Geppy Gleijeses: a true “Man and gentleman” tonight in Lamezia, tomorrow in Catanzaro for Ama Calabria


By John

«The best Neapolitan actor of his generation», a recognition of absolute value given by critics to Geppy Gleijeses, who in his career has demonstrated how great his love for theater is. Favorite pupil of Eduardo De Filippo, he began his career as a comedian, actor and director at a very young age, which currently makes him one of the leading figures of our theatre. In Lamezia Terme (tonight) and Catanzaro (tomorrow) – but also at the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Messina from 16 to 18 February – he will be the protagonist of one of the most beautiful works by De Filippo himself, «Uomo e galantuomo»about which he speaks enthusiastically.

What prompted you to stage this work?
«This is the seventh work by Eduardo that I have brought to the stage. “Uomo e Galantuomo” is the first real comedy written by Eduardo, in three acts, at the age of 22. I compare it to a Beethoven symphony because it is a small masterpiece. We performed it last year in Rome and Florence, achieving great success. In a RAI TG3 report it was said that “we laugh out loud”. It’s actually a very funny show, people laugh a lot in the first act and then it continues in the second and third. It is a great joy to stage it with my company made up of 11 actors.”

Is it true that you rejected Eduardo’s job offers several times?
«I told him no three times. Once to him, once to his son Luca and the last time to an actor from his company. The reason for this refusal was the firm will of my father, at the time a lawyer in the municipality and university professor, who wanted me to graduate in law.”

Eduardo is often described as a man with a “difficult” character.
«I don’t agree when I read that the press defines him as “the bad Eduardo”. I received only good things from him, infinite sweetness and a lot of respect. He believed in that young man who was carrying out a discussion on quality Neapolitan theatre, he trusted me. From that moment I became the youngest comedian in Italy.”

A role you have played since the beginning of your career.
«I have been a comedian for a long time, like Glauco Mauri and Umberto Orsini who, however, opened their own production company after having been actors and directors for many years. I, on the other hand, have been one since 1980 without ever having stopped my activity and hiring other directors. I was the one who brought Mario Monicelli to the theater for the first time. I did three shows with him. Afterwards I also brought Liliana Cavani to the theater with whom next year we will do another show together.”

In «Uomo e Galantuomo» Lorenzo is at your side, how difficult is it to work with your own son?
«I must say that I have a son who gives me a lot of satisfaction. He grew up with me and, at the age of 9, he was one of Liolà’s Cardelli. At a certain point he decided to go to Denmark to see Eugenio Barba, the greatest living researcher of experimental theatre. With him he learned other acting techniques with the use of the extraordinary body. After having enriched himself with these various experiences, he returned to Italy to do shows with me and for him I account for him.”