Thursday, May 8, 2008

a weekend in milano

i think i was kidding myself when i thought for a moment that this was going to be blog about the play and the rehearsal process.

for lunch on saturday, laura cooked pasta and gaby, myself, and matteo joined her as we sat out on their terrace to enjoy the lovely weather. it's very civilized, this dining al fresco.

precious moments

a view of a neighboring roof.

in their kitchen, matteo loads the dishwasher, laura does some translating, and gaby makes coffee. a typical italian kitchen? perhaps. i've very little to compare it to.

looking out the kitchen window.

a domestic moment (i love those two chairs in the foreground.)

afterward, gaby, laura, and myself visited the nearby flea market to find props and bits for costumes. it was crowded with people looking for deals in high-priced milano.

we didn't have much luck finding what we needed, and i was done with the whole shopping adventure within minutes of arriving there, so i started amusing myself with taking photos "from the hip". it's faster and less obtrusive than actually bringing the camera up to eye-level,

but i don't always get the moment that i'm hoping for.

i could practice this for hours if i had the time.

laura doesn't even want to be seen with this pair of underwear.

back at the loft that night, javi fixes something to eat. this is the view from my area of the loft.

this is looking at my bed on the raised area. the fabric that is hanging on the wall opens to become curtains between the living areas. gaby's bed is in the foreground.

the highlight of the weekend was lunch on sunday with laura's dad, angelo. this was on the bus on the way to the train station on the way to his house.

laura grew up in the house where he still lives. it's on a piece of land that used to be a farm and has been in the family since 1911. assorted relatives live in the other houses on the property and they joined us for lunch out on the lawn. again, very civilized.

now, this is a meal i had been looking forward to because i'd heard from multiple sources that laura's dad is a good cook. i was not disappointed. for appetizers, there was homemade bread, anchovies with green onions, caponata (raw tuna with tomatoes, green onions and other tasty ingredients)...

...sausages, and some sort of homemade chickpea mash. all washed down with champagne.

the dog, oba, knew he was missing out on a good thing.

another precious moment

laura's dad and her cousin, gloria.

i sat next to laura's cousin, stefano. he was very kind and spoke english and asked me about the american political system. we came to the conclusion that it's a system that doesn't always work. his mom and dad are to his left. every time i looked at her i thought, "elaine stritch".

the real elaine stritch

there's a resemblance, right?

the dog really knew how to work the table, but he always went back to his favorite.

after all this, out comes roast chicken, and chicken cacciatore. come on. delicious. he made the roast chicken especially for gaby because he knows how much she likes it.

all of this followed by espresso and chocolates. the sun was shining, and yes, the birds were singing.

i had to explore inside the house and i found this photo of laura and matteo taken the day after they became engaged. javi makes an appearance in the reflection.

while we digested, we worked on our lines for the play. once again, my fellow actors take direction very well. i ask them to wave, and they do.

i was working my 'fro.

elaine, um, i mean, laura's aunt anna, has a chat with her cousin.

i had to smash down my 'fro in order to for the house to be seen in the background.

i really wanted to get a photo of laura and her dear dad, but as soon as they hugged each other for the camera, oba the dog started barking like crazy just out of frame.

and then jumping at them.

finally, a dog-free shot.

and then we all wanted in on it before we said goodbye.

afterward, cousin gloria drove us into the city. javi and i were dropped off at The Castle.

the castle has massive courtyards and is surrounded by a park; all open for the public to explore.

outside the castle

inside the castle

it also houses a few museums that we didn't see. it was a beautiful, late sunday afternoon and everyone was out for a stroll. see how happy these people are to be out for a stroll?

this is the beginning of my headless series...

old, very old

i just now noticed that the dragon in the middle is eating somebody. and it looks like i took the photo upside down.

headless series continues

javi had been here once before and remembered lots of cats living on the premises. we think their numbers may have been weeded out, but we did find a few.

castle kitty

nature at the castle

old bits

reflections of... the way life used to be...

and then it was back out on the street.

the innocent milanese, helping me in my photo addiction. most of the time, they don't seem to notice me. i can blend in with the other tourists.

but then there are those like the two men on the left who look directly at me.

and the woman in the center

crack dealer

this guy was carving flowers and animals out of root vegetables.

i'm thinking that this guy should update his portfolio. i'm pretty sure that's supposed to be tom cruise and nicole kidman in a passionate embrace above him.

all sorts of things were being sold. i bought some socks.

monday night, after rehearsal, laura treated us all to face massages at a place near her house. i went in first. the woman who massaged me was very nice. in a dimly lit room, she made me put my hair in a shower cap type of headwear. i was glad that my hair was braided so i didn't have to do the embarrassing "my hair doesn't fit" routine. i took off my glasses, which always makes me feel vulnerable, and laid down while she gently rubbed my face and neck and shoulders using a very nice smelling lotion. fifteen minutes later, she stopped and without a word to me, left the room and shut the door behind her. i laid there in my crinkly cap. was this my cue to get up and leave? i figured she wouldn't have closed the door if she didn't want me to relax, so i closed my eyes. i couldn't actually fall asleep, although i did try, because i kept wondering if the others were done yet and if i should get up and investigate. naaaah. they'd come get me if it was time to go. the door to my cubicle slides open. it's a different woman coming to get some lotion. she asks me in italian if i slept well. "si, si! grazie!" and then she left and closed the door behind her. well clearly, if they wanted me out of there, they would have said something to me. i tried to relax and close my eyes, but now it was starting to feel as if i'd been in there quite a while. i wanted a quick photo before i left, but then i was afraid someone would walk in and i'd be standing there in a dark room, blindly taking pictures of myself in a funny cap. i did it anyway.

when i finally left the room, laura, gaby, and javi were all massaged and waiting for me. laura said she even asked one of the employees if everything was ok with me. of course! doesn't everything look okay with me?

that night, we had gelato at a place called chocolate. and this wasn't even the good gelato place that laura keeps telling me about.

in acting, it's important to know your character's need and intention. when i look at this photo, it's very clear to me what these two need and want.

rehearsed, massaged, fed - we were content, but tired and happy to be going home.

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