04 June 2008

Love is Crazy, but Good


It's not my kind of title, but who knows? Maybe it's appealing to Italians. I do appreciate the ambiguous meaning suggested by applying the idiosyncratic usage of the phrase, "but good." As in, "a whole lot" (at least in American slang). This, of course, is the title applied to Zuppa del Giorno's latest original effort, the which I began writing about here.


Friend Heather and I began work on this piece not too long ago, and we're done . . . as far as rehearsing in America goes. Originally, we were scheduled to perform in Italy the day after we flew in, but fortunately saner minds prevailed, and we'll have some three jet-lagged days to focus intensively on further development and polishing before springing this wonder on the unsuspecting Italian audiences. Few people aspire to "develop" and "polish" in the same stroke. Such is the genius of necessity. So when you imagine me sunning myself on Mediterranean shores, sipping grappa and ogling Italian supermodels engaged in their unified quest to avoid any tan lines -- revise that slightly, and picture me instead jumping around and falling down a lot with a desperation to find something, anything, that feels original and worthy of public acclaim.


It's not that bad, actually. We'll have to work our comedic tokheses off, but we're at least in familiar territory thematically. Here then (by which I mean: now) is the present scenario for Zuppa del Giorno's mostly-new, almost-original show: L'Amore e' Mazzo, ma Buona:



Introduction
Meeting G’ma & G’pa: An old couple enter from back of “house,” arm-in-arm, taking seats if they are available. They can’t see, and move forward, trying various positions. G’pa is sneezy and distracted. G’ma is fussy and protected. They are carrying on an argument. “Apples!” “Pears!” They get to the front, impatient now for the show to begin. All that’s on stage is a suitcase, with two red rubber balls atop it.
Inciting Accident: G’pa accidentally loops G’ma’s handbag on his arm. He rises and tries to disentangle himself, not at all sure how this thing became attached to him, making his way blithely up onto the stage. G’ma follows him up on stage, trying to disentangle him and getting a few good whacks in the process. On stage, G’pa finally gets the thing off, and it lands on the floor downstage of the suitcase. He pokes it with his cane to make sure it’s dead, then shuffles off to greet people, leaving arthritic G’ma to bend down and pick it back up. She does so, very, very slowly, and falls backward. G’pa is oblivious to her efforts, as she rolls back and forth, not quite able to right herself. Eventually she yelps, he notices her, then comes over to point her out to the audience and laugh at her. Whilst he does so, she knocks his cane out from under him. He falls, and she uses the cane to get up. Then she gives it back to him and he gets up with it. They fall against each other and descend to sit on the suitcase, exhausted.


The “Youthenating
Discovery of the Noses: The two yelp as they sit, then extract a red rubber ball (red noses) from beneath each of their bums. The balls falls out of their hands; they’re on strings. G’ma doesn’t know what to make of it, puts it away. G’pa plays with his, swinging it by the string, accidentally hitting G’ma in the head. She swats him back, and he begins sneezing incessantly, which brings him to standing. She rummages in her purse for a tissue and either 1) Pulls out the ball/nose, unaware it’s not a tissue, or 2) can’t find a tissue and chooses to use the nose instead. G’ma puts the nose to G’pa’s face, and he stops sneezing. When she takes her hand away, however, the red nose drops off again, and he begins sneezing again. She tries again, with the same result. On the third try, she notices the string and loops it around G’pa’s head to hold the nose on. It stays; crisis averted.
Nose Conversion: G’pa inhales through the new nose. It feels pretty new. He inhales again, and it draws him upright. He inhales a third time, and he’s young. He clicks his heels and looks around. G’ma is horrified by the transformation. G’pa tries to convert her, convince her to put on the other nose. She swats him away with her purse at each attempt. First his hand, then his head, then his unmentionables. Finally, G'pa winds up from a distance and throws the nose at her. It hits her square in the face. When she rights herself again, the red nose is stuck to her nose. G’pa tenderly wraps the cord around her head. Pause. G’ma “whoop-ee!”s with vigor. The two test out their youthenated bodies a bit, and begin to feel warm. G’pa takes off his hat, facing the audience. G-ma removes her shawl. They get into a turn-taking competition on entertaining the audience with their disrobing, the Woman at one point hiding in the audience to remove something, the Man audaciously flinging his pants off. At the bottom, they are dressed in brightly colored tank tops and shorts or skirt, and they are the Boy and the Girl. The Boy begins a game of tag with the Girl. They play for a bit, then the Boy tags an audience member, and it involves the whole audience. After this calms down (or they calm it down with a whistle) the Boy and Girl applaud the audience and sit exhausted together on the suitcase. [Music: Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano]
Rediscovery: Sitting on the box, the Boy and Girl relax and relive moments from their recent game of tag. Some gentle nudging, some playful imitations. In the midst of this cheerfulness, they pause, and a moment of romantic tension develops between them. [SFX: Sp-kang!] The Boy quickly breaks it, then runs off. Eek! The Girl is left alone, uncertain of the cause.

