Italian Cultural Institute
39 Belgrave Square,
15 January 2001
a century ago, the Marchesa Luisa Casati decided to achieve
one goal, to become a living work of art. She succeeded
beyond her wildest dreams. In a quest for immortality, Casati
had herself painted, sculpted, photographed and dressed by some
of the twentieth century's most important artists. To celebrate
the official British publication of Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati, the first
full-length biography of Luisa Casati, the Italian Cultural
Institute in London staged Infinite Variety: Portrait
of a Muse.
British actress Elizabeth Shepherd gave the U.K. premiere
of this original dramatic one-woman presentation written by
the authors of Infinite Variety, Scot D. Ryersson
and Michael Orlando Yaccarino. Through unforgettable first-hand
accounts by those who knew her, Luisa Casati's singular
life and captivating artistic legacy were explored. A leading
actress of the West End, Broadway and the Stratford and Shaw
Festivals, Elizabeth Shepherd appears frequently in film,
television and on stage.
(left) and Ryersson (right)
with Ms Shepherd.
premiere of Infinite Variety: Portrait of a Muse
was enjoyed by a full-capacity audience, several members of
which travelled from France; Austria; Spain; North America,
including Mexico; and throughout England to be part of this special night.
Among them were those who had actually known Casati, most
notably, the late Lady Moorea Black, the Marchesa's granddaughter
and only living direct descendant. Following a tremendous ovation,
Elizabeth Shepherd expressed her honour to enact the
piece for this very important guest. In reply, Lady Moorea lauded
her performance before the spectators by noting: "I do
not believe that anyone else could have brought the Marchesa
to life more magnificently than you." A sold-out book signing,
reception and private dinner at the Institute followed.
Italian Cultural Institute event in London follows the November
1999 invited staged reading of Infinite Variety: Portrait
of a Muse by the New York City ministry of the same
organisation, and its January 2000 Canadian premiere on the
Jackman Hall stage of the Art Gallery of Ontario in co-operation
with the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto. The latter presentation
received major newspaper coverage and was the subject of an
international television entertainment programme. At these earlier
venues as well, Ms Shepherd's performances were wildly
received by sold-out audiences. And based upon the unanimous
success of those evenings, Messrs Ryersson and Yaccarino expanded
the piece for its U.K. premiere to include their latest discoveries
on the Marchesa Casati.
Shepherd can be heard from the
London premiere at the intro to this site.
Copyright © The
Casati Archives. All rights reserved.