We’ve had a couple of amazing days working and playing here, but I’m also losing a lot of endurance for the unfamiliarity and somewhat self-imposed isolation. It’s very difficult for me to feel I’m contributing anything when I’m so terrible with the language. I didn’t fully appreciate all the contact I had with our American studenti last year, and the way that made me feel more valuable to the experience as a whole. It’s going to be particularly difficult once Todd flies back this Monday. I don’t speak the language, Heather is much better with it but lacks confidence and David often has trouble hearing what people say. What exactly we’re going to do, I don’t know. I have to confess that I have contemplated trading my ticket with Todd if he were willing to do (capable of doing) what is necessary to stay.
The lesson for next time is to really work on my Italian. That’s the primary difficulty. Though my shyness is moderate, in
Thursday began with a business proposition from our friend Piero, head of marketing at LinguaSi. He had a very strong proposition to essentially host Zuppa del Giorno through LinguaSi, establishing a separate association and including courses through the school that we would teach in a sort of high school, period structure, for LinguaSi’s students from all over the world. It was all very appealing—in some ways exactly what we’ve been hoping for—but there remain a great many considerations to be made and discussions with our other Italian contacts to be had.
Later we met with Andrea at Teatro Communale Porano to show each other what we do. As is by now to be expected, from the first moment there we were blown away by the environment. The theatre itself was not nearly as impressively beautiful as Teatro Boni; in fact it fairly closely resembled a little regional theatre in
We presented the Valentino excerpt from Silent Lives, sans rehearsal. It went fine, all things considered. Andrea responded very well, but it has also been agreed since then that our timing and listening were strange after so long away. Not bad, per se—maybe just quirky. One of the benefits of performing this piece again was that—finally—thanks to my investment in my shiny red camera we have a little video of what we do. The quality is far from great, but it’s great to be able to watch what we’ve done to represent our work of the past three years. Afterward, Andrea presented a portion of a solo piece he’s performed for years: an encapsulation of the movie The Ten Commandments. It was absolutely charming, and afterward there was much discussion of how to bring Silent Lives over next year, and Andrea to The Northeast Theatre.
Thereafter it was off to il lago di Bolsena for the first time since our arrival (a favorite spot of repose last year). A gorgeous, huge volcanic lake, it was cold. Last year we had been there just a week later and the water was wonderfully temperate. In spite of the chill, David, Todd and I plunged in (well, I waded). It was great, once my body numbed itself a bit. A short drive later we had an amazing meal at a chance restaurant in nearby Montefiascone, and for surprisingly little Euro. I drove home as my friends dozed, enjoying the freedom of a little car on long, hilly Italian roads.
Friday was our day in
We spent the rest of the day until our train back to Orvieto sight-seeing. Sebastiano joined us for Dumo de San Petro (where Michelangelo’s Moses and the chains that bound Saint Peter are to be found) then departed for an appointment. The rest of our tourism was something of a disappointment. It was muggy, and some of us tired pretty quickly. We tried to see a commedia dell’arte puppet theatre Todd had discovered last trip, but it looked as though it were being torn down, and I did get to see my favorite place in Rome—Piazza Navona—but only as we charged through it to make our train. Todd remained in
Finally (I know you’ve been holding your breath [wait, are you still there?][hello?]), this morning we rose and Heather and I ran off to Orvieto to buy groceries and meet Todd’s train. It seems he ended up going to Sebastiano’s apartment and staying there, where he got a much more detailed (and increasingly positive) impression of the guy. We finally got more toilet paper (YAY!) and all settled in to a meal at a trattoria at the base of the winding dirt road from our agriturismo to the main road, which was splendid and cheap (yet again: YAY!). Andrea met us there and we ran over to Teatro Boni again to receive one of his workshops.
He brought his masks—amazing masks—and we spent three hours working our way into and learning how to effectively use them. We began by walking the space, getting into the feeling of our feet (a marvelous way to begin) and then imagining a specific environment of our choice to walk through. Mine became a vast, shallow,
The rest of the evening was pretty amazing too. First we drove to
Unsuccessful in our attempt to contact Mauro, we headed to nearby Rocolvecchi, the town that was the inspiration for our first show as Zuppa del Giorno, Noble Aspirations. It was meant to just be a quick nostalgia trip, but on our way by the local church we heard amazing music. We stepped inside and received a free, hour-long choral concert that was just amazing. I believe it was some sort of arrangement of medieval music, and it was thrillingly beautiful. Thereafter we were off to Civita di Bagnoregio, where we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, overlooking the ancient city on a hill, before ascending to walk the city late at night. That’s a whole new kind of stillness, right there. We rather disturbed it for a little while, as Todd and I gave in to some fantasies and climbed a thing or two we really weren’t meant to climb. It was worth it. Risk is always worth it.