Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In a Word... Steve Galluccio (The St. Léonard Chronicles)

Ciao, Bello
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Steve Galluccio burst into the mainstream with Mambo Italiano, one of the most successful plays in Canadian theatre history. The play was turned into a movie, which became an international hit. His Gemini award winning tv series Ciao Bella, was followed by his second feature film Surviving My Mother which won the audience favourite award at the Montreal Film Festival. Galluccio’s third feature, the bilingual Funkytown grossed over 1.5 million dollars. Created at Centaur Theatre, In Piazza San Domenico, Galluccio’s ninth play was the number one comedy in Montreal in the fall of 2009. The St. Léonard Chronicles opens Centaur’s 45th Season.

CHARPO: So here we are again! Lordie, you and I have been doing this for about 25 years - are you getting tired yet?

GALLUCCIO: Tired? Are you kidding me? I'm just getting started.

CHARPO:  There's something I have to ask and it's about money: when I was in the game you could live off theatre royalties - can you still do that, if you're a beginner, I mean?

GALLUCCIO: If you write a huge hit, definitely. 

CHARPO:  Tell me about your relationship with Centaur - you once told me you never burn bridges - is this one result of that philosophy or do you just like the company and its bosses?

GALLUCCIO: I have a great relationship with Centaur. They are really cool, and I've been there a long time-- three years with Mambo, then there was Piazza, and now St Leo.

CHARPO: Tell our ROC readers about St. Leonard.
GALLUCCIO: St. Leonard is a neighbourhood in Montreal, at one time it was a separate city, which was built by Italians for Italians back in the 60s. A section of it was actually called Giardini D'italia, and Jean Talon street in that area is also known as Corso Italia. It is much bigger than little Italy and although many Italians are no longer living there, they still constitute the majority of the population.

CHARPO: What is the genesis of this show - Funkytown seemed to be an amazing departure for you and this, it seems, brings you back to your roots.

GALLUCCIO: Yeah Funkytown was a departure, as was Surviving My Mother. I like to try out different genres of writing to challenge myself. St Leo is also a departure: it's only 90 minutes long which I believe is a first for me. The genesis of this show? Difficult to say, I get an idea for a play and start writing it. If I continue writing it means I like it and I get to the end. But I did want to write a piece about Italian-Montrealers now, after writing Piazza which was a fairytale set in the 50s. This a sort of follow up to Mambo but with different characters and storylines. 

CHARPO:  I have read that you find second and third drafts hellish - why is this? Doubt?

GALLUCCIO: No I never doubt, I'm fearless when it comes to writing. It works, it works, it doesn't? Nothing much you can do about it. It also depends on the projects. In theatre the second and third drafts come easier. In cinema they are more difficult because a) there's a camera which does a lot of the storytelling and b) the different drafts stem from notes given by a whole slew of people involved in the project.

CHARPO: You must be thrilled with the advance sales for the production! What is selling all those tickets, do you think?

GALLUCCIO: I am thrilled and I have no clue why they are selling this well.  Maybe it's because I've been around for so long? I met with a director the other day who told me: your longevity in this business is quite remarkable. I felt like Madonna. And an old relic.

CHARPO:  Finally, tell us about some of the other balls you are juggling.

GALLUCCIO: I am working on two screenplays, one by myself, another I am co-writing with the director of Funkytown (and Louis Cyr) but I don't like to talk about them  because it seems that whenever I talk about a project I am working on, I jinx it. 

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