The Heroine’s Journey of Natalia Guerrieri and Chiara Arrigoni

What is the best thing that we love about our work?

We are playwrights, screenwriters, writers (Chiara is also an actress). It’s incredibly hard to mention just one thing, but if we have to, it would be: the chance to create new worlds and build them up. The whole creating process is extraordinary: at the very beginning an imperceptible idea is conceived in your head and then it starts to expand, day by day it becomes more concrete, until your mind is totally filled in with it and it eventually becomes real. When you write a story and you build up an imaginary world, you also have the chance to share it with other people (readers, audience) who’s going to feel something about it and it makes it even more real. It’s a sort of myracle.

What is our idea of happiness?

Well, a frothy italian cappuccino in the morning, the chance to escape the city to get to the countryside in the middle of nature, a cat that doesn’t hate you and, of course, the warmth of the people you love.

What is our greatest fear?

Can we mention Bob from Twin Peaks? Joking apart, this world is quite hard for artists and our professional path looks like a fight against an inhospitable environment: you have to carry on both fighting against your inner fear of failure and against the obstacles of everyday life.

What is the trait that we most deplore in ourselves?

We probably worry too much about our future instead of just trying to live it.

Which living persons in our profession do we most admire?

The list is quite long. Among writers, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Sam Shaw, Nic Pizzolatto, Amelia Gray, among actresses Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Moss, Phoebe Waller-Bridge for her courageous and witty writing, Rose Whiterspoon who founded a production company dedicated to tell female stories, Marina Pierri who’s the most inspiring voice in Italy concerning the Heroine’s Journey in TV series.

What is our greatest extravagance?

This list is even longer… but we’re going to make a selection. Natalia is allergic to smartphones and vocal messages, can’t help wearing black clothes, desperately hates chicken nuggets and spends all her money in books. Chiara has a favourite word, which is bizarre, has a collection of notebooks from all over the world, hates oranges and deadly hates parsley and coriander so much that she follows a page on Instagram named “I hate coriander”. We can also say that when we’re together strange things may happen, such as the most memorable storm in Rome in years, city black outs, little scorpions changing their skin close to our feet.

On what occasion would we lie?

Chiara usually lies on stage, while she’s acting. And, of course, while we are writing a story. A good way of lying, isn’t it?

What is the thing that we dislike the most in our work?

Lack of stability and freelance life sometimes are hard to bear.

When and where were we the happiest, in our work?

Fortunately the list of happy moments is longer too, but if we have to choose a specific moment, we would say while we were working together on our first play “Ready to collapse” (if you’re familiar with Italian you can find it here https://www.teatroi.org/autori/arrigoni-chiara/) and when we decided to found This Writing Room, a group of professional authors who provide writing services.

If we could, what would we change about ourselves?

Like a heroine who decides to go through the forest in order to build her true self, we are living a journey to set us free from all the limits and constraints society puts on ourselves, so that we can continue to build a true artistic-identity which belongs to us completely.

What is our greatest achievement in work?

Our greatest achievement is what we’ve written in the past few years. We’re very proud of our first work together, “Ready to collapse”. If we have to choose a list of personal works, Chiara would mention Audizione, Annunciazione, Elena la guerra delle donne and Due addetti alle pulizie. Natalia is extremely happy because of her first novel Non muoiono le api, published by Moscabianca Edizioni.

Where would we most like to live?

Natalia in the middle of nowhere in Dolomiti mountains, North Italy. Chiara between Milano, Lago Maggiore and Roma but also having the chance to spend a lot of time abroad.

What is our most treasured possession?

Probably our MacBooks with all the creative stuff inside.

What is our most marked characteristic?

First of all, the fact that we sincerely love each other and that we’re bound by a true sisterhood which helps us to grow as artists and human beings. Secondly, we are tremendously obsessed with our work: we keep on thinking all the time about the next story we’re about to write. Our minds are constantly full of new words and new worlds.

What are our most inspirational location, in our cities?

Chiara has been living in Rome since 2015 but her life as an author completely changed when she discovered the most inspirational place to write or read at: the Bramante’s Chiostro, a cloister with open galleries designed by the famous architect which now hosts exciting exhibitions and… a coffee shop. You can have a cappuccino and read or write right where old monks used to spend their time praying to God.

For Natalia, the most inspirational location isn’t really in her city but it’s the countryside around Modena, a plain constantly immersed in the fog.

What are our favorite places to eat and drink, in our city?

For Chiara any roman traditional restaurant is simply memorable, she loves Trastevere’s typical “trattorie”, any small rough bar in Pigneto’s neighbourhood, but her everyday place is Faro (@farorome) her favourite coffee bar close to her home where she can write and be inspired and have her favourite cappuccino.

