Montone: In the service of Dionysus

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By most accounts, our del Verziere spettacolo was a grand success. It came off as a powerful, dramatic piece, and that was the intent. Five all-out rape scenes in a very challenging (as in STEEP) setting also took its toll on us. Skinned knees and elbows, bruises, banged shins, jammed fingers, and scraped toes, all in the service of Dionysus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, theater and ecstasy.

Rape Scene
The world seems fresh and interesting today. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do. Night after night of dropping into bed in the wee hours when others are getting up takes its toll on body and soul.

By most accounts, our del Verziere spettacolo was a grand success. It came off as a powerful, dramatic piece, and that was the intent. Five all-out rape scenes in a very challenging (as in STEEP) setting also took its toll on us. Skinned knees and elbows, bruises, banged shins, jammed fingers, and scraped toes, all in the service of Dionysus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, theater and ecstasy.
Campfire Scene

The morning after our performance was a little unsettling as I realized most of the town had seen me half naked. Then again, this is Italy, and that sort of thing is taken as natural.  Besides, I was attacked by Jeff, time after time, and that is always big fun.

An Australian friend asked me a question, “Does the same sort of thing happen in the States? Do townspeople put on plays celebrating the American Revolution? It doesn’t happen in Australia.”  The question stopped me cold. In the US, “patriotism” has become a political  stance not a simple emotion to be celebrated.  What a loss.

A seasonal neighbor on our street, who lives most of the time in Milano, remarked that the kids in Milano would never put this much energy into a town project.  And I don’t know that this level of inter-generational involvement happens in the States.
Surreal women

Last night we attended del Borgo’s performance of “DOMINA”, a surreal look of a woman’s lot in life as the men went off to battle. An enormous circular staged was pulled by medieval plowmen displaying the seasons of life. It was a simple and powerful presentation.

Piazza
The quality of these performance pieces is very high and they are discussed and critiqued with the precision of a surgical scalpel. Points are given for the set, the use of space (Using a medieval town as the setting is both evocative, authentic and convenient, but it is also extremely challenging..you can’t move a well or columns or change the grade of a very steep slope.) Points are deducted for using professional actors instead of townspeople, or incorporating modern costume elements…like lycra.

Some of the life long residents talk nostalgically of  a time when everyone gathered every evening in the piazza for dancing and gossip. They talk of a lost intimacy and shared experiences; a sense of community that dissolved with the coming of TV, internet, and cellphones. I Soreelli

But, I’m not worried. Montone is a town that gathers all of its creative juices, from every willing player and you can’t tell me I haven’t bonded with my two rape sisters after many late night rehearsals and performances. Besides, we’ll all be working in the taverna cucina for the next few nights, still in the service of Dionysus.

Thanks to Libby Barber for the del Verziere spettacolo photos!

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