Friday, January 31, 2014

Signori di Fuori - Staging Notes


Figaro comes on stage wearing Susanna’s bridal hat and holding a kazoo.

(sings into the kazoo along with the orchestra)

“Signori, di fuori son già i suonatori.” (kazoo again) “Le trombe sentite,” (kazoo again) “i pifferi udite, tra canti, tra balli de' nostri vassalli” Takes Susanna’s hands and skips around the room. “corriamo, voliamo le nozze a compir. corriamo, voliamo le nozze a compir.”

The Count and Countess are making out. At some point through this, the Count hesitates, stops paying attention to the Countess, and turns around.

“Pian piano, men fretta;” The Countess holds up her hands and rolls her eyes.

Figaro and Susanna are still dancing. “La turba m'aspetta.”

Catches up to them and stops their dancing. Figaro and Susanna should be right near the Countess by then. “Pian piano, men fretta. Un dubbio toglietemi in pria di partir.
All three look at each other. “La cosa è scabrosa; com 'ha da finir!” Meanwhile, the Count is taking the letter out of his pocket, and putting on his reading glasses.

“Conoscete, signor Figaro, questo foglio chi vergò?“ Shows the letter to Figaro. Figaro looks at the letter. Then takes the Count’s glasses and puts them on himself.

Susanna and the Countess make motions with their hands as though to say “You know which letter…nol conosci?!”

Figaro doesn't see their motions. Then wags his finger: “No no no!” Chops his hands through the air “Oibo! Oibo!”

Susanna and the Countess are whispering a conspiracy to themselves. The Count takes the glasses off Figaro, puts them on himself. Then looks Figaro dead in the eye while he says - “Cerchi invan difesa e scusa, il tuo ceffo già t'accusa, vedo ben che vuoi mentir.”

Figaro stands perfectly still, not even looking at the Count, with a smile on his face:  “Mente il ceffo, io già non mento.”

The Countess and Susanna start sidling up to Figaro from either side, as though they want to fool the Count into thinking they’re trying to fool him….

Do an exaggerated double stage whisper to Figaro “Il talento aguzzi invano palesato abbiam l'arcano, non v'è nulla da ridir.”

The Count is getting angrier. Pacing about. Figaro is perfectly still for the “Che rispondi, niente niente” exchange.
Susanna and the Countess nudge him from either side “Eh via, chetati, balordo, la burletta ha da finir.”         
Without missing a beat, Figaro has an 'aha' moment, and gives the hat to the Count so he can ostensibly place it on Susanna's head. “Per finirla lietamente e all'usanza teatrale un'azion matrimoniale le faremo ora seguir.”

“Deh signor, nol contrastate, consolate i lor/miei desir.”

First time through, Figaro and Susanna are on their knees, the Countess stands over them like a parent.

Second time through, the Countess is on her knees with them and folds her arms as in prayer. All three of them make a sign of the cross over themselves. It is both a request of the Count and a prayer to God.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Esci Omai - Staging Notes

The Count has a crowlbar, sword, and other implements that he drops on the floor for the recitative. 

He is using the crowlbar to try to open the closet door. “Esci omai, garzon malnato, sciagurato, non tardar:”

The Countess steals the crowlbar, jumps onto the bed,looking as though she might hit the Count if he comes too close. “Ah, signore, quel furore, per lui fammi il cor tremar.” Jump off the bed onto the other side of the room. Point the crowlbar at the Count as though to indicate that you’ll use it on him with it if he comes close. ”per lui fammi il cor tremar.”

Count is undeterred, still trying to open the door with his bare hands. “E d'opporvi ancor osate? E d'opporvi ancor osate?”

Countess makes a show of putting down the crowlbar. “No, sentite”

The Count comes over toward the bed. “Via parlate! Parlate!” (hit the bed) “PARLATE!”

Countess crosses herself. Tries to calm him down by what she’s saying, but then gradually realizes that she’s only making matters worse. The calm look turns to one of dread as she realizes she’s unintentionally incriminating herself. “Giuro al ciel ch'ogni sospetto, ch'ogni sospetto, e lo stato in... che il trovate... sciolto il collo … nudo il petto ...