Natalia, instead, loves the coffee bar close to her apartment where she likes passing her time writing and drinking coffee, but also the old fashioned restaurants in the countryside around Modena.

What books influenced our life and how?

Natalia: The road by Cormac McCarthy, IT by Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. The road because of the relationship between the father and the son. IT is a masterpiece, a model for both the story and the narrative structure. The Haunting of Hill House uses the horror genre features in a very original way.

Chiara: The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Tieste by Seneca, Oresteia by Aeschylus, all Pinter’s plays, Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, The Maids by Jean Genet, Dürrenmatt’s The Death of the Pythia, Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood, Crime and punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Teorema by Pasolini: they all inspired me with the idea of a world driven by imperceptible forces, which can be inside us or outside us, but certainly mysterious, and the final result can lead to chaos or blood or death but there will be something life-affirming even in the most desperate scenario (if not in the story, therefore in the reader).

We Only Die Once. What music would we listen on our last day?

Chiara: Queen, David Bowie and some Disney classic songs. Recently discovered La rappresentante di lista, I’m in love with Alieno by them.

Natalia: Black Sabbath, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead.

Who are our hero or heroine in fiction?

Natalia: Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games saga and Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone, both played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Chiara: I love Katniss too, but I’ll never forget my children’s heroines: Hermione Granger (witty, intelligent, smart, courageous, loyal) and Jo March (independent, free spirit, courageous, funny). 

Who are our heroes and heroines in real life?

Chiara: my mother, who raised three daughters alone; my two sisters, who have both studied Mathematics and tries to have a voice in a professional environment which hasn’t been welcoming for women for ages; my colleagues and friends I usually work with (Natalia, Ottavia,

Eri, Teresa, Andrea, Giulia, Marta, Federica, Vincenzo and many others): because nothing has meaning if you are alone and I am worth far less without them. J.K. Rowling because she wrote the fantasy saga that changed my childhood.

Natalia: Chiara Arrigoni, for her strength, professionality, loyalty and sensibility and because she’s a great artist. My family, who helped me so much in many ways. And also my friends: I admire them so much and I think I’m very lucky because I don’t have friends which I don’t admire.

Which movie would we recommend to see once in a lifetime?

It’s so hard to mention just one! We would like to say Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups, Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko, Kubrick’s The Shining, Hitchcock’s The Birds, Guadagnino’s Suspiria and Portrait de la jeune fille en feu by Céline Sciamma, Pulp fiction by Quentin Tarantino.

What role play stories in our life and work?

Stories are our life. Stories to us are everything. Not only because we create stories for work, but also because we don’t consider it just a work: it’s a sort of life changing experience, a constant source of inspiration, a way to discover who we really are. Sometimes, these two dimensions – real life and stories – are so closed that they enter one another and one draws fully from the other.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ mean to us?

Literally, that we spend our lifetime telling stories. And that you can consider yourself and your own experiences and challenges like a proposal to change, as if you were a hero / heroine living his/her own journey: every single detail in a story has a meaning and everything can change the final result.

Who is our greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Probably, for both of us, our families and friends.

Which people or companies would we like to work with in 2021?

We would like to carry on working with some special people such as Ottavia Orticello, Annick Emdin, Andrea Ferrara, Simone Marcelli, Anna Maniscalco, Andrea Viscusi.

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would we love to meet in 2021?

We would like to meet Ellen McDougall – Artistic Director of Gate Theatre (we only met her on a zoom workshop during the pandemic) and Marina Pierri, whose book Eroine – Come i personaggi delle serie TV possono aiutarci a fiorire has been really life changing for us.

What project, in 2021, are we looking forward to work on?

We would like to work on a movie we’ve written together.

Where can you see us or our work in 2021?

If the pandemic comes to an end, Chiara hopes to come back on stage with her theatre company Le Ore Piccole: they’ve performed mainly in Italy but also in France, Switzerland and UK. You can find the novel written by Natalia, Non muoiono le api, online and in the bookshops and her short stories in several literary magazines (Inutile, Malgrado le mosche, Nuova Tèchne, and so on).

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to us?

It simply means that we can’t imagine life without what passion is to us: writing.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Annick Emdin, Ottavia Orticello, Iris Basilicata, Anna Maniscalco, Laura Guerrieri.

How can you contact us?

You can find us on Instagram @thiswritingroom, @natalia_guerrieri_ , @arrigoni_chiara, or you can send us an email thiswritingroom@gmail.com. Our website is: www.thiswritingroom.com.

Links to books who are sold on amazon.com

Non muoiono le api, a novel by Natalia Guerrieri

Due addetti alle pulizie, a play by Chiara Arrigoni, among the 2018 Scena&Poesia selection:

Annunciazione, a play by Chiara Arrigoni, among the 2019 Scena&Poesia selection:

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