ITALIA: June 23, 2007

As our Italy trip begins to wind down here, we refocus on planning for next year. This morning, between breakfast and lunch, we met for two hours to discuss tomorrow’s meeting(s) of the minds. We’re scheduled to meet with Piero at 3:00 to further discuss his proposal for next year’s course structure (a plan which, though the three actors were enthusiastic about at the time, has since come to seem limiting in some ways), then at 4:00 to get Sebastiano together with Andrea at Andrea and Natsuko’s place for a couple of hours to meet and discuss potential creative collaboration. Finally, much later that night, we get to see Lucianna again as she returns from visiting Giorgio, to discuss with her what aspects of next year’s logistics she’s interested in being involved with.

So today we began the discussion from my desire to achieve a better understanding of what we were coming to the table with on all these meetings. The good prospects of our collaboration with Andrea—and through him hopefully Angelo, the talented commedia actor we’ve seen on video—and Sebastiano have shifted our focus from the entire trip being about training American and other students, to spending half of it seeing what we can create (hopefully the beginnings of a show) with Italian artists.

The proposal as it stands now—our proposal to ourselves—is to arrive at the start of June and spend three weeks in rehearsal and meetings with whatever Italian actors we can, with the aim of training and creating a show together. During this time we Americani would also be teaching classes in theatre et al to the interested students at LinguaSi, as a way of incorporating the school more and potentially making more money while we’re here. The fourth week is when the American students would arrive for a week of intensive Italian classes through LinguaSi, during which time we would have our last week of rehearsal with the Italiani, hopefully to present some kind of show to those students at the end of the week (“This is what you’ll be doing by the end of your time here.”) Thereafter we would enter the last two weeks, in which time our training of the students in theatre and commedia dell’arte would commence, enhanced by association with genuine Italian commediani and culminating in a performance in Italian at the end of that period. It occurs to me now that we could also, in that time, research possibilities for taking our professional Italian/American show to the next phase and new venues.

It’s an exciting proposal, and after our meeting I feel more confident about everybody getting something of what they want out of it. It includes the prospect of bringing Andrea over to America to perform at The Northeast Theatre, and of taking Silent Lives, eventually, to Italy. I still have some concerns, but they’re of a scope impossible to deal with at this stage. This plan relies on grant funding for the first half of the trip, something we have historically had no luck with as regards getting to Italy. Hopefully our new collaborations will change our luck with that. It’s also a great deal of time to be out of the country. This is tempered by the fact that we’d be working on our own theatre at this time and the long-term pay-off of that, but it’s likely it will make it close to impossible for Todd and his rapidly burgeoning New York career, and we’ll have to be sure of a certain degree of income for ourselves to even allow the possibility. None of these concerns, however, tamp my enthusiasm for the scope and aspect of this proposal. It seems possible. It seems exciting and necessary, and where the program needs to head.

Our meeting evolved in to a discussion of the differences between Italian and American mentalities, the purpose of our show here and discussions of the profound effects this place has had on us so far. It was a lovely talk that extended past lunch, and gave me the idea to do a ‘blog entry upon my return on The Complete Idiot’s Guide to What Not to do When Visiting Italy. I’m certainly qualified to write such a guide.

I spent the siesta happily exercising (my pelvic floor dysfunction has become mercifully manageable through stretching and, probably, wine with every meal) and bounding about the yard working on my handstand and toward an aerial (just one, God, that’s all I ask [and a non-broken neck in the process]) before we loped up to Orvieto. And finally, finally, I posted to the Aviary. I mean: DAMN. It seemed as though it just wasn’t meant to be until we were about to leave. I swung by StatCounter to see how my absence had affected readership, to discover it had dwindled to about four hits per day, except ever-fruitful Wednesday, which kept some buoyancy around twenty hits. What is it about hump day that makes everyone read ‘blogs? Is it the height of working-day boredom, perhaps?

After Orvieto we sped off to Sant Angelo to see if either David’s friend Mauro or a feste (the event, not the Shakespearean character) were about. Neither were, so we continued on to Bolsena to have dinner on the lake and walk the site of last year’s busking victory. As we strolled up to the fountain where we had performed the Valentino excerpt last year (through a bustling gardening market with live blues music [Todd, you would have had to guest perform.]) we found it looked as though it had been brushed up a bit, possibly painted and repaired. People strolled about admiring orchids and petunias, but I stood imagining dancing with Italian children to Todd’s incomparable rendition of “At Last.”