La Societa Italiana is a visceral, epic family saga that bursts through the confines of 20th Century Melbourne history and relinquishes it’s secrets to a new generation.  

La Societa Italiana It is the true story of Rina Codognotto and her family’s struggle with a world changed forever by war. Set in the family restaurant during WWII in the heart of Melbourne, La Societa Italiana speaks of how this immigrant Italian family deal with the shifting ground of a newly hostile city, the very culture that saved them from crushing poverty and oppression only decades before, now segregate, arrest and intern them. 

We travel with Rina through the stormy years of her coming of age as she is propelled into a position of unwelcomed responsibility, traversing not just the duties of family, but also the hostility of a culture hell-bent on keeping women in their place and out of positions of authority. She discovers that those she trusted as a child in fact come with devastating agenda’s as she grows into womanhood, and perhaps in the end, it is family that prove to be her greatest allies. 

We are very excited to present the reading of the highly anticipated mini-series La Societa Italiana written by Melbourne based playwright and actor Marita Wilcox and Dramaturged and Directed by Peta Hanrahan. Marita Wilcox returns to the theatres of Melbourne with a fresh perspective of life for Australian/ Italian women in the mid 20th Century, who’s story must be told now before that generation is lost forever.  

“This production (Behind The Play by Marita Wilcox) Is great fun. It is loud, fast, funny, energetic and raucous…’Behind The Play’ is a well constructed play with action aplenty and a good mixture of comedy and poignancy…”  -In-press Fiona Scott Norman.  

“This luminous, accessible production from Peta Hanrahan captures the beauty of Woolf’s prose and the complexity of her ideas.” A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – The Age Cameron Woodhead. ★ ★ ★ ★ 

LOCATION: La Mama Courthouse

Content warning: Simulated Rape Scene/ Stories of Rape/ Explicit language (Swearing in Italian). 

Written By: Marita Wilcox  

Dramaturged and Directed by: Peta Hanrahan  

Performed by a cast of Melbourne’s best Independent Theatre professionals. 

Cast: Marissa O’Reilly, Andrea Swifte, Roby Favretto, Helen Hopkins, Brianagh Curran, Carolyn Bock, Kevin Hopkins, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Lydia Sherren, Samantha Kennedy, Shannon Stevens, Lee Mason, Christian Taylor, James Singleton, Dominic Weintraub, Artemis Ioannides, Tom Pickering and Alex Andreas.

Photograph origin: Marita Wilcox 

Image Design: Peta Hanrahan  

Image software facilitation: Adrian Prosen & Karen Wilson.