind of trademark that you can’t tear yourself off. For those who, like me, live far away, our land is a constant and daily thought. It is like African bug: we look at it as a generous and rich mother, some other times as a stingy stepmother with her children, but always present. I believe that Sicily is a stimulating place for sensitivity, humanity and intellect of people, especially in the first 20 years of our life, when we develop our mindset and emotions. In any case, we must not make the mistake to think we are ‘Gods’, we Sicilians have great skills, but we must know how to learn from other cultures. The strengths and weaknesses of Sicily are in some way also those of Alfonso Veneroso and therefore fully contribute to my work.
Q: Alfonso Veneroso and Mimmo Cuticchio, this is the brilliant collaboration for ‘Sulle vie dell’Inferno’. What can you tell us about this experience?
A: I have been collaborating with Mimmo Cuticchio since I was 24, I was fascinated by his cunto and even by his imaginative world between puppets and theater. Mimmo is a sort of older brother and we met again after thirty years, when in 2020 he asked me to participate in the show ‘Adventurous journey through stories, myths and legends’. He knows how much I am in love with poetry, in particular with the ancient one and with Dante, for this reason, with him and his wife Elisabetta Puleo, we worked on the drafting of the texts taken from Dante’s Inferno in this intense show, in which the Mimmo’s unstoppable creativity wanted to combine cinema, theater and music. The puppets are the centerpiece, the real actors of a film shot thanks to the splendid images created by the genius of Daniele Ciprì. The music was composed by his son Giacomo, very intense and engaging. Chiara Andrich shot the settings in the nine Sicilian provinces. The show was welcomed with three days of sold out at the Santa Cecilia theater in Palermo and with a room full of people even in Rome in the Petrassi room of the Auditorium Parco della Musica.
Q: Is there any Sicilian theater in which you would like to act? And what character or role would you like to play?
A: I have acted in all the main Sicilian theaters, except at the Greek Theater in Syracuse. I had several opportunities to go, but I didn’t feel involved with the characters that they proposed me. If I happen to act in that magnificent place, I think it will be another great experience for me.
Q: What are your future projects?
A: I don’t really like talking about future projects, I am a little bit superstitious! I prefer to talk about the last things I did, one of these is my show ‘Achilles and Hector-The death of the hero’ with the subheading Wars that I performed at the Greek-Roman theater in Catania for the Amenanos Festival last September. I spent an hour with the audience and with all the emotions discovered in those words that had set my soul on fire when I was a teenager and that now, I am 54, flowed inside me in that Greek theater where in the end the audience was there, standing for me.