I had the privilege to interview Italian actress Francesca Ravera. She has a medical background, but her real passion has always been acting. She has a knack for European accents, especially Russian, French, and—of course—Italian. She’s also been featured in live theatre, film, TV, and commercials. Her goal is to keep sharing her work and inspiring others to do the same. Read the following interview to find out more!
Tell us about yourself and how you got into acting.
Since I was a child, I’ve always been drawn to acting. I used to watch films over and over again, memorizing countless monologues and scenes. I then fell in love with theater, too. I wanted to perform, and I would call my friends and organize performances and shows with them. Eventually, I signed myself up for a number of acting classes. A self-realizing moment occurred when I performed in Hecuba; I was able to see how I could make an impact on audiences in such an emotionally-charged role. After the show, a friend in the audience told me she was moved by my portrayal of such a heartbroken yet ultimately fierce queen, and seeing her reaction helped me understand the stirring and inspiring relationship between the actor and the audience member. Yet when the time came to choose a career trajectory, I opted for a decision considered more “stable” than acting. Even though I wanted to keep performing, I ended up enrolling in and graduating from dental school.
However, upon graduation, I realized that I didn’t have to give up on my dreams and thus live an unhappy adult life due to familial expectations and societal standards. By way of honest conversations with myself and a tremendous amount of hard work, I left my dental practice in Italy and moved to America, where I currently live. I chose NYC specifically because I wanted to immerse myself in its storied artists’ scene. In particular, I wanted to deepen my training at some of the world’s most renowned acting academies (I studied at The Neighborhood Playhouse and graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute). I wanted to focus on tuning my acting instruments—my voice, my body, my heart—and become the best version of myself as both a person and a performer. At the time, I didn’t expect to get so many job offers right off the bat! One of the projects I am most grateful for is Ulysses: a Dark Odyssey, a feature film produced and shot in Italy with an international cast, including Danny Glover and Udo Kier. Set in 2023 and inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, this film tells the story of a veteran named Ulysses returning from war. My role was Scilla, one of the antagonists who disrupt the hero’s homecoming journey. I was also cast as the eponymous lead in Claire, a short film about the aftermath of a failed relationship
There have been so many projects since then to mention them all! What is your most recent work?
This year, I starred in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By. I play the role of Beth, a young woman who has a one-night stand with Doug. Their relationship starts off awkwardly but eventually becomes mutually vulnerable in the most unexpected of ways. had a run earlier this year at the off-Broadway Urban Stages Theatre. The show was very successful and well-received by both critics and audiences, eventually earning us a tour in Europe—Italy, actually! For me, this was yet another dream come true—and an unexpected one.
Weeks later, I was cast as the lead in Espresso, a play by Lucia Frangione. We had some staged readings in NYC, and a full production is slated for 2020. I am super excited about this show’s future in particular—it is an astonishingly beautiful play!
What is the story about?
It is loosely based on the playwright’s life, and it tells the story of a multigenerational Italian-Canadian family. The story is narrated by Rosa, a single woman in her early thirties. As she narrates a trying period in the family’s collective life, she also embodies the three protagonists of the story, a Holy Trinity if you will: one as herself, one as her father’s firecracker second wife Cinzella, and one as her traditional grandmother and namesake Nonna. I actually played all three of these roles, even as the women meet and interact with one another. The other actor in the production, Jesse Koehler, played the role of Amante, a personification of both Love and the Christian God.
Any new projects coming up?
I’ve just finished shooting Greencard, a short film by Anna Maria Alaimo, and a short family drama directed by Tamara Hansen called Windows to Nowhere. Both are slated for a 2020 release.
There are several projects I have lined up—but I can’t discuss them just yet, so stay tuned!