Count is so enraged that he immediately picks up the crowlbar and runs back to the door. “Sciolto il collo! Nudo il petto! Seguitate!”  

The Countess makes one last go of exonerating herself “Per vestir femminee spoglie …”, then puts her hand to her mouth as though she can’t believe what she’s saying. Should look like she’s beginning to cry as she says “Mi fa torto quel trasporto, m'oltraggiate a dubitar.”   

The Count’s still trying to open the door. “Ah comprendo, indegna moglie, mi vo' tosto vendicar. “  

The Count gives up prying open the door in frustration, throws down the sword and jumps onto the bed “Qua la chiave!”

The Count jumps off the bed onto the other side of the stage. “Qua la chiave!”

The Countess begins to relent and starts fiddling with the key on a chain around her neck, thinking that this will stop the row. “Voi sapete …”  

But it just makes the Count more angry, he comes up to her. “Non so niente!” Gradually rips the necklace off her neck to get the key, which brings the Countess to her knees. “Va lontan dagl'occhi miei, un'infida, un'empia sei e mi cerchi d'infamar.”

The Countess is on her knees, crying and tugging at his shirt. “Vado ... sì ... ma …”  

The Count puts his hand up to ignore her and begins to walk away. “Non ascolto.”

The Countess bolts to the other side and implores him. “Non son rea.”   

“Vel leggo in volto!” The Count grips the Countess by the neck as he says this. Keeps her there for the next exchange.

At, “Ah, comprendo” pull her even closer, by the neck.

At the second “mora, mora” the Count puts his other hand on the Countess’s neck.

When the music stops, the Count begins to start choking the Countess in earnest to the point that the Countess is on her knees again. Susanna comes out with a practiced smile, blinking a few times. Clearly both frightened and sure of herself.

The Count stops when he sees Susanna and lurches backward.

The Count says ‘Susanna..’

The Countess is wheezing, but manages to say “Susanna?...”

“Signore, cos'è quel stupore?”  Pick up the sword, walk over to the Count. “Il brando prendete, il paggio uccidete, quel paggio malnato, vedetelo qua.” Hand him the sword. “Quel paggio malnato, vedetelo qua.”

For this exchange, the Countess is still on her knees on the floor. The Count goes again to sit on the bed. Susanna has a mischievous grin, bringing some light to the proceedings.

The Count bolts up and looks at Susanna. “Sei sola?”    

Susanna shrugs her shoulders: “Guardate” gestures to the closet “qui ascoso sarà.”

The Count goes up to Susanna to see if she’s telling the truth. Susanna keeps motioning for the Count to go in.

The Count goes in the closet. Susanna goes over to the Countess to help her up.

The Countess is a wreck, wheezing and crying and terrified. “Susanna, son morta, il fiato mi manca.”

Susanna’s rubs her back. Points to the window: “Più lieta, più franca, in salvo è di già.” The Countess suddenly looks overjoyed because she finally realizes they have nothing to worry about and gives Susanna a hug.

The Count steps out of the closet, shocked look, head in hands; “Che sbaglio mai presi! Appena lo credo” kneels and bows before the Countess “se a torto v'offesi perdono vi chiedo; perdono vi chiedo”

Looks up at her and gesticulates with anger “ma far burla simile è poi crudeltà.”

The Countess and Susanna look at him imperiously: “Le vostre follie non mertan pietà. Le vostre follie non mertan pietà.”

Tries to put his head in her lap “Io v'amo.”  

The Countess pushes it out “Nol dite!”

The Count looks up at her. “Vel giuro.”    

As she stands up, the Countess pushes him far back enough that he falls back and points at him to yell. “Mentite! Son l'empia, l'infida che ognora v'inganna.”

The Count is on his ass, now looking at Susanna: “Quell'ira, Susanna, m'aita a calmar.”

Susanna’s sitting down, not even looking at the Count. “Così si condanna chi può sospettar. Così si condanna chi può sospettar.”

The Countess looks in the mirror when she says this. “Adunque la fede d'un'anima amante sì fiera mercede doveva sperar?” (breaks down in tears)

Pleading with Susanna again to help him. “Quell'ira, Susanna, m'aita a calmar.”

Still won’t look at the Count. “Così si condanna chi può sospettar.” Get up and walk to the Countess. Così si condanna chi può sospettar.”

