Frangione, Lucia

Lucia Frangione, playwright, actor (b at Calgary 23 July 1969). Lucia Frangione attended school at Camille J. Lerouge School in Red Deer, Alta, and studied playwriting at the Rosebud School of the Arts and acting at Langara College in Vancouver. As a writer Frangione had early success, publishing her first poem at 17 and producing her first play at 18.

Her play, Chickens, was first produced when she was a student at Rosebud School of the Arts in Alberta. Rosebud is a religious school and it was there that Frangione found the freedom and the encouragement to explore and write about her spirituality combined with feelings of sensuality. Each play she writes is a personal quest and a question about the spirit she calls "the beloved."

Most often in Frangione's plays, that search for the divine has a peculiar and hilarious twist. Chickens, which has since been produced in Canada, the US and Australia, gets to the heart of the question about which came first, the chicken or the egg. The play's main characters are a young couple on the verge of bankruptcy, who begin raising exotic chickens. All the problems centering around egg fertilization become a metaphor for their lives.

Throughout the 1990s, Frangione worked as a playwright, actor and artistic director with Chemainus Theatre on Vancouver Island. Her play Cariboo Magi (2001) is set in BC's 1860s goldrush. The comedy earned Lucia Frangione the Sydney Risk Emerging Playwright Award and was published by Talon Books.

At Vancouver's Pacific Theatre she continued questioning institutionalized Christianity and its effect on the family and sexuality, most notably with the production of the semi-autobiographical play Espresso, produced in 2003. Frangione starred in Espresso, playing 3 Italian-Canadian women - an estranged daughter who comes home to her dying father's bedside, her grandmother, and her stepmother. Espresso, also published by Talon Books, has been one of her most successful plays and was nominated for 7 Jessie Awards, including a nomination for Frangione's performance. The play went on to have a year-long run at the Jelenia Gorski Theatre in Poland.

Her playful comedy Holy Mo, produced in 1997, humanized Moses and turned him into a stuttering wonder, even as he outlined the age-old commandments.

Her plays are distinguished for their humour but they are much more than light comedy because as she gets her audiences laughing at life, she also has them pondering the endless mystery of her "beloved" spirit and divine power.