Padova Update: Teatro Immagine & the Sartori Museum
Dear Dawn and Christopher,
Ciao da Padova! Thank you again for the coffee last week . It was wonderful to reconnect, and I hope we can stay in touch.
It's my hope to share with you some of my experiences here, specifically as they relate to the artistic work we had discussed at Half Italian (masks, theatrical endeavors, & the Italian experience). If you ever have any questions, please let me know.
It's theatre season here, which runs from the end of October through June. (The summer is filled with theatre "festivals.") During theatre season, companies do one-off shows as opposed to "runs." In fact, Sara says, "Oh yeah, runs don't exist here." (The massive shows, however, will do runs (think the Italian "Broadway in Chicago"), and they're the exception.) The one-off shows themselves are fully produced, however. Why this is the case?
So far in my time in this country, I've found that the answer to that question...whenever it pops up...which, for me, is often...the answer to that question is usually, "Because it's been like that forever." And that's kind of the answer here. There's a strong "traveling troupe" tradition in Veneto, so these one-offs move all around the province, and the shows feel more like concerts than they do "theater."
Speaking of, I saw my first commedia show! It was cool. It was hilarious to me that people were talking in the audience during it, commenting on what's going on on stage, laughing, emoting, etc. The audience was just...loud. The show was a commedia "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde." So, you had the classic commedia characters, who everyone in the audience knew, and those characters were doing their version of this story. I think the closest thing we might have to this in America is the Simpson's Halloween Special, where we see characters we know and love doing stories that may belong to different worlds. The mash-up was cool, and the audience really dug it.
Then, I toured the Sartori mask museum. If you're in the north, this is a must-see. It's in a town called Abano Terme...really kind of in the middle of nowhere, and it's an exhibition of a world-famous mask-maker's work. His life's work, and the work of his father. As far as the world of mask goes, the Sartoris were hugely influential in Europe, and the sheer size of the body of their work is mind-boggling. The masks are beautiful (we trained with the commedia and neutral masks in Paola's school), and they provoked in me many mixed emotions. It was strange to yearn for a type of theatre I'd never seen before. The museum is a rich emotional experience as well as an intellectual one, and I highly recommend going if you can.
Those were the big "arts" things that happened this week. Re. the marriage, we're getting all the paperwork done. It's so cool! It feels great to be here and be with her. It's right.
I look forward to sharing more of my experiences with you as they happen! Thank you again for reconnecting, and I hope to see you when I return for a week in June!