"I don’t know how Ms. Mansini does it. She brings us on a culinary journey that is funny, touching, wrenching and somehow delicious throughout.” Bob Tzudiker, writer (Newsies, Tarzan)
Santa Fe, NM (PRWEB) January 20, 2016
“You’re dealt a hand of cards when you’re born and it’s your job to figure out how to use them,” says Debrianna Mansini, the acclaimed Santa Fe actress. “I wanted the show to be about how I decided to play my hand. I play it with food. It’s who I am and what I do.”
Mansini is talking about her new one-woman show, The Meatball Chronicles, which she will mount at the Railyard Performance Center in May of 2016. The Meatball Chronicles follows Debrianna through a culinary journey of her childhood, her relationships with men, and in particular, her complicated relationship to her mother. As she kneads the dough and thickens the sauce through each Italian recipe, the stories associated with those recipes reveal the complex ways that families cope, laugh, grieve, and show their love through food.
“I’ve been thinking about doing a show where I cook for twenty years!” says Mansini. “Everything that happened to me that was momentous happened around a meal or something I was cooking.” Writing the show on and off for over a decade, the pieces came together under the guidance and direction of Tanya Taylor Rubinstein, followed by successful readings in Santa Fe and at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska.
Despite Mansini’s success as an actress, appearing off-Broadway in New York City and on camera in films such as Crazy Heart and The Burning Plain and TV shows like “Breaking Bad” and A&E’s “Longmire,” doing her own solo show is a big step. “Doing a solo show is a different experience because it really is me,” she says. “Now I’m stepping out into my own. Claiming my own space. It was a long road to get here.”
Mansini grew up in Connecticut and moved to New York City after a photographer suggested that she should model. “I was working as a waitress when he found me and then suddenly I was on the cover of a magazine that went out all over Connecticut! I put a portfolio together and I went to New York.”
While modeling in New York, she was encouraged by a manager (out-of-the-blue, again) to start acting. She began classes and never looked back. “It was one of those fortuitous life events,” she said. “Once I understood what it was about - that acting was a place I could use what has happened to me in a creative way. I knew that that was what I would do for the rest of my life.”
Early in her career, Mansini made the bold decision to move to Santa Fe. “Everyone was like ‘What about your career?’ And I said I’m an artist and I will be an artist wherever I am. I have never regretted giving myself a life and not chasing fame and fortune.” Over the years, as the film industry has changed in Santa Fe, Debrianna has seen ups and downs, but she’s always made it work, whether working in theater or creating her own. “When the film business had a lull in New Mexico I didn’t know how I was going to make a living here, but I didn’t want to leave,” she said. So she created and produced her own web series, Cyphers, instead. The series naturally had a food based storyline. The sci fi examines the corporate takeover of food and water.
One thing that has been a constant throughout Mansini’s life, no matter what she’s working on, is the importance of food. To make her web series, she said, “I was getting the cast together and I thought, I can’t really pay them much, but I’ll feed them. And people couldn’t wait to work for me because they could eat well!”
There is more eating to look forward to for Santa Feans this spring. The Meatball Chronicles is looking to partner with a restaurant to offer audience members a chance to try the recipes in the show. Mangia!
The Meatball Chronicles opens May 13th - 23rd in the Railyard Performance Center.