Gloria Onitiri talks about NAPOLI, BROOKLYN “It’s fast, drastic, fiery, joyful, explosive, poignant and uplifting!

Name: Gloria Onitiri
Name of show: Napoli, Brooklyn
Venue: Currently playing Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford then continuing to tour to Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Oxford Playhouse, followed by a limited 4-week run at Park Theatre London
Dates of run: Guildford 13-18 May, Eastbourne 27-31 May, Oxford 4-8 June, Park Theatre, London 13 June – 13 July.

Can you tell me about the show?
It’s a story, set in 1960, centred around the Muscolinos, an American/ Italian family living in Brooklyn. Where the 3 sisters are struggling to come of age in a new modern American world whilst dealing with extremely traditional values held by their immigrant parents.

What part do you play in the show and where does it fit in to the story?
I play Celia an American woman who works with and eventually befriends the eldest of the Muscolino sisters, Tina. She also has to deal with a terrible tragedy of her own in the play. Celia dreams of a brighter and more lucrative future for herself with her husband, Robert and encourages Tina to look inside herself and do the same. She represents to me strength, hope, resilience and resolve to fight for what her dreams are in spite of the obstacles and tragedies put before her.

What’s your favourite part of the whole show and why?
What we might call, the crash….if you come and see the show you’ll find out why…no spoilers…but it’s electric, arresting and quite beautiful….you HAVE to experience it!!

What has been a highlight of your career so far?
Oh…this is a no brainer!! Playing a young Grace Jones as part of Sky Art’s, ‘Urban Myth’s’ series. Such an icon. And a major challenge but ridiculous amounts of fun!!

Who are your biggest inspirations inside and outside of the industry?
Outside- I would say the incredible role models that are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michelle Obama, the late Maya Angelou and of course my Mum.

Inside- I would say I’m inspired by my contemporaries, older and younger, who are in the arts. It’s so brave to be standing up and exposing the inner corners of yourself to so many people on a daily basis. Sharing that stuff is not easy and I am always amazed and inspired by the artists that do it!! And of course, Grace Jones!!!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Ooooh, yoga, a 10 minute mantra and 15 min meditation, a banana and a cup of fennel tea! I have to!!!

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
Only one song? Hmmm…that’s hard…if I can only have one then it would have to be Sunshine by Floetry.

What’s so special about this production and why should audiences come to see it?
Meghan Kennedy has written a whopper of a play. It’s so intimate in its writing and design. The performances by this wonderful cast are simply a joy to behold. It’s fast, drastic, fiery, joyful, explosive, poignant and most importantly uplifting!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma


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