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Notturno Veneziano

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Rebel Leader
Staff member
Aug 12, 2013
a blue state
‘What do you think,’ I ask my architect, ‘supposing there were a veil of black fabric, only just transparent, behind which the figures of two dancers, a girl and a man, move as if they were souls in torment – at first subtly, while they touch the veil with their hands , and then more defined when their bodies collide with the fabric, which suddenly opens as if it were ripped apart - and the two dancers disappear, sweeping the veil to the sides, as if their souls have been whisked away? It would need a continuous sound, a single note, I think F sharp, played by an oboe ... '
think it would work brilliantly ... :)

Mar 10, 2007
Another bit, with the usual many many thanks to Eulalia and l'bogo, who do all the work! :)

The conductor listens to me, he seems to approve of my idea, but he advises me to use not just the two oboes but also four of the string section, that will play in scordatura, giving a sense of extreme tension, a pair of cymbals and a drum - the sound will have to increase, a crescendo from barely perceptible to fortissimo, like a thunderclap, at the moment when the veil is torn apart. I agree, the rest of the players can go out for a short break.

I call the dancers over to explain that two of them will have to interpret the imprisoned souls behind the curtain, a very young ballerina and her partner volunteer enthusiastically, the others can rest while we rehearse it.

Everything is ready, the architect starts recording the video, the instruments sing out the searing note that rises in intensity, the dancers begin to touch the fabric of the curtain with their hands, the spotlights highlighting their gestures, projecting shadows below them, then with their legs and the bodies, they seem to be striving to cross the barrier. At the stroke of thunderclap, they quickly pull the curtain, which opens from the top, sideways to the wings, disappearing as if their souls had flown. The whole sequence has taken less than a minute, leaving the scene in the dark. The conductor applauds, he is convinced that the idea will give a special touch before the crucial moment when the funeral procession enters.

Now it's my turn, the scene that I’ve been so anxious about, not today, but when I'm stretched out naked on the framework of stakes, like the ones they’ve just used during the fight scene, and they will carry me lifeless, to the sound of a funeral march of profound pathos, from the rear of the stage towards the proscenium, and then turn towards the wing on stage right.

The eight bearers are ready, the frame is on the ground. I position myself on the rods, feel myself being raised, lifting ...

'No! No! I risk falling... it needs an extra rod in it, crosswise, and a couple more carriers. I can’t be rigid, supporting myself, my body must look floppy, almost sagging. '

We repeat the scene, while the architect diligently resumes the video ...

'Don’t cancel the failed try, I’ll have to show it to Madame to explain what I’m recommending.'

So, right, now I can take a pose of abandonment in death, lifted up on the shoulders of my bearers. My legs, slightly apart, rest on two longitudinal rods, my bare feet falling free with my ankles resting on the first crossing rod; under my thighs the second rod prevents the weight of my body letting me sink downwards, as does the one supporting my kidneys; the fourth is behind my armpits, allowing me to keep my arms spread out falling, my head falls back with my hair loose.

'Oh no! We can’t do it this way! If you carry me horizontally, the audience will see only my open legs! No! No! You’ll have to lower yourselves there in front, and you behind, raise my shoulders higher. And we’d better not take this line, from the back of the stage straight in front of the audience... remember that I’ll be naked, it would become an obscene performance! We’ll start from the left, then move towards the centre, and finally we turn right towards the wings. Okay?'

So we resume to the trial, now I’ll have to hook myself to the stake that’s supporting me at shoulder level, but I can do that in a natural way, where I am stretched out on my 'cross'. The funeral march, slow and full of tension, accompanies the 'promenade' of my burial...

All the dancers observe, intrigued. At the end everyone applauds, the conductor with his baton, and the orchestra with their instruments, beat on their music stands as a sign of approval. I may have passed this test, but Madame will still have to agree to the changes that have proved necessary.

I exit behind the wings, they welcome me with a cheer. But how will it be when I'm naked on the stage of La Fenice? My legs are trembling at the thought.

'Did you get it all?'

'Yes, and I’ve taken pictures with my camera too – I can show you the bluetooth right now.'

'Let me see, I'm curious!'

'Here you are, so fabulous!'

I look with amazement at the images that flow by on the screen, As well as an architect, he's a good photographer too.

It makes a certain impression to be seen in video: when we look in a mirror, our image is turned falsely from left to right, so we often go wrong when we're practising at the barre in front of the mirror: we try to change our position, only those who are watching us from a distance can detect our inaccuracies, and we must not complain if our choreographer takes us back and makes us repeat the exercises.
Mar 10, 2007
Friday afternoon.

That's enough for today, we'll see you next Tuesday. We wish each other well, exchanging greetings for a happy Easter.

'I've worked up an appetite ... do you fancy a bite?'

'Yes, sure, but we’ll have to walk a little way - to the Rialto at least, there isn’t any good eating place around here.'

