Teresa Mannino: «For a lover I risked losing the part in a film. Clooney? Better Camilleri»

Shall we start with his monkey?
“Now I’m going to cry.”

“It’s one of the few things I’m ashamed of. I was 10 years old…”

«I was obsessed with primates, I watched all the documentaries, I still remember the Treccani page and me saying: this is me. So, in the fifth grade I asked for a monkey for the promotion».

And did they agree?
“They took me a monkey and I was disappointed, because I wanted a chimpanzee. I called her Gegè, she ran away the same day because of my brother: for weeks we saw her jumping from one branch to another in the Palermo countryside … ».

Thank god!
“It’s not over. I cried desperately and a week later Gegè 2 arrived. She was with us for a couple of years, in a gigantic aviary in the countryside, with two trees inside. She has been with us for two years. It was wonderful dealing with her. She then she ran away ».

Teresa Manninohe has a mountain of curls tumbling over his clean face. She looks ten years younger than his fifty-two. You just stopped rehearsing de The jaguar glares at methe new show that debuted in December at the Teatro Manzoni in Monza and which from 10 to 22 January he will take her to the Teatro Manzoni in Milan.

What is a wicked little girl like?
“I was bad. And very determined: I knew what I wanted. But I was laughing with the imitations of others: the obnoxious uncle, the neighbor, the professors. I always had the joke ready to strike someone down ».

Did she get it from her parents?
“They weren’t mean. From my mother I got the way of telling stories and the love for animals. From my father the joke and the ability to silence: he knew how to listen to others ».

Legend has it that he once slapped his mother.
“He said something very male chauvinist that I couldn’t accept. She was being scolded. I gave it to him the way you bang your fist on a table to reset everything. She was a very intelligent woman and she laughed under her mustache.’

And if your daughter Giuditta, who is 13, did it with her?
«Everything is possible: I make more mistakes. But we were three children, Giuditta is an only child, she has two fathers, two mothers, 14 grandparents, a very large family. She is less violent than me because she comes from a different Sicily. She also happens that she blurts out: what are you saying. She makes me think.”

What did she want to be when she grew up?
“I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor like my father: my brother and sister took care of that. I wanted to have children.”

He also worked as an electrician.
“Apprentice-electrician. It was a part-time job when I had already moved to Milan. I knew one who needed an assistant – it was just fetching bales of yarn, simple stuff. I’ve always had good manual skills, thanks to my mother, who, among other things, was a ceramist. In any case, it didn’t last long: on the building sites, rumors went away immediately, the bricklayers didn’t even speak to me because I was a woman, and not even an architect».

Worked on a plastic surgeon’s website.
«I had to increase the number of patients, but when they wrote I dissuaded them. But I selected the secretary: very good».

First time at the theater?
«At the Carcano in Milan, with the acting school. But I didn’t have great satisfactions: we were doing prose and it wasn’t the right thing for me. I hate bourgeois theatre, I don’t go to see it, it doesn’t interest me. I consider my real “première” at Colonne di San Lorenzo, when we improvised a play with some friends. When I tasted the laughter, I knew it was my home.”

Zelig was his comedy school.
“I spent many years having fun like crazy.”

Teresa Mannino with the Magician Forest

She also returned to us as a presenter, together with Magician Forest. Two Sicilians.
«We presented ten episodes. I have a special relationship with him. We are very Sicilian, yes, but atypical and different. We both have Madonite ancestry, but he’s not the one to bring us together. He is a generous person, attentive to others. He made me spend ten weeks laughing. I respect him very professionally.”

As in the case of the last «The jaguar looks at me wrong», she always writes her shows. Has the way changed?
«In the beginning I always went around with a pen and a sheet of paper, but the receipt was fine too. Maybe I’d notice someone on the bus, or someone shouting after the one slowly crossing the street, a little note was enough and then the monologue was born. It’s different now. Writing comes first of all from reading: essays on feminism, books on anthropology, novels less so. Then after two years of reading I return to the famous seed, usually something that made me angry, and from there the text flourishes. To say: at the beginning there were 83 pages of the Jaguar and now they are 28».