Solo de la Girl
Lecoq-clown sequence based on interaction with the audience, which incorporates the following:
a) Why did he run off?
b) Is it me?
c) Look better – dressing – bow bit.
d) Audience helps with bow.

Girl Woos Boy
The Boy enters in the midst of ecstatic pretend play, possibly as a pirate, perhaps as some other pertinent P-word. He stops suddenly when he sees the Girl, and disguises what he had been doing somehow. The Girl, with the audience’s help, decides to woo him.
She finds a stuffed dog in the suitcase, and offers it to him. He misinterprets it, playing roughly with it and interacting with the audience. She gets another idea, and begins writing him a love note on several pieces of paper. Meanwhile, he finds himself allergic to the dog and starts sneezing. As she hands him notes, he uses them to catch his sneezes, ruining them. On the third note, he pauses to look at it, then blows his nose in it and tosses it away. Finally, she finds a box of chocolates in the case and offers it to him. He is delighted, and begins trying them as he strolls away. She follows him. He repeatedly bites into a chocolate and, finding it unpleasant, tosses it over his shoulder, hitting her in the head. The Girl gets fed up, pummels the Boy with it all, and exits in a huff.

Solo de la Boy
a) The Boy is mystified by the Girl. He enlists audience’s help in understanding it, and making himself more presentable.

Boy Woos Girl
The Girl re-enters, and the Boy does his best to make it up to her. He’s better dressed now, and maybe shows off a little with a cane he’s found. He’s got her interest, but now what?
Valentino Sketch mod (this is a modified form of a sequence from Silent Lives for which we're hoping we can use the audience to be an advisory character, rather than our missing performer): i) Boy enlists various or single audience members to teach him how to woo the Girl.
ii) He follows their examples, badly, making a mess of it each time.
iii) Finally, the Boy simply asks the Girl to dance, which is a success. [SFX: Sp-kang!]

Dance, Dance, Dance
The Boy and Girl dance, slowly at first, then gaining momentum and doing progressively more intricate and impressive partnered movements. Incorporate dance sequence from Death + a Maiden (see 5/29/08 for last performance of this piece, which includes a dance segment). By the end, they have matured, and are now the Man and the Woman. They stand facing one another, holding hands, and the Woman kicks the Man in the shin. He falls immediately to one knee, still clutching her left hand. [The dance music segues directly into Pachelbel’s Canon (and Gigue in D major for three Violins and Basso Continuo)].

Determined Wedding
At the end of the dance, the two are in positions for the bride’s processional. Everything that can go wrong with the wedding, does, including: the bride keeps falling down in her processional, but refusing to be helped up by the groom; once she gets to the head of the church, they have trouble getting her veil lifted, leading to her wearing the Man’s top hat and he wearing her veil; the ring is missing, then the Man gets distracted swatting a fly as he’s supposed to put it on her finger, and she follows his hand with hers as he gestures; in her attempts to put the Man’s ring on him, he keeps sneezing, and they get it stuck on the wrong finger. In trying to get it off, elaborate acrobalance happens. Finally, finally, the two are married, and they sit, exhausted.

White Moment
This kind of moment was explained to Heather and I, when we were learning our clown style, as a suspension in which nothing happens, but something changes. It can be quite powerful. Friend Grey describes it as "the angel passing through."
It's also a terribly handy name for a section in which you have no idea what to do.


They Are Old Anew
The noses disappear, and the final article of clothing goes on, and the two are G’ma and G’pa once again. They start to quibble again, and it’s back to the strife of their entrance. They try to regain their youthful movements, but hurt themselves. They try to run off, but can’t stand properly without one another. G’pa starts sneezing again, and G’ma is out of tissues and starts to curse the heavens. Then she notices something in her handbag. She pulls out two roses, and places one over G’pa’s nose. He stops sneezing. She places the other over her own nose, and they inhale simultaneously. On the exhale, they smile at one another. They exit, and music comes up. [Music: To Vuo' Fa' L'Americano]


il Fino


We've definitely got our work cut out for us, but when you consider that we started with nothing, it's pride-inducing to have this much. (When you consider that we started with four years' worth of collaboration in almost precisely this medium behind us, the result is somewhat less than spectacular, so I try not to consider it that way.) This scenario will definitely change as we continue to work on it across the Atlantic, but I think the general ideas of a couple growing up together and exploring love will remain the same. That's our . . . oh . . . what's that word . . . ?

Idiom, sir?

Yes, yes! Our idiom!

2 comments:

Davey said...

Alright dude, I understand that you are not going to be able to post much in Italy, but honest to go, you are posting so much so fast I don't have time to think of witty things to say.

Hope you and the girl have a great last weekend for a while. Have a safe trip, and I hope we get to see you when you get back.

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks, Davey. And we'll definitely see each other! Ci vediamo!