Much like the rest of us, I had never heard of a ‘Ponzi scheme’ until I heard it applied to Bernie Madoff in the news. Thanks to the solo play “Charles Ponzi – A Dollar and a Scheme” written and performed by Alessio Bordoni I learned that AKA Charles Ponzi was originally Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi. Coincidentally, Charles Ponzi and playwright Alessio are Italian immigrants to America. What better venue to be enlightened with the latter pursuing his dream as an actor and not in pursuit of greed.
The play is part of the United Solo Theatre Festival, now in it’s 4th year and the world’s largest featuring solo performances. This year spans 120 productions from 6 continents and 23 countries. By solo I mean single performer. One might think of a monologue but the festival roams the range from comedic to musical among the productions.
Within 70 minutes Alessio squishes seamlessly Ponzi’s character throughout most of his life and transitions into others, narrowing down the few short months of which I now know to be a Ponzi scheme.
Of course, such a festival requires volumes of people behind the scenes to make it happen at all. One of which is Alessio’s American born wife India Evans, an artist, whom appropriately collages and captures Ponzi’s glee of greed.
What I enjoyed most about the festival is being reminded that theatre is accessible and can be affordable. Not often is it financially permissive/possible for an average New Yorker or tourist on a budget to see a large Broadway production. There is still hope for us all. Consider Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” – ‘If you can make it here you can make it anywhere.’
Charles Ponzi’s scheme ran out of Boston. The United Solo festival is in NYC and taking place at 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan through November 23rd. Performances also run in many other cities and countries across the globe, so be sure to check the schedule.
I encourage everybody to get out and reap the rewards of the talent that just might live next door.
This is a guest post written by Anne Edris.