Susanna wipes away the Countess’s tears “Signora.”

The Count tries to do the same. “Rosina”

Turns to him furiously: “Crudele!” Takes the wedding ring off her finger. “Più quella non sono;” hurls it across the room. The Count suddenly gasps, as though he realizes he may lose what he prizes most - even if she’s a possession like any other. The Countess backs away, pointing at the Count: “ma il misero oggetto del vostro abbandono che avete diletto di far disperar.”

“Confuso, pentito, son troppo punito, abbiate pietà.”  The Count sits on the bed. Exhausted and close to tears.

Susanna walks up to the Countess and holds her from the shoulders. “Confuso, pentito, son troppo punito, abbiate pietà.”

“Soffrir sì gran torto quest'alma non sa.” Said to Susanna who is on her side stage right.

The Count says the next few lines (all explanation) from his seated place, not looking at anyone. Susanna and the Countess from where they stand. He reaches into his pocket and produces the letter “Ma un foglio sì barbaro?” When he hears that the letter was from Figaro and Basilio, he stands up and reaches for the sword.

“Ah perfidi! Io voglio …”

The Count, after being ‘corrected’ again by the Countess and Susanna, moves in front of the (stage) right half of the bed and kneels. “Ebben, se vi piace comune è la pace; Rosina inflessibile con me non sarà.”

The Countess to Susanna: “Ah quanto, Susanna, son dolce di core! Di donne al furore chi più crederà?”

Susanna says, with both a hint of mischief and forgiveness: “Cogl'uomin, signora, girate, volgete, vedrete che ognora si cade poi là.”   

The Count begins to become desperate. “Guardatemi” The Countess comes closer just to tell him off. “Ingrato!” Susanna goes to the back of the room to pick up the wedding ring. More desperate: “Guardatemi”.

The Count should sound like he’s sobbing at the end of this line: “Ho torto, e mi pento.”

The Countess then kneels to him, together they sing the apotheosis, the Count puts her ring back on her finger and they kiss passionately.

Sight and Sound Movie List - La Rahman


Not favorites, but movies I have happily watched multiple times...

1)      Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996): It’s best if you watch this alone the first time around, or maybe with a friend or two who know not to talk a whole lot during movies, because the jokes are quiet and disguised as throwaway lines. If you root for the underdog you will love this movie. Also has one of the cutest love scenes ever.

2)      Bhaji on the Beach (Gurinder Chadha, 1993): A movie about a bunch of multigenerational South Asian women going on a day trip to a Blackpool beach resort. The fight, they laugh, they cry, they flirt, they lament. This movie is smart, funny, touching, and on point. I relate to every character in this movie.

3)      Devdas (1955 and 2002 remake): The 1955 version is dark and devastating. So much pain, so little joy.  The 2002 remake is absolutely gorgeous—the music, the costuming, the colors, the scenery. I want to live inside of it forever. But the glitzy Bollywood treatment takes away from the story a little, I think.  Also, I find Sharukh Khan to be SO irritating and hate his trembly scrunched-up crying face. Ugh, annoying. Really, though, both versions are classics.

4)      Mississippi Masala (Mira Nair, 1991): South Asia in the Deep South. This one is about a woman working in her family’s crappy motel in South Mississippi, the political circumstances that brought her family there, and her romance with a Black man. Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington are SUPER HOT together. I love the juxtaposition of two cultures that are fiercely loyal to their roots and their ways of being.

5)      Hype! (Doug Pray, 1996): I wasn’t even that into grunge music and don’t even necessarily like all the music in this film (although it did introduce me to “Second Skin” by The Gits, which is one of my favorite songs ever), but it’s a really well-made documentary and I’ve seen it way more times that I can count.  Good examination of how artistic communities grow, get talked up, get exploited, and then become “forgotten”.

