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      Vittorio Rossi returns to Centaur Theatre

      Mar. 25, 2015

      Vittorio RossiMontreal playwright Vittorio Rossi has a new play at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal, and it might just ruffle a few feathers.

      The Envelope is set in a local Italian restaurant, where two producers jockey for the film rights to a new play premiering at an Old Montreal theatre. At the center is the playwright, torn between an L.A. indie filmmaker and a local producer dangling a tempting multi-million dollar public funds envelope.

      Rossi makes no apologies for his new satire.

      “People have asked me, are you sure you want to do this play, you’ll never get hired after this. No one is hiring me anymore anyway. The way I see it, if you don’t have a sense of humor, then you shouldn’t be a producer,” Rossi comments.

      “You have to be courageous enough to hold to your convictions, and that’s what I’m doing,” he continues.

      “Art, it’s all about taking a risk, especially from the producer’s side. What do you have? Producers playing it safe, banality, lack of quality. I went through what we call in the film industry development hell. I got to see how terribly wrong it is for the writer, the film, and eventually the actor. The way I see it, I’m not a 20-year old kid trying to make it anymore.”

      This time around, Rossi is also directing, something he hasn’t done since his first one-act play, Little Blood Brothers.

      “I really needed to direct this one. I wanted to have more control over the finished production,” Rossi explains.

      “Not that I plan to direct everything I write,” he muses.

      Rossi has nothing but praise for his cast, many of whom he has worked with before. The play stars Tony Calabretta, Shawn Campbell, Guido Cocomello, David Gow, Ron Lea, Leni Parker and Mélanie Sirois. Both Calabretta and Cocomello were in Rossi’s Paradise by the River. Cocomello and Rossi have also shared the Centaur stage as peers in recent seasons.

      The Envelope is the first new play from Rossi since A Carpenter’s Trilogy. The three plays – Hellfire Pass, Carmela’s Table and The Carpenter – were all presented at the Centaur Theatre over three seasons in 2006 and 2007.

      “The trilogy was written for obvious reasons that affected me, my mom and my dad passing away. What’s pissing me most right now is this, and this is what is on my mind. This is what I wanted to attack dramatically,” Rossi comments.

      The Envelope marks the tenth collaboration between Rossi and the Centaur. Rossi’s first collaboration with the theatre was as a playwright-in-residence in 1987. His first full-length play, The Chain, opened the Centaur’s twentieth season back in 1988.

      “This is a landmark moment for me, and it’s just as exciting as the first play. I love this business. I’m not nervous, maybe a bit of anxiety, but I stopped worrying about what I cannot control.”

      Writing The Envelope does not mean that Rossi has given up on the film business. As soon as the curtain comes down on opening night, Rossi will be back at the keyboard polishing a film script he hopes will one day make it to the big screen.

      The Envelope opens tomorrow (March 26) and runs until April 19, 2015 at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. For tickets, visit

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