Apart from school I’ve never acted on stage. Some might argue that as a teacher I’ve been in a stage situation – obtaining the audience’s attention, verifying that they’re getting the point, managing entrances and exits, speaking clearly and, most important of all, not forgetting one’s lines (or what one is teaching).
It was, therefore, with anticipation that I attended a production of a play at Bagni di Lucca’s Teatro Accademico last week. The actors Daniela Orsi, Debora Carrera, Erica Stringari and Maria Teresa Mucini were all appearing on stage for the very first time. However, they were not school children but adults. The play was called Vite, an adaption of Due Partite (‘Two card games’) by Cristina Comencini.
It case you didn’t know, Cristina Comencini is the daughter of film director Luigi Comencini. Cristina could be described as a sort of Italian equivalent of the sadly recently departed Carla Lane in that she has scripted several films, written plays, novels (she was encouraged to write by Natalia Ginzburg) and short stories. Comencini is also a film director; one her most recent books, ‘Quando La Notte’ (translated into English as ‘When the Night’) has been made into a film which she directed.
The scene of Vite is set in the Sixties. Every Thursday afternoon four women meet to play cards and chat about various things, particularly on motherhood, especially as the youngest of the women is pregnant with her first child. Just the first act was performed. In the second act the children of the women in the first act have grown up and are attending a funeral.
It would have been interesting if the second act was also performed as it is surely dramatically essential since it compares and contrasts attitudes presented by the mums of the first act. However, the play worked perfectly well with just the first act and I was only made aware that there was, in fact, a second act afterwards.
It was difficult to believe that this was the first time the actors appeared on any stage. They performed fluently without any fluffs and gestures and pauses were very well timed. Most important of all their delivery was excellent and their voices projected well. Naturally, all this could not have been achieved without the teachers in charge of the theatre course which took place in Bagni di Lucca.
The theatre was well-filled and the applause given at the end was truly well-deserved. Congratulations to all those brave and bold enough to start treading the boards when they are no longer spring chickens. Perhaps I might join this year’s theatre course…
(Phone number for the course 347 3186 923)
Here are some scenes from Vite
Most photographs by courtesy of pro-Loco chair Valerio Ceccarelli