'You know all the holes in the city.'

'Then today is Good Friday ... I don’t know what they’ll be serving, they respect tradition here.'

'For my empty stomach one day’s like any other - a good dish of pasta, maybe with a seafood sauce, that shouldn’t break any tradition.'

Let’s go.'

We turn left onto the Calle Lunga Santa Caterina, then across the Ponte del Chiodo to get to the quays along the Rio San Felice, it’s the shortest way to the Grand Canal. The sky has darkened with heavy clouds laden with rain, perhaps a spring storm is boiling up, a rumble of thunder is heard in the distance - let's hurry! Before reaching the Strada Nuova, the one that all the tourists swarm along, we turn left again.

'You’d better take me to a Venetian restaurant! Around here there’s nothing but trattorias run by foreigners to plunder tourists.'

'Trust me ...'

Just in time, as the first drops of a deluge begin to fall, we cross the threshold of a small tavern. The sign is barely visible, I can’t read the name, but a good smell of well-cooked food greets me as I enter, not fried stuff.

In spite of the tiny entrance door, the room is large, with an understated decor, white tablecloths, shiny dishes, everything looking very clean, casseroles and copper pots hanging on the walls, and unexpectedly, an upper floor that can be seen through a large opening in the ceiling.

'Sior architeto, what a surprise! What a pleasure to see you, and la bela puta xé you’ve found!’

He’s known here!

'This lady is a prima ballerina of La Fenice, I’m working for her on the set of a new ballet.'

'Aha! Le xé... she is your commander now?!’

The innkeeper, a man in his fifties, with a friendly and good-natured face, is somewhat surprised.

'Vegne with mi, ghe ve I find a quiet place de above.'

'What do you recommend?' asks the architect.

'The menu d'ogi, on Good Friday, if you like it that way.'

He hands us a hand-written paper with beautiful feminine calligraphy. –

- Tagliolini della casa, made without eggs, served with shrimps, scallops and fresh spinach.
- Salad Serenissima, with rocket, pear, Taggiasca olives, pine nuts, and steamed calamari.

‘To drink, I can offer you a special wine...’

I nod assent to my cavalier.

'Very well,' confirms the architect. The innkeeper bows to me, in deference.

He immediately returns with a plate of bread, a thin sheet of dough baked over the fire, with a mixture of rosemary and fresh herbs, a drizzle of oil. He pours me a half-glass of a white wine with a golden tint, and the fresh bouquet of a new vintage, a very simple aperitif to occupy the wait. The lunch is delicious, perfect, even the wine blends with the flavours of the sea that embellish the fresh pasta and simple salad.
Mar 10, 2007
'What do you think of this ballet?'

'It seems very daring, modern, to the limit ...'

'I'm worried, a lot, this nude performance may be too much for the public – a lot of them are still traditionalists, we’re risking controversy and failure.'

'I don’t think so, you have to take risks – I’m surprised you have these qualms.'

'What do you mean?'

'I’m not criticising you, I can understand you, but you are a rascally girl, certainly no nun ...'

'You can say that, you don’t have to strip naked! And then I'm worried about the fact that there is no long-awaited Romeo, one has evaporated, Madame’s away to Russia to look for another, and who knows if she’ll find one...'

'If you don’t find one, I'll volunteer...'

'You couldn’t dance two steps, you chump!'

The innkeeper brings us coffee. We would like to go out, but the persistent rain, almost a storm, advises us against the adventure. The host invites us to go into a small room with windows that project above the alley, while he clears the dining room.

'Okay, turn on your bluetooth and I'll download my viceo.'

'Did you make a video?'

'Of course, I didn’t want to miss the chance.'

'I should tell you to delete it, to respect the privacy of the dancers! Videos may not made without their consent.’

'But you're really strange, you told me to film ...'

Activate the function, the upload starts, it will take some time before it is finished. In the meantime we enjoy the spectacle of the rain which, wetting the glass, creates ever-changing liquid arabesques, and the rivulets of water that flow on the cobblestones of the alleyway. The gutters are flooded by the water cascading down from the roofs, they can no longer carry the mass of liquid, overflowing and creating waterfalls. Suddenly a flash, followed immediately by thunder, illuminates the room, the roar is so intense that everything trembles. It seems like an earthquake, a tall, narrow vase with a purple orchid in it falls to the ground and breaks. The electircal discharge runs along the eaves of the houses like a fiery snake – terrifying!

At last the rain eases, and the file-transfer is complete. The host provides us with a free pair of folding umbrellas with jointed rods, they look like legs of alien spiders, just to cover our shoulders in the rain that is now falling only lightly. How beautiful it is to walk on the stones avoiding the puddles, it seems a ballet danced to a rhythm dictated by a sequence of random notes.

I wish my knight goodnight, tonight I shall be alone, he has family commitments he can not avoid. In my room on the third floor of the theatre I can relax, a good hot shower will take away any strain.