Federica Borlenghi had always felt tremendously lonely as a little girl. That why she devoted myself to the Arts from a young age. She tried filling the void through music, sports, painting, writing but none of these activities ever completely fulfilled her, until she discovered the Theater. Everytime she enters a rehearsal space, whether its the beginning, or the ending of a project that void/torment disappears? “I adore the collaborative and community-based aspect of theater and the way it can offer perspective in such innovative and impactful ways”, says Federica.
indieactivity : Did you study what you do?
Federica Borlenghi : I started practicing my passion for theatre at the Litta Theatre of Milan, in Italy, while studying Digital Filmmaking, Design and Photography at the Orsoline High School of Visual Arts. I decided to move to New York 5 years ago, with the mission of expanding my cultural and artistic horizons. I then attended the New School for Drama, which was a great University for me to study at, since it allowed me to maintain and further develop my multi-disciplinary interests. I have always been inspired by multidisciplinary artists and by those who challenge the ways of presenting art as well as exploring its boundaries and meaning.
indieactivity : What is your directing process?
Federica Borlenghi : I am an extremely intuitive person. Therefore, it usually helps me to approach each project by starting from what the people I’m working with bring to the room. I enjoy exploring and discovering each team member’s potential and talent and build off of that. Throughout the years, I discovered this practice to be key to create and foster genuine and collaborative environments.
indieactivity : Tell us about the work you have produced?
Federica Borlenghi : Whether I am producing, directing or writing, I tend to seek for work that includes multiple performative elements – such as music, dance and technology – and stories that investigate language, similarities and differences between cultures and the way that traumas influence and impact personality and relationships.
indieactivity : do you take courses to improve your craft?
Federica Borlenghi : I always try to be part of Writing Circles. It helps me to keep the habit of constantly hearing and sharing new work both as a writer but also as a director.
indieactivity : How do you combine directing, producing and writing?
Federica Borlenghi : In the past two years, I ended up producing most of my shows and became very comfortable with juggling between roles. In my experience, when wearing multiple hats, it is fundamental to learn how to switch from one to the other instead of trying to wear multiple ones at the same time. I find compartmentalizing to be crucial to a successful process. If I am directing and producing a project, I typically walk in as the director and try to assign designated time for me to be a producer in the room. I usually try do that during breaks or at the end of each rehearsal.
indieactivity : How did you get into the film business?
Federica Borlenghi : As soon as I graduated, I focused on interning and assisting as much as possible. I wanted to gain practical experience by working from up close on the engines of established theaters as well as observing the approaches of several professional directors.
indieactivity : How do you turn an idea in a screenplay? what’s your writing process?
Federica Borlenghi : I usually start from dialogue. I am extremely character oriented and find helpful to start from dialogue. I usually write down and journal about conversations I have or over-hear. Then I proceed by fictionally continuing the dialogue and develop characters around it. Afterwards, I typically look back and select parts of the dialogues, structure them into scenes and build an arch for the play. After this initial phase, it’s always incredibly difficult for me to finish the play when reading it by myself over and over again. A few years ago, I came to the simple realization that plays are not meant to be read, they’re meant to be performed. That’s how I started directing. I started workshopping scenes and drafts of my plays with actors to refine and develop my stories. Getting to hear the words out loud and experience dynamics and characters live was much more useful and effective for me to reach the completion of a play.
indieactivity : What writing tip or ideas can you give young writers?
Federica Borlenghi : I highly recommend to Journal every day. Write down what you hear, write down what you feel, write it all down!.
indieactivity : Tell us about the directing work you have done?
Federica Borlenghi : Since I moved to New York, I have been primarily dedicating my attention in the development of new plays. I am fascinated by the idea of bringing stories to life for the first time and to closely collaborate with their creators to represent their ideas as accurately as possible.
indieactivity : What do you want to change about the theater business?
Federica Borlenghi : Accessibility. For both audiences and artists. Although New York is undeniably considered to be the Mecca of theater, its costs can be absurdly inaccessible for early to mid-career artists as well as performance enthusiasts. I decided to make this my mission and co-funded HERE WE GO, a bi-annual site-specific live performance festival. I am its current Co-Artistic Director and Creative Producer and I dedicate my time there to provide space, assistance, and finances to early-career artists.
indieactivity : What do you think a director can do to get into the entertainment industry?
Federica Borlenghi : Go see as much art as possible, constantly, stay inspired and support other artists’ work. Networking is as important as putting your work out there.
indieactivity : Who is your favorite director?
Federica Borlenghi : My favorite director is Giuseppe Tornatore (director of 1900, Cinema Paradiso, The Best Offer).
indieactivity : Why is this director your favorite?
Federica Borlenghi : The nostalgic sentimentalism that characterizes his movies is so moving and inspiring to me. I also adore how he takes his time. With each character, each moment. And by doing that, you can see how each frame sweats out such humanity and conveys feelings so charmingly and with such visual and emotional impact! I always looked up to him and his work, especially since he is both a writer and a director.
indieactivity What do you want to be remembered for?
Federica Borlenghi : I want to be remembered for my dedication. I am dedicated more than anything to always becoming a better artist, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister. I know I can always do better. And I am committed to keep chasing my better self in an everlasting pursuit of discovery and improvement.
indieactivity : Briefly write about your career?
Federica Borlenghi : I interned at the Bushwick Starr in Summer 2019 and subsequently worked there as a Production Assistant on Jeremy O. Harris’ Black Exhibition, which premiered there under the direction of Machel Ross, who I got to assist on the new production of Annie Baker’s the Antipodes, produced by Center Theater Group. The show was unfortunately cancelled a few days before tech due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I am also a Rising Sun Performance Company member and my writing and directing work has been featured at The Tank, Dixon Place, Governors Island, Manhattan Rep, Alchemical Theater Lab, Hudson Guild, TADA Theater and IATI Theater.
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