Virginia Raffaele: “Me, a buffoonish diva”
This article is published in issue 8 of vanity lounge on newsstands until February 22, 2022
Virginia Raffaele scrolls through the images on her smartphone, she wants to show me her drawings: there is the parrot, there is the monkey, there is the dog. She made them during the first confinement and now they are part of the scenography of the theatrical show she carries in Italy, Samusà. She attended art high school in the 90s but had never cast even a sketch again, and today she is happy with this rediscovery, this other talent which revives and which is added to the dazzling and indisputable actor, imitator, transformist. , complete artist, American style. A Renaissance woman: she recites, writes, dances, sings and also draws, she attempts a joke with the nicest of all, a risk. She laughs, she is nice. While she tells herself she smiles a lot, and when she laughs she does so with all her mouth and all her eyes, throwing her head back. Then in the roll of images some photos of the parents Paola and Mario appear young: she has glasses, he has crow’s feet, they pose on a lawn then in front of a car, in faded colors and unmistakable shades of yellow . and ’70s brown. She points, “Look what a cool Marione.” She comments, “How beautiful they were.” And then suddenly, she is moved. She’s crying. She wipes her tears: “But what we can do it sensitively? What do we do? “Hey… jester. At least something is reaching the others”.
Over the years, others have certainly received the irresistible comedy of impersonations that made her famous – Ornella Vanoni, Sabrina Ferilli, Patty Pravo, Belén Rodríguez – as well as the gags, masks, San Remos she has directed and the programs it carries out. worn on TV. The theatrical performance is now added to the program Samusà, in fact, a word which in the jargon of rides means “silence” and which retraces the past at the amusement park, a veritable gymnasium of comedy: the unusual childhood, the parallel world, the spectacle of a varied humanity seen from the firing post at Cinzano. Then Lol – Who laughs is outthe comedy program of Prime Video, which returns after the exploit of the first season of February 24 with a very rich cast – among others, Corrado Guzzanti and the Forest of Mago – and the same rule of engagement: a dozen comedians challenge each other to gag blows, whoever doesn’t laugh wins.
Why are her parents moving her?
“But who knows? Maybe because in these photos I see them so young and happy… my mother looks like me, don’t you think? I think: but she is looking at this beautiful girl… And then it strikes me to see them at 30 years old, younger than the age I am now. Now I am immediately moved like the elderly. And then maybe the Covid has something to do with it as well.”
She is worried?
“I was so worried about them, especially during the first wave, that I feared for their lives, for their health. And even today I can’t kiss and hug them without a mask, unfortunately I’m always blocked”.
Are we talking about his parents?
“My father is the person who makes me laugh the most in the world, in fact. He is funny. My mother is also very funny. I am a crisis between the two. Mario was born an actor, he has the gift of natural sympathy “.
“Maybe more. Apparently he’s a bear, and I took a lot of that part of him, the need for solitude and closure. But in reality, a look, a silence is enough to make you laugh, he has the perfect comedic timing. And my mom is a great impersonator. When I was little, I would go to her and ask her: do you want to make me a Vanoni? And she attacked and made her perfect. More than me. Together, young people, they killed each other with laughter”.
Are they your masters of comedy?
“I absorbed them a lot more than I think. Today if I observe them, as I do with all the people who pass by, I notice many things, gestures, personality traits, movements that I have borrowed from one or other, the more I grow the more I see the similarities.
Do you tend to look like your parents as you get older?
“I didn’t mean to say it, I said ‘grow up’ on purpose.” He’s laughing.
And how was she as a girl?
“I was the jester of the group. Sadly. I grew up with a clown and cavalier grandmother at home who did circuses, shows, specks and parodies. I spent my afternoons with her doing funny things on purpose, even if the only audience was me. This desire to make a fool of yourself and make others laugh, I think it was transmitted to me knowingly or unknowingly”.
Why this “unfortunately”?
“Because as a teenager I was kind of a gremlin, a nerd, with glasses, suspenders, bangs and long long legs with a short bust…”.
Excuse us, are we talking about the same legs?
“Yes, I used those legs too when I was growing up, but then they were cause for ridicule: I was called Long Leg Daddy.”
I can not believe it.
“The fact is that I always felt different, out of place, I was not like the others. To fill this gap, I brought out my talent: I was the nicest”.
Did it work?
“Yes, it was my way of making myself accepted: making others laugh. And then also inviting them to the amusement park, on the rides, I was the vehicle to entertain them. Only in this way have I found meaning for myself. To understand who I was, I took this journey in comedy, from childhood to today”.
Is this a good way?
“Is magnificent. By showing me, I found my driving license”.
He didn’t have it before?
“Not so much. As a girl, I never went to parties or dinners if I didn’t know anyone. I was also ashamed to go to a bar for coffee”.
“Shyness, anxiety to be seen, badly judged.”
Are you going to the bar now?
“Yes, because when today others know who I am and I no longer have anything to prove, I no longer have to judge.”
He said he didn’t love himself.
“I never definitively accepted myself, no.”
Don’t you know today that you are beautiful?
“I’m not really, and I’m not saying that to compliment. I do not want to. So on the side I work, I train, but when people say to me: why are you on a diet that you are thin? I’m thin because I’m on a diet. It’s a work “.
Is beauty an obstacle to comedy?
“No, for me it doesn’t matter. When you need it, I turn it up, for example to imitate Bélen, but when you don’t need it, I darken it”.
But shouldn’t the actors also have to be a little funny physically?
“My court jester instinct drives me to be funny all the time. I still feel out of place, with the wrong shirt, the wrong bag, something that’s not perfect.”
She is a perfectionist.
“In life, I have a gypsy soul, so I accept chaos. At work, everything has to be perfect, I study and try a lot”.