By Angelina Coppola
Vincent Piazza, of Boardwalk Empire, sat down for an interview with WordTheatre to discuss his reading of “Three Thursdays in the Bronx” by David Prete. Piazza has read multiple times for WordTheatre, including such stories as “White Angel” by Michael Cunningham, “Forky” by Andre Dubus III, and “The Mighty Shannon” by David Means. Here, he talks about the breakdown of language in our society and the tradition of oral storytelling.
Interviewer: Listen, could you tell me the name of your story?
Vincent Piazza: It’s “Three Thursdays in the Bronx.”
I: And what’s your story about?
VP: It’s a story told through the eyes of a son on the path to discovering the mysteries of his mother.
I: What are your feelings on the story?
VP: It’s actually very moving. It’s one of these stories that is told so poetically and beautifully about this young man, or man, who is in search of answers to why perhaps his mother had made the decisions that she’s made through out the course of her life and some of the things she’s had to endure through out her life.
I: Do you personally relate to this story at all?
VP: Yeah. You know, I hope there is a part in all of us where we know certain things about our parents, but there’s a certain divide that happens from when you’re a child that as you become a adult you start learning things about them. Why they’ve done the things they’ve done, and how they’ve become the people that they’ve become, and that is certainly something I can relate to.
I: What would you say is the real core of this story?
VP: I’d say, to boil it down, it’s a son presenting the trials and tribulations that he’s discovered about his mother prior to his existence.
I: What are your feelings on language and the importance of language in our society?
VP: Well, I feel like it’s certainly taken for granted. I feel that it’s abused. We’re in a society now where communication has become so easy that it’s taken for granted with texting, cell phones and emails and all this other stuff. We abbreviate everything. We perhaps don’t find the most important words. We have a habit and knack for kind of just abusing the gift of language, and that’s what so great about being involved with WordTheatre, because we remind ourselves, and hopefully the audience participating, that things can be told in very poetic and important ways. You know that a feeling, a complex feeling, and life situations can be conveyed clearly, and that is special to me.
I: It’s also unique to oral storytelling. You know?
VP: Oh, yeah, yeah. To create images from a story, the art of storytelling is a dying thing, certainly in it’s purest form. I mean we have movies and television and all things on the internet now and music of course, but to be able to actually sit down a group of people in a campfire setting and tell a story, and have a moral or a point or feelings and expressions you’re trying to convey. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s nice to be a part of something that keeps it front and center, at least to a small audience for the time being.