18 June 2008

Italy 08: Day 7, part 2


First, here are some shots from the morning of 17 June, our performance day, just so you can get some perspective of what our show sort of looked like in the morning and afternoon:

Here's Giusi, whose role was sort of amorphous but who basically served as a festival production manager. She's holding Michael's Bill doll, who is, appropriately, in nose:

Rehearsal onstage:

Rehearsing the don't-push-the-button sequence from the show:

Notes after the run:

Where my set-up was, relative to the stage:

Here's Jaymi, writing cues during our lunch break. I'm still not sure how she did it in sunlight:

Shortly after I blogged yesterday, the rain started coming down. We had taken many precautions with the equipment (canopy, rain shields, plastic paint coverings), so I wasn't worried about the equipment getting damaged. I was, however, worried about the show. If it was raining, we certainly could not perform outside.

I spent the afternoon at the antifeatro, babysitting my gear from both the elements and thieves (you never know). Cambria, Benny, and I amused ourselves by playing Scopa. At 5.30, one of the festival directors came over to talk about whether we should cancel or not. Eli wasn't around, so we decided to reconvene at 7pm to discuss our 9pm show. The director came back a few minutes later with an alternate plan: the weather report said that the rain would let up by 8pm, so we would reconvene at 8.00 to figure out whether we could do the show in the antifeatro. If we chose to abandon the antifeatro, we would have access to the academie to perform. They had a small rehearsal hall that we could use. We'd have to restage a bit and perform without Jaymi's lighting design, but we would at least be able to perform.

Over the next hour, we watched the rain come down. We thought that we'd see breaks in the clouds, only to have the rain redouble its efforts at squashing our show. The group from Berlin that was scheduled to perform at 11pm had already cancelled their show, as they could not rehearse due to rain. Since we didn't have to finish in time to let the Berliners start, we decided that we could also delay the curtain to let the rain let up.

By 8.15, the rain was more intense and the sky was getting dark. Jaymi and I talked to Eli, who was helping the clowns get into whiteface, and we decided to move the show to the academie. Michael, Jaymi, and I immediately started breaking down our equipment, and a teacher at the academie started shuttling our 20-ish clowns to the academie from the antifeatro (a 7-minute drive or a 30-minute walk). Contrary to popular belief, you can not fit 20 clowns in one car, no matter how small.

When we got to the academie, the staff and students were already prepping our room for us. It was very live, so I asked students to bring in racks of costumes to absorb sound. They set up chairs, cleaned the floor, and tidied up a storage closet for a greenroom. Jaymi and Fiona taped down speaker cable:

I set up my gear. Michael and Holly were prepping softgoods and costume pieces. The last-minute rain-out and change of venue created a tremendous energy in the room. Here's our company moments before the house opens:

We opened the 'house' at about 9.40pm. It filled up in about 5 minutes, which was great considering that so many people had driven from Arezzo to the academie to see the show. Jaymi, instead of creating a beautiful and nuanced design, was in charge of the light switches. Eli filmed. I did what I do.

And it was incredible. From the very beginning of the show, when Benny and I forgot our interplay and improvised his awkward strip tease, to the birth of the clowns, to their death, resurrection, exodus, and landing on earth, the show was moving. It was funny, sad, weird, and immensely enjoyable. I was blown away by the experience of it, and everyone afterwards had great things to say.

Here's Fiona & Cambria after the show. Look at that excitement!

After the show, we packed up and zipped back to Arezzo. We had dinner at Mr. Bloom's, a local bar, which was packed with our people and Italians celebrating the soccer win. Here are two shots from the bar:

Dinner turned into some drinking and celebrating, and the short and the long is that Jaymi and I ended up getting about two hours sleep. We got home at 3.45am and got up at 5.45am. We caught the 7.14 express to Rome, had some breakfast, wandered town for a while, and then I caught the train to the airport. I'm sitting in the airport now as I write, waiting for my flight to JFK. From there, I'll get a flight to Minneapolis to see Sarah and friends!

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