note: entire contents copyright 2015 by Sheila Barth
Our weather is frigid, but Bostonians delivered a warm, rousing reception to beautiful glamour star Isabella Rossellini last Friday night, when she performed her one-woman show, “Green Porno,Live on Stage,” at Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre.
If you missed her scheduled Feb. 13-15 performances at the 221 Tremont St. venue, don’t be discouraged. You have one more opportunity to see Rossellini’s fun, factual 70-minute, multimedia presentation on sexual diversity among God’s creatures, great and small, from sky to sea, and species in-between.
Because of Sunday’s blizzard, Rossellini’s final performance was postponed to Saturday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m.
Between you and me, Rossellini could be selling blah wallpaper and still keep audiences rapt. Wearing a long-sleeve, full-length black dress, accented by a multi-rope pearl necklace, Rossellini is mesmerizing, her easygoing charm and lilting, European accent enchanting.
To get audiences in the mood, ushers encouraged theatergoers to take (and wear) animal masks, noses, snouts, antennae and other comical animal accoutrements.
Although she’s discussing a serious subject - the sex life of multitudinous living creatures - Rossellini’s underlying message is a celebration of diversity. Her narrative isn’t strictly biologic, scientific, sociologic, or historic. It’s laced with mischievous humor, accompanied by cartoon-style videos depicting her in the form of the creatures she’s discussing. She also demonstrates their wooing, mating and sex acts. She also changes genders, shedding her long dress for black slacks and a mustache. Later, she dons a full-size hamster costume.
While discussing their sexual idiosyncrasies, she transforms on screen into a snail, a starfish, toad, salmon, seal, dragonfly, spider, bird, worm, cuttlefish, duck, gorilla, octopus, dolphin, and more. Rossellini wrote the text with internationally-renowned writer, Jean-Claude Carriere. Her 2013 worldwide premiere with Printemps des Comediens in Montpellier, France, garnered an appreciative audience. She is currently touring internationally.
Rossellini has acted in several films and on TV. Born in Rome, she grew up there and in Paris. When she was 19, she came to New York to attend college,and remained here.
Her beautiful face rivals her mother’s, Swedish iconic Academy Award winner, Ingrid Bergman, For many years, Rossellini, (whose father was renowned Italian director Roberto Rossellini), has been the international beauty representative of Lancome cosmetics.
She barely touches on her childhood and youth, but focuses on her fascination with and love of animals. Standing at a speaker’s podium, she uses rudimentary props at times, then unceremoniously tosses them to the floor, leaving a heap around her.
“Do animals feel the way we do?” she asks. While animals, insects, fish and birds have a wide spectrum of asexuality, bi-sexuality, homo- and heterosexuality, human sexual behaviorists throughout the ages and in various cultures disagree on what’s acceptable. Diversity. Are we so different? she asks.
In a post-show Q&A, ArtsEmerson Artistic Director David Dower admitted Rossellini’s international fame is the primary drawing card to “Green Porno, Live on Stage”. Audiences are eager to see her in person.They’re also surprised and enchanted with her well-researched show, which actor Robert Redford encouraged her to pursue. In fact, she adapted this stage version,(translated in English by Julia Groopman), from her Sundance Channel series.
Dower said he was thrilled with the audience’s multi-pronged reaction and various views on “Green Porno”. Rossellini’s goal is to get people talking, thinking, reacting, and interacting on diversity. Obviously it works.
So if you missed her performance and regret it, don’t fret. You may still order tickets ($25-$89) for her final performance, and last Sunday ticketholders can swap theirs by calling the Box Office at 617-824-8400 or e-mailing email@example.com.