Do you remember the Paper Stage – Canterbury’s public play-reading group? I told you about it some time ago.
What perhaps I didn’t tell you is that, after that post, Dr. Newman of the Paper Stage wrote to me asking: why not? Why not do it, why not set up an Italian chapter of the Paper Stage in my hometown?
And indeed… why not?
Well, there is that my smallish, sluggish town is hardly Canterbury. And there’s the serious limitations of translations. And… And… And…
But really, really, really: why not, indeed?
So I went to one of my companies – and told them. And they liked it from the start. We had been bemoaning how hard it is in Italy to stage anything that is even the tiniest bit out of the ordinary… How often do you see Marlowe on an Italian stage? Ben Jonson? Webster? Kyd? Ha! But even some Shakespeare: when was the last Italian King John? Or Winter Tale? Or even the Merry Wives…?
All of that we’d been bemoaning, so I could have known I’d find good ground. “My” players loved the notion from the first, and we began to daydream of things to do, and Il Palcoscenico di Carta was born. Except, this was last summer, and the company was about to disband for the vacations. Come September, we’d have a cycle of Shakespearean staged readings (including my Small Sonnets), which would end just before Christmas, and with the New Year they were to stage two new plays in a row… Besides, we had no place to do it. I’m sorry to report that we could find nary a local café that had both room for us, and the slightest shade of interest in the project…
And then the perfect place happened: a lovely bookshop-cum-art gallery, right in the town centre – and we also found the time: May! So we tweaked the formula to suit our needs (three sittings rather than one, late afternoon rather than evening, abridged plays…), and got ready.
And so, Thursday is the day.
Just like the parent project, we start with Romeo and Juliet – and from there we’ll sail for less charted waters. We have a little army of readers, too: I’m amazed at the response, really.
Now the cuts are made, the parts are handed out, the place is ready. It’s only a matter of waiting for Thursday, and see what comes. But isn’t it already great that it is happening – on the strength of a Why Not? I’ll let you know, but the wonders these Why Nots can work!