by Melinda Gallo

My first AperiTeatro: The Dumb Waiter

I had been looking forward to seeing the play The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter for weeks. Not just because it was going to be in English, but also because my friend Claire was going to be performing in it. The play, which was produced by Performance International, was being offered as an AperiTeatro. I found the unique combination of an aperitivo before the spettacolo (show) an intriguing idea to say the least. I bought my ticket last week because I had to be there for the opening, which was last night.

I walked over to the private club on via dei Benci, Lochness Lounge, where the spettacolo was going to be. I had passed by the club many times, but never went inside before. Inside there was a bar on the left and another long bar set up with all the food. The palcoscenico (stage) was set up after the bar with plush sofas and chairs arranged in front of it.

Before the production began, I stood in the area around the bar for the aperitivo and chatted with some people I knew. I had come by myself because I wasn't going to miss opening night. The two actresses were already on the well-lit palcoscenico in character while we nibbled on the tasty food and sipped our drinks.

Five minutes before the spettacolo (show) was to begin, we were asked to take our seats. I had already selected a big red chair where I put my things, but ended up sitting at the bar to set up my macchina fotografica (camera) on its treppiede (tripod). I enjoyed my view best because I could see the entire audience as well as the actors on the palcoscenico.

I certainly appreciated the sopratitoli (subtitles displayed above the stage) because some words in English I didn't understand, like "birk" and "larder."

I was happy that I didn't read anything about the play beforehand because I love being led by the story and discovering it as it is being performed in front of me. During the performance, I felt transported to another place and time. I didn't feel like I was in Florence or even that I was watching my friend. I saw the play come to life, and both actresses were spectacular.

I loved my first AperiTeatro, and look forward to more of them.

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