“My Dear Fellow Inmates”: Interview with Monica Salvi, Performer and Creator of Mad Women in my Attic!
Sexy, energetic, and definitely manic, Mad Women in my Attic! is a must-see cabaret featuring Monica Salvi as a delusional diva trapped into all the mad roles of her career. After its debut in London’s Actor’s Church in 2014, the show traveled to Brighton’s Fringe Festival in 2015, followed by the Edinburgh Fringe in the same year, to the United Solo Festival in New York 2017, before finally returning to Edinburgh’s Riddle Court this year. The show has enjoyed very positive reviews in all settings in which it has been performed and even received the Best Cabaret Award from its New York festival appearance.
The performance captivates the audience with daring bouts of interaction and the poignant lyrics and musics of composers such as Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Maury Yeston, Tom Lehrer, Heisler & Goldrich, Emily Autumn, and others who gave such a strong voice to those compelling female characters whose sensitivity led them to be labelled “mad”. Accompanied by the musical talent of Jake Dorfman, and directed by Clare McKenna, the songs are strung together by an insanely-mesmerizing narrative, written by Salvi herself.
In an Interview with Italian Brew, Salvi stated that “what is said [in the show] is partially biographical” since, while searching for ideas for her one-woman show, she realized that throughout her career “[she] was always cast in the role of the crazy woman.” At the same time, she acknowledged that all of these characters often had songs that were “beautiful, mad, and quite peculiar.” This caused for a deeper study of character revealing a literature in which “the character of the mad woman is often tied to that of a person which is both deeply emotional and marginalized.” Differently than men, who are often characterized as having “a mad genius”, like Dr. Frankenstein, the woman is usually characterized by “crazy desperation” and by “a heightened version of their emotional state.”
Having studied both in Bologna and in London’s Royal Academy of Music, Salvi’s musical talent is apparent throughout the show. However, to the classical structure of cabaret, the artist keeps it very theatrical with creative costume changes, mood lights, fog and an overall visually-inspiring setting. When asked about the message of her performance, she said that “we all, to some degree, have a trigger for ‘madness’ within ourselves. The more we acknowledge it and allow our ‘emotional madness’ to come out in a healthy and creative way, the easier it is to recognise it in others, and build better relationships, not based on judgment, but on understanding. I want this show to inspire people to unleash their own streak of madness!”
written by Eleonora Calviello