The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

May 8, 2013

'Mammas' is study in maternal instinct

(Continued)

Mother's Day in Italy when Rossellini was a child wasn't a big deal. The big holiday was Woman's Day on March 1. "It was not just for mothers but for all women," she said.

Despite two children of her own and dual citizenship, things haven't changed much for Rossellini. "I am lucky if my children say 'Happy Mother's Day' and bring me some flowers," she said.

Rossellini did pay tribute to her mother in the "Mammas" story of the piping plover.

It starts with Rossellini (as a human) doing a dying scene on stage and getting pelted by tomatoes. It switches to her as a piping plover, fooling a fox by pretending to have a broken wing and leading the predator away from her nest.

The camera returns to the human, where it appears more tomatoes are hurled at Rossellini from the moving paper audience. She hides behind a stage curtain and says: "If I were as talented at pretending as the piping plover, I would be a Sarah Bernhardt, an Ingrid Bergman."

She used Bernhardt's name because she wanted a name that was familiar to people in several countries. She used Bergman's name "because I thought mom would be offended" if she didn't.

The simplicity of the bright, handmade costumes and paper props and the complexity of the tech-heavy delivery system added to the appeal of Rossellini's first two series, Leff said.

She hopes Rossellini will turn to the Wolfsonian if she decides to put "Mammas" on display. "She's a real provocateur, which we love," Leff said.

Rossellini has done about 40 shorts now and hopes she can continue to do them. First though is her one-woman biology-themed tour through Europe and the United States in 2014.

The actress lives near Long Island and has two dogs, a cat, chickens and a vegetable garden.

She also volunteers at the nearby Guide Dog Foundation and for a few weeks is fostering a mother dog that just had 10 puppies.

With so much focus on motherhood, does Rossellini have a message for "Mammas" viewers? "Yes," she said: "Happy Mother's Day."

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