And what is the seed here?
“I have seen desire completely disappear from everyone’s eyes, after the pandemic”.

What do you want today?
«I have many desires, starting from finding out what makes my audience laugh about what I wrote. Then I want to be able to work in Sicily, but not with a show or with the stages of a tour. I would really like to do things in Sicily, with Sicilian women. And then I always want to see the sea».

She moved to Palermo for the lockdown, but she also has a home in Milan.
«Now my daughter is about to finish middle school, then let’s see what she decides to do. I often go back to Milan. The thing I love most about Milan are the Milanese, their rigor, professionalism, the industrious spirit with which I identify».

Coincidentally, as a child at home they called her «la milanese».
“Yes, because I was watching Quarks by Piero Angela».

What does it has to do with it?
“Tell that to my brother. At lunch I wanted to see Quarks, while he anything else. So he started calling me the Milanese: she was an offense, like calling me a bigot ».

Is he much older than her?
“Three years older. His name is Vincenzo, like all the boys in my family. My sister, on the other hand, is seven more: her name is Rosalia, she looks like the saint, how beautiful she is, she has long, blond, straight hair ».

And who did she get the hair from?
“From my father. Vincent, indeed.”

Did the first film excite you: «Love, lies & soccer»?
«Curiously both the first and the last at the moment, I and my brother, I shot them with the same director, Luca Lucini, who is adorable, understands comedy. In the first I only had three scenes where I had to make people laugh. In the last one I have a more important part, with very good actors, like Lunetta Savino. But we have more fun in the theater ».

Who are your favorite actors?
«Among the Italians, Silvio Orlando: he is very good in both drama and comedy. I love Meryl Streep and Anne Bancroft from American cinema».

Do you get excited when your family come to see you perform?
“Every time. Judith, in particular, is very protective. While I was writing the new show she got worried and she said to me: mom, people want you to laugh. Well, she also tells me I’m old … But she’s delicate at work and she’s afraid of hurting me ».

Accidents at the theater?
«At my debut I arrive very unprepared, by now it’s my habit. So if it goes wrong I can say it’s because I hadn’t studied. Unpreparedness, however, leaves room for improvisation, and makes me interact a lot with the public».

The best applause?
«Those in Palermo or Milan, because they are my cities. But when I happen to be abroad, I understand that there is something more than just a compliment: there is a sense of belonging, a bond with the homeland. After all, this thing of returning to Terra Madre does have a meaning. If you have a health problem they say you should eat some of the land where you were born. However, abroad you hear applause differently, they have another meaning».

She’s always skinny: do you like it or dislike it?
“I’ve always been strong. And my father used to say that you don’t die of thinness, you die of fatness. I like myself as I am, curly, disheveled and with a big nose».

What did he go crazy for?
«I do those only for love, but I will never tell them. I have to tell my daughter first. Already to love is madness…”

Tell us at least one.
«I risked losing a film for arriving late for the costume fitting, for an appointment with a lover. But you don’t reason there…”

Teresa Mannino with Andrea Camilleri
Teresa Mannino with Andrea Camilleri

Who is the character that excited you the most?
«I met George Clooney, Michael Bublé… But the only one who really moved me was Andrea Camilleri: culture and knowledge always make me a little moved and awed».

Today she is with Paolo, a film producer known on the set of the documentary film on Camilleri, “The master without rules”.
«When I fell in love with Paolo, I confided in him. A very strong relationship had been created, so I told him, making him understand that it would be a mess. And he answered me (and here Teresa Mannino imitates Camilleri’s speech, ed): “Do not question”. Since then he has become our mantra ».

January 8, 2023 (change January 8, 2023 | 07:20)


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Teresa Mannino: «For a lover I risked losing the part in a film. Clooney? Better Camilleri»

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