Monday, February 3, 2014

Riconosci - Staging Notes

Don Curzio is seated at the Count’s desk with a large stack of books. The Count is standing right behind him. Marcellina and Bartolo are standing on the upstage side of the desk. Figaro is seated across from Curzio. Curzio’s stutter should, of course, be extremely exaggerated. Find a different way to stutter each time, and find a different way to control it. Never should Curzio look up to the audience or anyone in the eye. He should be fundamentally focused on his papers. Once or twice, the Count should hit him on the back to keep him going like a broken TV.

Marcellina makes a motion of an exhaled relief “Io respiro.”

Figaro turns to the audience, rolls his eyes, hands in his head and says contemptuously. “Ed io moro.”

Marcellina turns to Figaro. “Alfin sposa io sarò d'un uom ch'adoro.”

From his seated position toward the audience, says futilely. “Eccellenza m'appello …”

Staying where he is, the Count says understatedly but clearly jubilant: “È giusta la sentenza. O pagar, o sposar, bravo Don Curzio.” Drops another coin on the desk.

Don Curzio pockets the money. “Bontà di sua Eccellenza.”   

Bartolo sidles up to Figaro. “Che superba sentenza!”
Figaro doesn’t look up. “In che superba.”

Bartolo jabs him with the book. “Siam tutti vendicati …

Figaro doesn’t look up. “Io non la sposerò.”

Bartolo whispers in Figaro’s ear. “La sposerai.”  and walks back to Marcellina.

Curzio is completely stoic. “O pagarla, o sposarla.”

Marcellina says from where she’s standing. “Io t'ho prestati due mille pezzi duri.”

Figaro says from where he is. “Son gentiluomo, e senza l'assenso de' miei nobili parenti…”

(everybody else bursts out laughing hysterically, almost collapsing every new piece of information makes them burst out laughing again)

The Count catcalls over the laughter: “Dove sono? Chi sono?”

Figaro is still stoic. “Lasciate ancor cercarli! Dopo dieci anni non spero di trovarli.”

Everybody calls out their questions about what happened to Figaro as insults over the laughter. Which continues until Marcellina starts hearing what he’s saying. The laughter continues through Figaro’s description of the events, which should barely be heard over the din, until he says “questo al mio braccio impresso geroglifico”, on which Figaro points to a spot on his forearm. Which causes Marcellina to step forward, dumbfounded.

When Marcellina starts speaking, everybody quiets down. “Una spatola impressa al braccio destro …”  

For the first time during this scene, Figaro turns his head, alarmed. “E a voi chi'l disse?”

Marcellina makes the Sign of the Cross, looks up at God. “Oh Dio, è desso …”  She should say this almost as a sob, then break down in a fit of tears.

Figaro makes a confused shrug. “È ver son io.”

Everybody’s confounded. “Chi?”   

She can barely stop crying enough to say,, “Raffaello.”  still crying afterward.

Equally stunned as Marcellina was a moment ago, Bartolo takes a few steps forward to stand over Figaro. “E i ladri ti rapir …”

Looking at Marcellina but gesturing to Bartolo. “Presso un castello.”

Bartolo puts his shoulder on Figaro and gestures toward Marcellina. “Ecco tua madre.”

Figaro gestures confusedly toward Marcellina. “Balia? …”

“No, tua madre.” Figaro gasps.

The Count and Don Curzio are ‘deer in the headlights’ dumbfounded. “Sua madre?”

Figaro gets up and looks straight at her. “Cosa Sento?”

Bartolo makes a huge gesture which he hopes Marcellina sees through her crying to not identify him as the father. She doesn’t. “Ecco tuo padre.”

(Sextet)

Curzio is fiddling with the papers, reading the agreement.

Figaro goes straight over to Marcellina and gives her a giant bearhug with his head on her shoulder. Marcellina sings “Riconosci in questo amplesso una madre” Figaro lift up his head here “amato figlio!”

Figaro turns his head to the back and motions for his father to come into the hug. “Padre mio, fate lo stesso, non mi fate più arrossir.”

Bartolo walks over, kisses Figaro on the forehead (the biblical patriarchal blessing) and hugs Figaro from the other side. The parents should be on either side of Figaro with their heads on his shoulders. “Resistenza la coscienza far non lascia al tuo desir.” They stay in this tableau for a while.

The “Ei suo padre/Son smartito.” exchange is done with Curzio pointing to clauses in the marriage contract.

The Count gets up and tries to leave, drags Don Curzio by the hand with him. Right before he leaves, Susanna stops him at the door and pushes him further and further back into the room by vengefully jabbing her index finger into his chest. He keeps, as best he can while being dumbfounded, trying to point to what’s going on, but she doesn’t understand what he’s pointing to. “Alto, alto, signor Conte,” (holds out the money) “mille doppie son qui pronte,” (on ‘pronte,’ gestures at her crotch) “a pagar vengo per Figaro, ed a porlo in libertà.”

Finally she see’s that he’s pointing, but doesn’t understand what he’s pointing to. She goes to Don Curzio, but he’s equally dumbfounded. She starts going back and forth between the two, trying to understand what their gesture means. “Non sappiam com'è la cosa, osservate un poco là!” Finally, she understands that they’re pointing to a direction, and turns around.

She immediately walks furiously to Figaro to pluck him out of his parents embrace. “Già d'accordo ei colla sposa; giusti Dei, che infedeltà!”

Pulls him out by the arm and drags him across the room. “Lascia iniquo!”

“No, t'arresta! Senti, oh cara! Senti! Senti!” Figaro’s parents slowly come up behind where he now is. Marcellina is the one closer to the audience.

“Senti questa” ‘SLAP!’ (with your left hand on the right side.)

They take Figaro back into their embrace from either side for “È un effetto di buon core, tutto amore è quel che fa.” For this six part counterpoint, Marcellina, Figaro, and Bartolo are bunched in a diagonal line. Curzio is in the other upstage corner, with the Count leaning on the desk, and Susanna perfectly downstage center.

Marcellina kisses Figaro on the cheek where he was slapped. She then goes up to Susanna and takes her hand. Susanna takes it away. She takes it again with both hands and kneels before Susanna. “Lo sdegno calmate, mia cara figliuola, sua madre abbracciate che or vostra sarà.”

Susanna just laughs, looks away, and does a pft before the first “Sua madre”, gradually her look changes from amusement to looking back down at Marcellina with awed amazement. Her hand almost over her mouth for “Tua madre?”

Figaro comes up with Bartolo “E quello è mio padre che a te lo dirà.”

This time with mounting delight. “Sua padre?” Bartolo gives the same patriarchal blessing of a kiss to her that he gave to Figaro.

Figaro puts all three of them into a huddled hug in the middle of the stage. “E quella è mia me che a te lo dirà.” Then he gets into the embrace between Marcellina and Bartolo. In the exact center of the stage, faced inward as much as possible. From stage right to left: Susanna, Marcellina, Figaro, Bartolo. If possible, have them sing inwardly to each other rather than the audience. “Al dolce contento di questo momento, quest'anima appena resister or sa.”

Both the Count and Curzio are behind the desk, dumbfounded and expressionless except their lines.

As the music ends, Bartolo and Marcellina both give Susanna even more money.

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