Escape velocity

We are back from where we started.

Well, to be precise we are back to one of the places from where we started. Our sailing trajectories often look like orbits and a big point of attraction is Brunswick Georgia.

Brunswick is where we stopped longer than anywhere else so far on our Tranquility tour. Incidentally,  Brunswick is also where I lived the longer since I left Italy.

The perfect excuse to come back was the participation to the 1 Day Play, a theatrical event in which we took part two years ago when we were regular residents. We had such fun and gathered so much positive energy in that event that when we heard the call for writers, directors and actors we could not resist.

In the last edition Kate acted and I wrote one of the plays. The leopard does not change his spots, and so we did the same again.

As the name implies the 1 Day Play happens during a 24 hours span: producers, writers, directors and actors all meet Friday evening, bringing random props and costumes with them. The producers Evy and Emmi shared a schedule that would guide the efforts of everybody to be ready on stage at 7 pm on the very next day, having written, directed, rehearsed and produced the six short plays, just 22hours after the first meeting.

At 10pm I joined the group of six writers in the Old City Hall to write a 10 minutes play with three female characters (we had a shortage of male actors).  The result was a sci-fi thriller set in a distant solar system where the three characters need to find a way to repair their ship and leave a hostile planet.

I am once again impressed with the magic that I witness in the 1 Day Play. The limited time works like a catalyst in the artistic chain reaction, forcing the writers to a simple and raw script that then get refined by the intervention of directors and actors, who have to do their best with limited time and technical resources. This teaches us an important lesson on how limits become opportunities.

I am thankful to director and actor Betsy who curbed the roughest areas of my dialogues, and Fredi and Jessica for their acting, and to Peggy for coming up with an incredible Jello-Brain!

So as often happen one thing leads to another and after our successful artistic endeavor we found ourself sleeping on our old couches in Susan’s place and varnishing and painting the interior of Tranquility with some nasty paint. We also indulged in eating our favorite food all over town, visiting friends, building safety bars for our boat, and other million entertain

As soon as we got back, we are stuck in a whirpool of maintenance and upgrades, and social life.

 

This final preparation is important though. We decided we will sail soon away from shore, probably for a long time, and in order to do so we have to build escape velocity to win the pull that this place is exerting on us.

The idea of snorkeling, eating tropical fruit and discovering new places and cultures are equivalent to strong propulsion jets that are helping us knocking out the departure list.

We will reach the point where careful and thorough preparation will become just an exercise of obsessive behavior and resistance to change. That will be the very moment when we will have to push harder and defeat the gravitational pull of comforts, friends and family, and what is known to us and head into something a little different, that we have longed for.

You are going to hear about our trip soon.

An improbable playwright

         “Writing is a fine thing, because it combines the two pleasures of talking to yourself and talking to a crowd.”

Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living (1935-1950)

 

Writing the play in Old City Hall, Brunswick GA
Writing the play in Old City Hall, Brunswick GA

The last time I wrote a theatrical play I was a student, probably ten or more years ago. Nonetheless when I saw the opportunity to do it again I responded promptly even if this time I had to write it in a second language and a third language too (I wrote few lines in Spanish). This invitation was conformed to my umpteenth and most recent re-statement “I have to write more”.

24 Hour Play is an event that took place last Saturday in Brunswick, GA when six writers, six directors, and a bunch of actors gathered with only 24 hours to write, direct, rehearse and stage 6×10-minute plays, and with the mission to make it happen. I did my part writing “Wanderers”  from 10 pm to 4 am. Writers were given very few rules and a lot was left to pure imagination. Kate also participated acting in one the six plays, called Noir-esque, and showing a great talent on stage. You never stop learning from your partner.

Theater is magic. I have very few stage related experience but every time it is a great emotion and a personal success that I can’t explain. There is a chemical process that happens all the way from the script, to the production, the direction and the acting. In every passage things are refined and polished.

The first time I experienced this process we were a bunch of youngsters randomly assorted to set up a show with only one prompt: the main theme had to be “Black&White”. It was an event organized in a dormient neighborhood city of the Greater Milan. The event featured a B&W photo exhibit, African percussion and choir concert and, of course, theatrical performance. I had no previous experience in theatre thus I was nominated as producer, writer and actor. We couldn’t find many volounteers so somebody had to cover multiple roles. We gathered as many experienced actors as possible and they really taught everything to novices like me. The result was a show of four plays divided in two acts that was very successful.

I witnessed this thing happening again during the 24 Hour Plays. My script mutated through this process as better lines for memorization (and sense!), new ideas on how to set the story and new stage elements appeared along the way. These mutations bred a hybrid that really pleased my senses and understanding. I have to thank the director Megan Desrosiers, and the team of actors Itzel Fernandez, MacKay Hall, Bill Piper, Elliot Walsh who transformed my script in a living creature. I also have to thank Lulu Williamson, Evy Wright and Emmi Shepard Doucette for the big job of making all this happen. I would do it again tomorrow!