Thywill Amenya (Thywill Abraham Kwaku Amenya)
Actor (Ghana, 1964)
Born in Ghana in 1964 of an Ewe family, Thywill Amenya got a diploma as surveyor and moved to Italy in late 1980s, as part of a group of Ghanaian musicians. After a series of concerts in the Southern region, they decided to stay and Thywill started to attend an Italian course organized by Sant’Egidio Community and to frequent Caritas. He lived for a while undocumented, then took advantage of Law 943 and could regularize his own condition.
Part of association SOS Racism, Thywill spent some more time in Italy performing live as dancer, percussionist and choreographer, until he met Italian actor Michele Placido, who chose him as protagonist of his first work, Pummarò, on the misadventure of a young Ghanaian, Kwaku, graduated from medical school in his own country and now in Italy to look for his brother Giobbe, nicknamed “Pummarò” for being long a farmhand in tomato fields and suddenly disappeared.
In the meantime, in March 1990 was released a 30” TV spot made by Maurizio D’Adda, creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, for a campaign against racism promoted by Pubblicità Progresso, in which Thywill played a black Christ on the cross. Premiered at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard) in May 1990, Pummarò was released in September 1990. Starting July 1990, Thywill was co-host (together with Maria Giovanna Elmi) of TV show Ghibli, directed by Igor Skofic and aired on Raidue.
Professional drummer, Thywill played percussion on a single by Biagio Antonacci called Danza sul mio petto and included in the album Adagio Biagio (Universal Music, 1991).
In September 1992 he played the role of Quiqueg in the production Ulisse e la balena bianca, inspired to the characters of Hermann Melville, directed and starred by Vittorio Gassman and staged in Cinecittà, Rome. An article on l’Unità dated June 1994 reported his presence in US at that time as lead of a percussion stage. Possibly he stayed there because in August 1996 he appeared in a theatrical production of Julius Caesar, staged by David Alford at Centennial Park Band Shell, Nashville. In 2006 he appeared again on stage as Thywill Amenya & Friends Ghanaian Drums & Dance in the program of Bowling Green International Festival, in Kentucky. Apparently, this is the latest public apparition of Amenya.
Pummarò (Michele Placido, 1990, ff, act), Ostinato destino (Gianfranco Albano, 1992, ff, act), Per amore o per amicizia (Paolo Poeti, 1993, tvm, act)
Frame taken from:
Pummarò. Dir. Michele Placido. Cineuropa ’92, Numero Uno International, RAI-Radiotelevisione Italiana (Rete 2), 1990.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi, with Andrea Altieri
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