Gigante 2022 Holiday Newsletter

The year 2022

We are so thrilled, excited, and grateful to be celebrating our 35th Anniversary Season!

We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without you, and we look forward to continuing to serve you with the creative, innovative, and unique productions Gigante has become known for!

As we approach 2023, we fondly look back at 2022, which has slowly allowed us to get back to live theater and some type of operational and artistic normalcy.  In February we presented the thought-provoking, deeply moving Rumore di acque (Noise in the Waters) written by Marco Martinelli and masterfully performed by Teatro delle Albe’s Alessandro Renda, with the soulful and beautiful accompaniment of the Sicilian Mancuso Brothers. To reach a wider audience, this production was virtual, and we turned it into aid for an urgent global crisis. Rumore di acque, about refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, was tragically timely as the world watched in shock and horror as the Ukraine refugee crisis developed. Theatre Gigante was gratified to be able to send 100% of the proceeds from this production to UNHCF to aid the refugees. Again, we couldn’t have done it without you! Your donations toward the presentation made it possible.

In July and August, we were elated to resuscitate a collaboration with Teatro delle Albe to build a new theater piece, which we originally began developing in 2019.  This brand-new work, titled, In The Belly Of The Beast, was to premiere in Milwaukee in May, 2020, then move on to Ravenna and Milan, Italy. However, in 2020 COVID hit the global stage, and early on in its development, In The Belly Of The Beast was cut short by the pandemic, which shattered the initial ideas and premises, along with the authors’ creative calm. While the pandemic shook the very principles of human activity, including artistic creativity, to their foundations, it also opened up new, uncharted horizons and an opportunity for new considerations. We will be working with a new premise this winter. Isabelle, Mark, and Alessandro Renda will begin creating In The Belly Of The Beast from scratch with one addition to the creative team: awarded Slovenian writer Rok Vilčnik (Tarzan, A Cosmic Fairy Tale A Day Keeps The Doctor Away). Now, this original theatrical work, exploring the travails of modern-day life, is being cooked up in three different countries (USA, Italy, Slovenia); will be performed by Isabelle, Mark, and Alessandro; and is scheduled to premiere in Milwaukee in May, 2023, then travel on to Italy, as originally planned … and we can’t wait!

In October, Gigante did it again – it presented something wildly unique to Milwaukee: A Page of Madness, one of the greatest avant-garde silent films in history, directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. This rare, exquisite live production, partially sponsored by the U of Michigan’s Center for Asian Studies, included a Japanese benshi, Nanako Yamauchi, from Tokyo, who narrated the film live in the Japanese tradition of benshi actors. A dazzling, original musical score by Frank Pahl accompanied the film and Nanako’s beautiful narration. Little Bang Theory

(Frank Pahl, Terri Sarris, Doug Shimmin) skillfully performed it live on toy and hand-made instruments, adding to the emotionally expressive experience. As Jim Higgins of the Journal Sentinel stated, Frank Pahl is Gigante’s BFF, and we plan on more gratifying collaborations such as this one.

Also in October, Gigante performed two readings of Rok’s Tarzan: the first, hosted by the highly accomplished theater theorist, writer, and professor Todd London, took place at the Dramatist’s Guild Foundation, with various performers, writers, critics, and musicians in attendance; the second, hosted by the Slovenian Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Boštjan Malovrh and Mrs. Petra Žerovnik Malovrh, took place at their residence, with invited guests in attendance. The readings were performed by Isabelle, Mark, Don Russell, and Michael Stebbins setting the scene with stage directions. Great talkbacks followed, with the playwright Rok joining the cast. Partially sponsored by the Slovenian Ministry for Slovenians Abroad, it was a wonderful opportunity for all involved.

In early November, Gigante’s fabulous Board of Directors hosted a wine tasting benefit, spearheaded by Anne Landre, at Waterford Wine & Spirits, celebrating Gigante’s 35 years. The tasting was led by Alan Anderson pouring exquisite wines. The result: great fun was had by all!

November and December brought Gigante back to the stage, presenting the Milwaukee premiere of Will Eno’s Title and Deed, an enigmatic monodrama with surprises at every turn. At times funny, at times sad, but always thought-provoking, this intriguing piece was “breathtakingly” performed by Gigante’s Michael Stebbins, with direction by Isabelle and lighting by Colin Gawronski.

As you can see, Theatre Gigante continues creating and presenting distinct, thought-provoking work – work that might otherwise not be seen in Milwaukee.


We at Gigante thank you for 35 years of friendship and support, and we enthusiastically and passionately look to the future, and vow to – together with your help – continue serving and surprising the community with Gigante’s special brand of original, unique, boutique theater!

Amidst the magic of December and the holiday season, may you enjoy a gigantic bounty of happiness, success, health, peace, and love, and may it continue into the new year … and beyond…

Happy Holidays! Happy 2023!

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Theatre Gigante, P.O.Box 1999, Milwaukee WI 53201-1999