|CIAO BELLA STAR ELLEN DAVID SPEAKS AT WAGAR HIGH SCHOOL|
MONTREAL, DECEMBER 10, 2004- Actress Ellen David returned to Wagar High School in Côte Saint-Luc recently, where she graduated from more than 25 years ago, to talk to the visual arts class of teacher Stacy Nash about her profession and the new CBC Television show Ciao Bella.
In Ciao Bella David portrays Sofia, the mother of the lead character Elena (Claudi Ferri). In a stunning exhibit of their talents, the series makeup crew has taken this attractive woman in her forties and aged her into a senior citizen with plenty of worry lines. Add the bang on Italian accent and few would believe this is someone who grew up in the predominantly Jewish Montreal suburb of Cote St. Luc. The "dramedy," as producers are referring to it, can be seen again beginning Jan. 5 and the following five Wednesday nights at 7 p.m., on CBC. It also airs on Radio Canada. The 13-episode series was shot simultaneously in both languages.
In addition to Ciao Bella, David is presently reprising her standout role as the effervescent Anna in the theatrical production of Mambo Italiano at the Centaur Theatre. While she’s had many roles and acting challenges during her 15-year career, David says none has given her more satisfaction than the role of Sofia. David portrays the strong-willed matriarch of a Montreal Italian family.
David is no stranger to the trade. Since her professional debut, she has landed lead roles on several TV series (Sirens, Urban Angel, Bouscotte, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo), film (The Stork Derby, Savage Messiah, Afterglow, A Walk on the Moon, Stardom, Joyeux Calvaire and Mambo Italiano), and theatre (Dancing at Lughnasa, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Substance of Fire, Tit-coq, Accidents de parcours and Mom’s the Word), working with directors as acclaimed as David Mamet, Alan Rudolph, Denys Arcand and Patricia Rozema. She earned a Prix des Masques Best Supporting Actress nomination, for Si j’avais la seule possession dessus le jugement dernier. And the fact that Montreal has been a hot market for motion pictures and television movies of the week has also been beneficial.
At Wagar, she showed the students an entire episode of Ciao Bella and answered questions. " It was really a trip down memory lane visiting Wagar once again, " she remarked. " I really feel proud to have been a student of Wagar. It certainly gave me a very strong foundation which has served me well over the years. I have such rich images of my time there. I went through high school in what seemed like a much simpler time, a more innocent time. I was a cheerleader for the football team, for heaven's sakes! We didn't have cell phones or computers. When we needed to research something, we were frequent guests of the library. We seemingly had to work harder for simple access to information. And now access is available at lightning fast speed and therefore the possibilities are exponentially endless. I remember with affection and nostalgia our trials and tribulations, dramas and victories as high school students and envy as well the youth of today with their promise and possibility. However, I pray that in these more complicated and sometimes brutal times, they can bring into the future with them a little bit of the innocence and sweetness and hopefulness towards the future that we experienced. "
David will visit Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard in the new year.
Michael J. Cohen