The Twin Globe

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glo8In the heart of the Villa Borghese park, hidden among the trees and surrounded by a lavish vegetation, you may find one of the most unexpected sights, for sure: the Globe theatre. Yes, that Globe: a full-scale reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, copied from the original designs, and almost identical to the one that now stands on London’s South Bank. Rome’s version of the Globe was built over the course of three months and inaugurated in 2003 to celebrate the centenary of Villa Borghese. The theatre is designed in a circular shape with a stage that juts out into the middle of the audience, and an open roof (that’s why the theatre is open in the summer and early autumn seasons). It’s built of oak and has a capacity of 1250, including the standing space in front of the stage, which are, of course the cheapest places.The entire project was financed by the Silvano Toti foundation – the late Silvano Toti was a builder and patron of the arts.

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20150924_104215Gigi Proietti, one of the most outstanding Italian actors, has been the artistic director of the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre since 2003, but he has never acted in any of the plays. Of course, Elizabethan comedies and tragedies are mostly represented, in fact the special architectural features and the essentiality of the scenes allow a cathartic relationship with the works of the English Renaissance drama. I can say that for sure, as,  only few days ago I went to the Globe with some of my students and colleagues to see the morning representation of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” directed by Chris Pickels.

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When the old Bard wrote “All world is a stage“, he had not considered one little detail: in the world many languages are spoken. This edition of “The Comedy of Errors”, in fact, was the first English-speaking production at the beautiful Globe theatre in Rome, only, the public was not exactly made of native English speakers and the plot of this play not so easy to follow. The story of two pairs of twins  – masters and servants –  who not only had the same features but also the same names, Antophilus and Dromio, led to many misunderstandings not only on stage but also among the public. Tell me, who is he? Antipholus of Syracuse or Ephesus?Mah?? However, the language of art won eventually, so that everybody was able to enjoy the many very funny moments of the show. The Bard is always right, after all. 20150924_11225620150924_131812

I did love the company of actors, all of them. The Bedouin Shakespeare Company, is a touring company founded in 2012 by two enthusiastic young actors, Edward Andrews and Mark Brewer, with the patronage of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi. Their main aim is to bring the universal themes and language of Shakespeare in the countries around the world, that’s why they were not at all uncomfortable with a non native English-speaking public. Their “Comedy of Errors”  premiered at the Silvano Toti Globe in Rome to fly out to the UAE and then finishing in London at the Arcola Theatre, November 1st. Therefore, you are still in time to enjoy a great show and don’t forget to visit the Globe, next time you come to Rome!!! 🙂

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The Macbeths at the White House

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I  have always enjoyed tv series, more than movies, actually. Once you are engaged in the plot, the protagonists become your new companions for a long time. Therefore, I’ve been walking  in the streets of N.Y. with four girls talking about sex and men and craving for a certain Mr Big for almost six years and when the series ended, I went to Seattle and bumped into gorgeous Doctor Mcdreamy at Seattle Grace Hospital. I cannot hide that I am more attracted by the sentimental on tv series, so when Shonda Rhimes, inexplicably, decided to make Doctor Mcdreamy die, I guessed it was high time to look for something else. Hence, about a month ago, my attention was surprisingly caught by a tv series, which, I may say, is really far from being regarded sentimental, but rather, deals with the darkest and wicked side of human nature, one of the most prizewinning drama series ever, as a matter of fact: House of Cards.

hc5Based on the novel of Michael Dobbs, House of Cards is  the U.S. adaptation of the U.K. miniseries of the same name.The story of Claire (Robin Wright) and congressman Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is set in Washington and mostly in the secret chambers of the White House. Disappointed for not having been appointed Secretary of State as promised by the President Garret Walker in exchange for his support, Francis and Clare make a pact to destroy Walker and his allies.  The great protagonist of this series is, actually, the boundless ambition of the couple, who plots for a position of greater power using whatever means possible; ambition that won’t be yet satisfied even when Francis eventually succeeds in achieving the presidency of the U.S.A. . The story was so involving that Mr Run and I found ourselves galloping in a marathon made of 39 episodes that we were able to conclude in the record time of only a couple of weeks. However, while I eagerly followed the events, I couldn’t but find the dynamics of this couple somehow familiar, as if I had already known those guys, till, in a scene, when I saw Claire’s ruthless determination in aiding and encouraging her husband as he seemed to falter, I recognized them both. Hidden under that allure and fancy clothes, here they were again: the Macbeths.

hc8The Underwoods like the Macbeths are devoted only to one god: power. The crown of Scotland becomes the presidency of the U.S.A. here. The White House is Francis and Claire’s playground, where the people, who somehow are connected to them, are cards, whose only function is to make them win the game, but they do not hesitate to throw them away, as soon as they are no longer useful. Merciless, manipulative, the Underwoods don’t know the word gratitude and their success is the result of a perfect symbiosis which does not follow the rules and moral of common couples. “I made you president“, Claire reminds her husbands at a certain point, but those words could have come from Lady Macbeth’s lips as well : without her support, Macbeth would be still there, trembling, talking nonsense and with the evidence of the murder of King in his hands. Yes, she had made him king.

