22 January 2009
NOTE: This is an older entry, only being posted now, because I can haz bizyness...
So. As I have noted in previous posts, Zuppa del Giorno has been building up for a while now to the project in which we are now embroiled in earnest -- a comic version of Romeo & Juliet. What may not have been entirely clear from my previous posts (largely because it was not entirely clear to me at the time of said posting) was just how ambitious and ridiculous this adventure would be. I mean: Really. We are reinterpreting the play using traditions of commedia dell'arte and clowning, verse and prose and improvised dialogue, not to mention passages spoken in Italian. The set is being built specifically to be sturdy and climbable, the floor is padded for falls and it is looking somewhat optimistic for Juliet's bed to be, in fact, a circus silk from which Friend Heather and I can hang and climb. We have two Italian collaborators working with us, one of whom is a maestro of the commedia dell'arte. We've been at it for little over a week now, and we're definitely finding our stride, with maybe ten days' real rehearsal left before tech rehearsals begin.
It's all very exciting. And difficult. And cold. Why didn't anyone tell me it would be this cold?
(They did; I just didn't listen.)
"So how is it going?" I hear you ask from behind the folds of the interwebs, your multitudinous voices betraying just the slightest strain of deep-seated desperation? Be calm, Dear Readers, or, as Angelo Crotti screams at Romeo when he's a little more than worked up: "CALME TE!" It is going well. As with any theatrical enterprise, the show is not shaping up to be exactly what I imagined, but that is probably for the best. There's a lot risk in it now, and certainly a great deal more variety. For example, I was thrown to discover just how much of the scenework would involve improvisation over the text, and for a couple of days I wanted to gouge my eyes out with icicles of my own anxiety. That sounds bad, I know, but neither is it hyperbole. I really get that worked up over the work. Hopefully you'll give me the benefit of the doubt, and see this as evidence of my passion for what I make. The fact is, I'm not making this show -- I'm helping to make it, and it needs to be what it will be. So I'm finding peace in the idea of a show with ample modern language mixed in with the Shakespeare; and anyway, I overreacted. The original text is proving just as virulent as contempo-speak. Our Mercutio, potentially the least comfortable with the original text (next to the Italians) frequently slips into the original text mid-improvisation. Billy-boy just wrote good, and it's that simple. That having been said, the man did write a whole lot, and the past few days have been much-consumed with line-memorization for yours truly.
It's rather like this thus far, all-in-all: Today was great work, yesterday was terrible, tomorrow -- who knows? And that's part of the joy. Where will it all lead? Hopefully to many laughs, and at least a couple of well-earned tears. That's all I ever ask for, really, from the theatre.