You are cordially invited to a reading from A Different Telling, a one-act play by Leisa Whyte, with local actors Sebastian Bertoli and Georgia Whyte, live music by Alison Davey, at Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton on Tuesday 1 September, 6.30pm (free event but booking essential). About the play: as we grow older, many of us have a desire to know more about our heritage: it helps us define who we are and to make sense of the way we interact with others. Mia, a young university student is deliberating how to tackle her latest assignment on identity. Thinking and questioning out loud, she realises that the voice answering from behind the local bar where she is ‘studying’ is actually that of her great-great-grandfather, Giacomo Rossi, a 19th century Italian immigrant. Initially thinking she must be dreaming, Mia plays along with her imagination, only to find the ‘voice’ is starting to reveal a story she has never known about her ancestors and their journey to a new life in Australia. As the play develops, Giacomo becomes so real to Mia she can almost reach out and touch him: she feels his pain as he talks of the tragedies that befell his family and their resilience despite it all. She is beginning to piece together her story, character by character: to understand more fully her own identity. Or has it, in fact, been just a dream… A Different Telling, Leisa’s first play for adults, first produced with an Arts and Culture grant from the City of Wodonga. After its premiere season at the Jazz Basement in Wodonga, the play was shown in Myrtleford; readings from the play were held in Parma (Italy) and now in Melbourne. Leisa is the great-granddaughter of Salvatore Longobardi who left Naples at the age of 15 with only his brother and a suitcase to create a new life in Australia. The protagonist of “A Different Telling”, Giacomo Rossi, was inspired by Salvatore’s life. Leisa assures us and her relatives that she has embellished the story considerably!
Leisa is an emerging playwright currently pursuing her love of writing and enjoying the rewards and challenges that come with it. “A Different Telling”, was sold out during its premiere season in 2014 at the Jazz Basement in Wodonga; “Alessandro’s Story – a monologue” (2015) was created responding to that success. Leisa is currently creating a play, “Turning Point,” to coincide with the ANZAC commemorations 2014-18. This work is based on the real life experiences of Aboriginal ANZACs and their families who reside in Albury Wodonga.