6)      The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993): I seem to gravitate towards movies involving cultural norms and the ways children and parents negotiate their way around them, I guess? Great movie about a gay man who not only feels that he cannot be honest about his sexuality with his Taiwanese parents, but who also goes through a traditional wedding ceremony to avoid hurting them with the truth.  Ultimately it’s about the lies families tell to protect one another. Warning: the trailer is TERRIBLE, so misleading and super corny, if I hadn’t already seen the movie it would have made me want to pass on it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Non piu andrai - Staging Notes

(Figaro’s arm is around Susanna’s shoulder, he’s standing next to Cherubino. Both are standing at the table. The Count is standing upstage center.) Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso, notte e giorno d'intorno girando;

(goose Susanna, Susanna gives a slight scream) delle belle turbando il riposo

(pinch his cheek) Narcisetto, Adoncino d'amor (gently slap him).

(hold his cheek in your hand) delle belle turbando il riposo Narcisetto, Adoncino d'amor.

(lead him over by the shoulders to the table) Non più avrai questi bei pennacchini,

(take off his hat) quel cappello leggero e galante,

(take off his collar) quella chioma, quell'aria brillante, quel vermiglio donnesco color. quel vermiglio donnesco color. (during this sequence, give Cherubino the yardstick, and show him how to point it as though it’s a musket, when you get to ‘quel’aria brillante’ point Cherubino directly at the Count with the yardstick pointed directly at the Count’s head. Cherubino immediately puts the gun down though.)

Then turn to the Susanna and walk over quickly to her. After the first line, kiss her hand, after the second line, kiss her cheek, as you say the third line, get her up, kiss her on the lips.

Then walk back to Cherubino. Tra guerrieri, poffar Bacco! Then point the yardstick back at the Count as though he’s holding a musket. “Gran mustacchi, stretto sacco.” With every line, move Cherubino a step closer to the Count.

At “poco contate” the yardstick is almost pressing directly at the Count’s head. Figaro holds up his fingers as though to tell the Count he’s not being paid enough. The Count must look both scandalized and scared.

Ed invece del fandango, una marcia per il fango. Take Cherubino in you arms like you’re dancing a tango, and dance around the room. Until you’re back to the table.

Sing the third time through to the Count. With every line, take a step closer to the Count, until you’re right in front of him.

Cherubino alla vittoria: alla gloria militar! Cherubino alla vittoria: alla gloria militar! Alla gloria militar! Alla gloria militar!  Susanna picks up the male wig head, Cherubino has the meter stick as a rifle. Both of them take step after step in rhythm, closer and closer to the Count, until they surround him downstage with their backs to him. Then all three of them bow low so the audience can see the Count’s face. The Count leaves the room betraying a mixture of rage and terror.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Se a Caso Madama - staging notes

(Susanna’s sitting in the chair, working on… something.. Figaro is standing right in front of her. Holding the Countess’s wig- head and the meter stick in his left hand (or right hand if you’re left handed.)

“Se a caso madama, la notte ti chiama,” (curtsey) “la notte ti chiama.”

At the orchestra repetitions of ‘din din’ snaps fingers along with the orchestra. At “in due passi da quella puoi gir.” Figaro marches over to the table and puts the Countess’s wig so he can get the Count’s. Turns back to Susanna and says: Vien poi l'occasione, che vuolmi il padrone,” (bow) che vuolmi il padrone.” Bang the meter stick on the floor in time with the orchestra. “Don don, don don.In tre salti lo vado a servir.”

Susanna gets up from her chair. “Così se il mattino il caro Contino,” sarcastically bows like a man “il caro Contino,”

“din din” take two steps forward toward Figaro.

“din din” another two steps…

“e ti manda tre miglia lontan,” walk however much distance is left until you get to the table.

“Din din” Pick up the female wig.

“Don don.” Push it into Figaro’s crotch.

“don don; a mia porta il diavol lo porta, ed ecco in tre salti” Throws head at Figaro, misses.

“Susanna pian, pian. Susanna pian, pian.” Susanna should gesticulate madly at him through this scene, Figaro should be standing over her trying to calm her, gradually turning into him trying to order her. At the last ‘pian pian!’ He restrains her from her arms.

“Ascolta!” “Va presto!” Bark it at each other.

“Se udir brami il resto, se udir brami il resto, (grab him and hug him) “discaccia i sospetti che torto mi fan.”

:Udir bramo il resto, (walk away and sit in the chair) Udir bramo il resto. (put head in hand) I dubbi, i sospetti gelare mi fan.

Susanna goes up to him and holds him from behind. Stay in this position for the rest of the duet.