Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Che danno al teatre?"

I've been taking an Italian class with a daunting name ("Intensive Elementary Italian") and a delightful implementation, and tonight's lesson was built around a dialog about going to the theater.

It turns out that in Italy, you don't ask "What are they showing at the theater?" or "What's playing?" or "What's being done?" Instead, you ask, "What are they giving?"

So a play is something that the audience receives, like a gift. The actors and director and tech crew present it to those in the seats.

The people sitting there, dressed in their finery, cleaned up and made up, take in the play. They hold it in their hands, look at it, turn it over and around. They take it home with them. Maybe some of them put in on the shelf, but maybe one girl puts it on her dresser, next to her mirror. Every morning, she sees that gift sitting there. That bright and unforgiving surface keeps showing her a cold portrait. She stares and wonders how the world will see her face, evaluating proportions and angles and colors. But as her vision narrows to magnify the pits and imperfections in her skin, in the corner of eye she catches sight of the play. The story flashes across her mind like lightning, and suddenly her inner climate changes.

She's on the set, and the story is unfolding around her, and wrapping her up in gentle folds. They gave her this play, at the theater that night. She received this story. It's hers now, to keep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's so interesting. Beautifully written Jen. The term "keeping" made me think of "the Lord bless you and keep you" I always like that "keep you" part. Like belonging.