hc7The Underwoods like the Macbeths are a childless couple. These two women don’t give the impression  of having  have a real motherly attitude, as they only seem to be willing to nourish their plans of power and revenge: “I have given suck, and know/how tender ’tis love the babe that milks me ” Lady Macbeth says referring to the plan to kill king Duncan. Her murderous plan is being personified as a baby nursing on her evil soul.  However, while Macbeth and lady Macbeth’s inability to have children affects their relationship negatively and it is one of the factors that plays a part in the decline of their relationship, motherhood has never been part of the plans of the Underwoods, who don’t seem to display any real regret, at least, not yet.

hc1Differently from Macbeth and any Shakespearian play, in House of Cards there is not the eternal battle of good versus evil. In fact, all the characters of the series, with different degrees and no exception, are predatory, cruel and inhuman like the wolves of the Latin proverb  “Homo, homini,  lupus”  ( “a man is a wolf to another man”). In Macbeth , for example, King Duncan’s benevolent, virtuous nature makes Macbeth’s murder more infamous and reprehensible if possible, while in the series, the equivalent of Duncan, president Garret Walker, is two-faced, weak and even ingenuous sometimes, hence unworthy to rule. The political murder plotted by the Underwoods, therefore, can’t have the same moral meaning of Macbeth’s action and you cannot but stay by their side, enjoying the company of the wolves and why not, even becoming one of them.

hc6Clare Underwood and Lady Macbeth have in common an exceptional, burning ambition, but while the latter eventually becomes mentally deranged when the pace of events becomes too much for her, for the former, being the wife of the President is not enough to satisfy her thirst of power. She wants more, therefore her ambition seems to mine the stability of the couple in season 3 and we have to wait for 2016 to know more. In the meantime, would you be so kind to suggest me a new tv series worthy of my attention? Thanks 🙂

 

Dreaming of Kotor

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Am I in paradise or on the moon?” I wondered, while I was gazing outside my cabin as the ship was languidly slipping into the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, Europe’s southernmost fjord. Actually, those words were not so original as it was exactly what George Bernard Shaw quipped when he first visited these places and before him, a worshipper of nature like Lord Byron had fallen into the spell of such an enchanted spot.

A year ago I had complained so much about the extraordinary cool and rainy Italian summer, that I am sure that the gods that govern the climate and the winds had decided to punish me with the hottest and most infernal summer ever this year.  Mr Run and I had tried to reverse our fate, escaping from that tremendous oven Rome had become, to go to Venice and sail for a cruise to the Adriatic sea. But gods are not easily cheated, so a nasty demon called Charon kept on pursuing us everywhere we went : Venice, Trieste, Split, Dubrovnik;  till one early morning we thought we had finally made him lose our tracks, when we saw this like in a dream :

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As the sun was rising, we could see distinctly the silhouettes the mountains that surrounded us. A sense of euphoria pervaded us, as we imagined the feeling of the fresh breeze on our skin. While we were magically floating on the waters of the inlets, sleepy villages mirrored in the sea and even our huge cruise ship seemed to sail more silently than ever so as not to disturb the beatitude of their rest.

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The steep hillsides of the Bay of Kotor are littered with Greek, Roman, and Illyrian ruins and dilapidated Venetian Gothic buildings, signs of  the Venetians domination that lasted more than four centuries from 1420 to 1797.IMG_0718

Once arrived at the port of Kotor all our illusions instantly faded away in a blink: Charon was already there sneering at us. The melting heat of that late July was just unbearable.

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The walled city of Kotor has been an important Mediterranean port since Roman times. In the heat of the day, when every sensible person was enjoying a siesta or diving in the clear waters of the bay, we dragged ourselves to the old town to visit its architectural riches: the Pima and Drago palaces, the clock tower, and the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, a twin-towered Romanesque beauty consecrated in 1166.

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Behind the cathedral, the Venetian defensive walls—almost three miles long —snaked up the steep rocky hillside to the ruined 14th-century fortress of St. Ivan. Earthquakes have struck here with devastating effect, but the walls somehow always survived. Kotor also prides itself on never having been taken by force. The Outstanding Universal Value of the Cultural-Historical Region of Kotor made it a UNESCO world heritage site

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Around the central Square of Weapons (Trg od Oruzja) you may find shops, boutiques but for once in my life I was more interested in any place where I could sit and and have something to drink.

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Unfortunately, being on a cruise, we didn’t have more time to visit all the other precious spots that region may offer, but at that moment we really didn’t mind, as we couldn’t but think about the bliss of the air conditioning on the ship.

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Charon decided to remain there; and now that summer is becoming autumn and school is about to start, well, maybe I miss him a bit.