Something From Sennai

“How was Italy?”

I’ve been asked that question by so many of you… since before the plane even landed at JFK!

The short answer is, “Fantastic!”

For those who are asking “So what did you do there? How’d it go?” here are some of the highlights. For even more pics and quips, check out our Facebook page 😉

23 Oct

(In the spirit of the trip, the dates are in Euro-format 😉 )

Landed in Rome. My usual talent for sleeping in moving vehicles that I’m not simultaneously operating went on spontaneous sabbatical. Ah, well. I got my exercise, tossing and turning ’til we landed in Rome. We piled into a van and made our way into town. Rome wasted no time in breaking out the gorgeous architecture.

 

coliseumauditorium

 

We pulled up in a lovely residential neighborhood and saw the theater. After walking around the building in search of an open door, we found our way inside and met the Teatro Greco’s founder, Renato Greco. He and his staff gave us a warm welcome and a tour.

There was still a delay getting into our housing (“It’s Italy!), so Alessandra treated us to a cappuccino nearby. I asked our company manager, Robert, if it was acceptable to order decaf. He gave me the green light with a disclaimer that decaf is not widely approved of in Italy, so to ask at my own peril. So after only a handful of hours in Rome, I risked bodily harm and requested decaf. The café owner willingly obliged and the cappuccino was DELICIOUS.

 

cappucinofountain 2fountain

 

Alessandra and Robert took us into the city’s center, where we stayed until bedtime. The weather was gorgeous as we waked through piazza after piazza. It was well worth prying my eyes open 😉

24-26 Oct

The next three days were a combo of rehearsals, sleep, lots of stretching (based on this tour, I’ve ascertained that Italians like really firm beds), and sightseeing. Performances would be at 9pm, so that gave us time to rehearse and explore the city a bit.

 

coliseum2holyseefireplace

 

Highlights include the Coliseum, the Vatican (including the sit in at the Vatican ;), and the fact that on more than one occurrence, someone asked me for directions in a language other than English (Spanish and another time in Italian)…and I was able to answer! Granted, my responses were in a mashup of languages and mime, but hey, at least I was mistaken for a local…and I happened to have the info they needed.

backstage As we rehearsed in Italy, it seemed as though the story I tell in the show could do with an infusion of Italian, so I asked Mario (our director, pictured), Luda (asst. director), and Alessandra (Artistic Director and company founder) for various Italian words that I sprinkled throughout (sprinkling being apropos for a story about a chocolate cake;). Definitely worth the adjustment, as many audience members told us afterward that they understood my story even though it was in English. Whew!

The crowds were very warm. Of the many discoveries I made about Italian customs, one of the most surprising was the audience coming backstage within moments of the curtain coming down. Talk about a quick change (that’s a theater term for changing clothes in a hurry)! Also, most of the bathrooms are out of soap. I have no idea why—everything looks very clean, so there must be soap of some kind somewhere. But I digress…

 

ilenealessandrapizzailenecaro

 

On opening night, I was delighted to see an old friend of mine, Caro. She had brought friends to the show and then joined Robert, Alessandra and a bunch of us for a bite afterwards. It was great to catch up – and I had my first Pizza Capricciosa.

 

gucciexhausted

 

27 Oct

After another performance and a VERY short night, we rose super early for our morning flight to Sardegna. We got to the airport early enough for both a stroll around the terminal…and a nap.

27-31 Oct

Sardegna is a beautiful island. We landed around 9:30am. After a bit of waiting to sort out some baggage damage (not mine, thankfully), we went to get our wheels. There was an artisanal gelato stand right next to the rental car place, so while we waited for Alessandra to pick up the car, I treated myself (hey, I’d been up for at least 6 hours by then!). Yum!

 

gelatonewspaperteatro

 

The next few days were similar to Rome in that we had time to sightsee, catch up on rest, and of course, rehearse. There were also press conferences, which were very interesting to witness (Alessandra handled the communicating with reporters as interviews were in Italian). Yes—that’s my picture with the article. Don’t know how that happened!

Artistic Director of Teatro Civico di Sinnai, Maria Assunta (pictured with me a little farther down the page) , was with us every step of the way. She took a few of us to see her theater the very first night. The theater looks like an Off-Broadway house with a local feel.

We hopped up on the stage to find it was raked (the floor is slanted to be higher in the back and lower as it gets closer to the audience) and realized we needed to do a little adjusting for the dancing in the show 😉

 

teatroseatsmasquesrakedstage

 

Fortunately, Luda (assistant director) joined us in Sardegna to rehearse us and run lights and sound during the performances. Dinners were late in Sardegna and the locals were just wonderful. We had a talkback (or talkforward as the case may be, because it was held before the show) and they had so many questions and thoughts to share! One even made us a local sweet delicacy to enjoy backstage.

 

treatsfamily

 

The Sardegnans wanted to understand as much of the show as they could. Since they spoke less English than our Roman audiences, I got the green light to say more in Italian. It certainly kept things exciting for me—and fortunately, the audience understood more of what I was saying!

It was wonderful to meet so many members of Alessandra’s family and see her in her element. When we weren’t rehearsing or onstage, all of us wandered around; sometimes alone or together. We saw the nearby areas and took the bus to the coastal town and Sardegnan capital, Cagliari.

Cagliari is more cosmopolitan than Sinnai, with its own gorgeous buildings, parks and a castle. (I didn’t get to the castle….maybe one day.) We saw lotsa ducks in the Parco Monte Urpinu. They got real close.

 

ducksducks2

 

Closing night came all too fast and after a final celebration and a few hours sleep, it was back to the airport.

This time, Caro met me at Arrivals and we hit the road.

 

airporttheroad

 

A couple days in the Italian countryside. It was lovely!

 

countrysidedinnertimeeats

 

And delicious. And for the first time in Italy, I was given a truly sharp knife for my meal. Ah joy!

 

synagoguedome

 

So many towns and such natural beauty…and kismet! In Orvieto, we found ourselves at a chocolate festival. In Assisi, we stumbled into an olive oil festival. What a fantastic and serendipitous lack of planning!

Back in Rome, we made our way to the Great Synagogue of Rome and then rounded out the evening with a trip to the Pantheon and lovely dinner.

 

chapelmussels

 

Umbrellas in tow, we had to dodge the deposits from the thousands of birds swarming overhead. I posted a little video on Facebook so you can get the full effect. Hitchcock would have been inspired. It was unreal!

plane windowBefore I knew it, I was back on a plane. I could have easily stayed for more adventures, and hopefully one day soon, I’ll be back…

Check out our album of pics and quips if you want to see more…

Ciao for now!
ilenesig

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