Sunday, June 26, 2011

This cat was not in the show, but you get the idea. It was very meow/miu.
DANZA, Lucchese style
At first I thought 19 euro a ticket was a bit steep for a dance school end of the year performance.  But this is Lucca, baby. So of course the show took place at Teatro del Giglio which is gorgeous and luxurious and pristine in its cleanliness. Then there was the fact there were 22 numbers not counting the final bow segment that went kinda long. There were no photos allowed in the theater so you are going to have to use the Kodak in your minds.

For me the standouts of the night were the mambo routine where only one brave boy wearing a panama hat had to dance with his eight year old or so female companion with a crew of girls surrounding them.  This little boy could shake his shake-a shake-a and roll his shoulders while keeping time with the music, so take that!  Then T's friend Caoimhe's mother surprised me by coming out in a drop dead belly dancing costume with the jewels and trust me when I tell you that a lot of wives were elbowing their husbands and helping them to close their open jaws.

There were also acting scenes that, strangely enough, had nothing to do with dance.  There was one family confrontation scene about a widow and her scandalous love which was introduced by Pink Floyd's The Wall.  A bizarre choice of entrance music, I thought, but I also want to cry and beat my breast when forced to listen to that song so I could identify with the lead actress completely.

There was a scene from Riccardo III which was also very well acted, but I don't know why they stuck it in between the dance numbers. Then there were the little teeny tiny ballerinas in their teal tutus who were constantly either hamming it up for their grandmas who gasped bellina, bellina in throaty smoking grandma voices from all around the theater or looking behind the curtains for clues from their teachers about what to do next.

Oh, tesoro, we are only up to seven euros. There was a lot more to come! There was a contemporary dance number that could well have been called Girl Interrupted and took place in an insane asylum where one Wynona Ryder looking girl pulled out her eyelashes, another got electro shock therapy, and a third just rocked and rocked. It was good, though. But a bit jarring after the little bellina tutu girls.

T's friends Greta and Caoimhe danced a jubilant festive ballet number wearing kind of peasant girl frocks and looking very full of light and joy. We clapped our hands off for that and for little sister Lia's jazz number.  And then Caoimhe's mother Lisa came back and did a bollywood number that was also worthy of So You Think You Can Dance type recognition.

Of course no Italian evening of the arts is complete with not one, but two number from the musical Cats. You have not heard the song Memories until you hear it sung with all the heart and extra syllables that an Italian woman can bring to it.

The highlight was perhaps the hip hop number.  Now I know I am biased because you know how I love me some hip hop, but T and I were doubled over laughing when the sweet threesome of tweens came out and the music started just raining F#$%  bombs on us slowly and then faster and faster.  We laughed harder and harder as they added mother-F#$%er to the mix and then other really vulgar words that no one should ever say. We laughed until tears started coming out when it dawned on us that we were two of three people in the audience who seemed to have any clue what the music was saying.

T was determined to give her handmade cards to her friends even though it was almost midnight when act one was over, and we had to get up early the next morning.  It turned out act two was only one number called Andata e Ritorno so how long could it take, right? Well it was a reprise of every number of the entire first act. Wait for it. It started with the Shakespearean actor's monologue of a homeless man and turned into contemporary dancers doing a number with cardboard that they were ostensibly sleeping under and that turned into a train station with you guessed it little girls in teal tutus who happened to be going somewhere like on a school trip with Caoimhe and then the traditional peasant girls stopped by and were joined by the belly dancers and some screaming widows and the rest of the cast. At the end everybody did the Can-Can dance and we clapped until our hands bled.

Now that folks is what you get in Lucca for 19 euros a seat. Worth every spicciolo, I tell you.

No comments: