Paul and Lucy Spadoni periodically live in Tuscany to explore Paul’s Italian roots, practice their Italian and enjoy “la dolce vita.” Paul is the author of "An American Family in Italy: Living La Dolce Vita without Permission," an Amazon bestseller.
All work is copyrighted and may not be reprinted without written permission from the author, who can be contacted at www.paulspadoni.com
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Learning Italian not exactly child’s play for us, but still entertaining
Friday, March 16
“Every time someone
says he doesn't believe in fairies, a fairy dies. When someone laughs, a fairy
is born.” This is among the lessons we learn at a children’s play in Lucca’s Teatro
di Giglio that we attend as part of our self-directed program to learn Italian.
Children’s entertainment is much easier for us to understand than adult theater
and movies, where all the clever word play leaves us bewildered.
Wendy's dad and Peter Pan disagree, and Wendy is caught in the middle.
I have reserved seats
in the balcony, front row, which gives us not only a great view of the play but
also of an audience full of bambini, most of whom have come from their
schools with their teachers. The play, titled Peter Pan: A story of few
centimeters and feathers, is scheduled for 2:45 p.m., but when we arrive a
few minutes before the scheduled start, only about 30 children are in the
crowd. By 3:10 p.m., the floor level is packed with chattering kids, and now
the play begins. The children immediately quiet down, listen respectfully and
laugh at the silly antics of the actors.
View from the back of the balcony.
It is not meant to be
a traditional story of Peter Pan, though there are similarities. Arturo is
a scientist, very serious, devoted to logic, reason and knowledge. His
daughter, Wendy, does not want to take on adult responsibilities and says she
prefers to remain a child forever. Peter Pan, a fairy, comes along and wants
Wendy to come with him to be his mother, which causes Wendy and her father to
argue, and the father and Peter to fight over Wendy. In the end, the father
agrees to lighten up and believe in fairies, and Wendy agrees to stay with her
dad and grow up a little. Peter is back to the land of the fairies, but he will
come to visit again if they call for him, or something like that. During the
various exchanges, there are huge bubbles, an invisible boat, a pillow fight and other events which cause the
stage to become strewn with feathers. As for the few centimeters, I’m not sure
where that comes in. That must have been among one of the dialogues that we
didn’t understand, because we still can’t keep up with rapid conversations,
even in a children’s play.
Tomorrow we will come
back to Lucca to watch a movie, where we will undoubtedly understand even less.
It seems our progress is glacially slow, but we remain committed because there
are so many things we love about being here. Now it’s time for a gelato, the
passeggiata and a train ride, three of the pleasures that make our struggle to
learn Italian worthwhile.