Legacy depicts sorrows
and joys common to us all
Vittorio Rossi’s new play marks a dynamic return to live theatre at Leonardo Da Vinci Centre
By Byron Toben
June 22, 2022
One might compare the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre in St-Leonard as an Italian equivalent to the Jewish-oriented Segal Centre in the Snowden district. They both offer fitness, arts and crafts, and theatre and music events to their core communities as well as to others. Both have beautiful main stages – the Adams at the Segal and the Saputo at the Da Vinci.
So it was a pleasure to visit the Da Vinci in early June to view Vittorio Rossi’s new play, Legacy. This is the second in a series of Rossi plays to be presented by Barry F. Lorenzetti over the next while. Mr. Rossi, an actor as well as a playwright, was first promoted by the founder and director of the Centaur Theatre, Maurice Podbrey.
Legacy deals with the same Testa family thirty years later. But it is not a mere sequel…. it asks many questions beyond their family drama – corruption and collusion in business, racial profiling, and the recklessness of social media.
The first of these Rossi mostly retrospective plays, The Chain, was performed on the McGill University front lawn in 2019. Legacy was delayed due to COVID-19. You can read my Westmount Magazine review The Chain just as impressive thirty years later.
Legacy deals with the same Testa family thirty years later. But it is not a mere sequel. As laid out in director Harry Standjofski’s notes, it asks many questions beyond their family drama – corruption and collusion in business, racial profiling, and the recklessness of social media.
The eight actors are headed by Rossi himself as Joe Testa and Mark Camacho as brother Massimo Testa, with Testa females Nella (Lisa Palmieri) and Lisa (Sara Scarfo). Associate Enzo Scuro (Adam Recine) is matched with females Anna (Toni Ellwand) and Rina (Alarey Alsip). Non-Italian advisor Michael Simpson is Paul Van Dyck. All eight seem well cast – contemplative, pensive, furious, and light-hearted – as the script dictates.
The script reminds me a tad of the manner of the late great Clifford Odets, successor to Eugene O’Neil and predecessor of Arthur Miller, dealing with, in his case, the immigrant Jewish community and using everyday language to enhance the character-driven aspects of the plot.
As director Standjofski comments, the story of an Italian-Canadian family is not only about that community, but “the sorrows and joys common to us all.”
Vittorio Rossi’s Legacy plays at Leonardo Da Vinci Centre until June 26.
Images: Nicolas Bondi
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.