Isabella Rossellini
Darwin’s Smile

NYC Premiere

Monday, May 15, 2023
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

In English

Come see Isabella Rossellini on stage at FIAF in her incredible one-woman show that is both “deep and heartfelt” (The Guardian) and “humorous and entertaining” (PR Newswire).

Darwin’s Smile, written and performed by Rossellini, reconciles two worlds that are often at the opposite ends of the spectrum: art and science. While reading Charles Darwin’s The Expression of Emotions on Man and Animals, Rossellini realized that the continuity between humans and animals can also be detected in the expression of emotions and empathy through acting. In comical tones, Rossellini demonstrates how acting can be used to understand the mysterious nature of animals and their emotions. On stage, Rossellini portrays dogs, cats, chickens, peacocks, and even Charles Darwin. The show is an opportunity to learn complex scientific theories while being thoroughly entertained by the art of acting.

Approx. 70 mins

Creative Team & Crew

Written & performed by Isabella Rossellini
Directed by Murielle Mayette-Holtz
Costumes and set design by Rudy Sabounghi
Lighting design by Pascal Noël
Music design by Cyril Giroux
Video design by Andy Byers and Rick Gilbert
Poster design by Andy Byers
Isabella Rossellini’s assistant Gregorio Franchetti
Rudy Sabounghi’s assistant Julien Soulier

Isabella Rossellini

Italian-American actress, artist, filmmaker, and model Isabella Rossellini holds a master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation. She made an award-winning series of shorts, Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas that offer comical and scientifically insightful studies of animal behaviors.

  • Read More
    • Isabella Rossellini has a master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation. She made an award-winning series of shorts, Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas that offer comical and scientifically insightful studies of animal behaviors.

      She toured in 50 different cities with a monologue based on her shorts written with Academy Award winner Jean-Claude Carrière. Recently she toured her new theatrical show, Link Link Circus that deals with animals’ behavior and cognition, as well as brought us the critically acclaimed streaming show “Sex and Consequences” early this year.

      Isabella Rossellini grew up in Paris and Rome and moved to move to New York City when she was nineteen years old. She had a very successful modeling career appearing on numerous covers of magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair.

      She also worked as an actress appearing in numerous films, directed by extraordinary talents such as Robert Zemeckis, David O. Russell, David Lynch, Robert Wilson, Taylor Hackford, Marjane Satrapi, Guy Maddin. Most notable of her American features include Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, White Nights, Cousins, Death Becomes Her, Fearless, Big Night and more recently Joy.

      Rossellini’s interests embrace preservation of her family’s extraordinary cinematic heritage, including the films directed by her father, Roberto Rossellini and those featuring her mother, Ingrid Bergman.

Muriel Mayette Holtz

Muriel Mayette Holtz is an actress and director. A former student of Michel Bouquet, Claude Régy and Bernard Dort, she was a professor at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art between 1996 and 2005.

  • Read More
    • She entered the Comédie-Française as an actress in 1985 after training at the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique, and was named the 477th member in 1988. She became the first woman to lead the company as general administrator, from 2006 to 2014. After a detour through Rome as director of the Villa Medici for three years, she was received at the Academy of Fine Arts in the chair of Maurice Béjart, in May 2017. Director of the CDN Nice Côte d’Azur since November 2019, she plans showcase on stage the great texts from the repertoire of Mediterranean Europe.

      Muriel Mayette-Holtz is a member of the Academy of Fine Arts, Knight of the Legion of Honor, Knight of the National Order of Merit, and Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Rudy Sabounghi

Rudy Sabounghi is a set and costume designer. He works mainly in Europe with theater directors and choreographers.

  • Read More
    • In Paris at the Comédie-Française, he has worked on Fausse Suivante (Marivaux) and Dom Juan (Molière) with Jacques Lassalle, and with the filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin on Père (Strinberg) and Angels in America (Kushner). At the Opéra Garnier in Paris, his work includes Hercules (Haendel) with Luc Bondy, and Verklartenacht (Schönberg) with choreographer Anne-Teresa de Keersmaeker. At the Châtelet, his work includes La Cenerentola (Rossini) and Traviata (Verdi) both with Klaus Michaël Grüber.

      Other notable global works include Idomeneo (La Scala, Milan), Farnace (La Fenice in Venice), King Lear (The Argentina, Rome), Cruel & Tender (London), Poppea (Wiener Festwochen in Vienna) and Macbeth (at the Burgtheater). Several years after his first collaboration on La Traviata in Paris, he was invited by Deborah Warner to a new project at Theater an der Wien. He has also collaborated with Lucinda Childs on Daphnis et Chloé (Geneva) and Soirée Stravinsky and Le Mandarin Merveilleux (Strasbourg), and with Anne-Teresa de Keersmaeker on a number of works in Brussels including Mozart’s Concerts Arias, Amor Constante, Bluebeard’s Castle, and Verklarte Nacht.

      Rudy grew up in Monte-Carlo, and he works at the Monte-Carlo Opera regularly with Jean-Louis Grinda, including collaboration on creating Turco in Italia (Rossini) with Cécilia Bartoli.

      Rudy’s productions of Dom-Juan from the Comédie Française and Hercules from the Opéra de Paris were presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM.

      Rudy Sabounghi regularly teaches at the TNS in Strasbourg and the ENSATT in Lyon.