Saturday, May 31, 2008

lessons learned and a salute to salame

ah, where to begin? perhaps with the life lessons i've learned recently:

1. never do business with veronica pecorini.
2. never do a play, particularly a quiet, intimate one, in a room adjacent to a bar.
3. de santis makes sandwiches that are so good, they make me want to cry.

perhaps one or more of these may seem obvious to you, but each of us must learn life's lessons in our own way, in our own time.

last night's performance turned out to be our last. we were scheduled to close tonight, but the restaurant had a party scheduled to begin at the same time as our play, and rather than trying to speak over that kind of noise, we canceled tonight's show. why would the restaurant have a party scheduled when it had been agreed that they would have no evening events during the run of our show? well, you'd have to ask our "producer", veronica pecorini, who had reassured us that she would take care of the scheduling. in fact, she made quite a few promises, most of which were unfulfilled. i will admit, she did get us the space for free, but looking back, what good is a free space if we have to rehearse with pop music blaring in the background and if each performance is a competition with bar noise? the other promise that veronica kept was that she also let us use clothing and props borrowed from her vintage store; however, after assuring us that she would arrive at the space with all that we needed, laura and gaby ended up having to go to her store themselves, pick out what we needed, and transfer it all to the space.

we learned that veronica doesn't answer her phone, nor does she return phone calls. she also doesn't show up for meetings. she's actually listed in the program as set designer, but after a couple of weeks of nagging her for a set design, laura and gaby had to once again show up at veronica's store where she quickly scratched out her "set design" on a piece of scrap paper. honestly, it looks like the doodles of a bored office worker. in the end, we rearranged the set pieces in a way that better suited the play. one of my favorite set pieces, a moveable laundry line, wasn't even her idea, and she was against it from the start. she also told gaby that she could easily get 50 people to each performance. she brought 5 the entire week. and to top it off, she gave them each a discount on their tickets. even laura's dad and ej's mom paid full price.

the list goes on and on about veronica's shortcomings as a producer, so suffice it to say that when the cast gathered for our speed-thru rehearsal yesterday, and laura brought the news that there was going to be a party in the restaurant during our show saturday night and that veronica told her there was nothing she could do about it, i wasn't that surprised. i was a bit surprised that in the end, we would have to sacrifice our last scheduled performance. we all agreed that this was for the best, considering the alternative, and sadly, we went about preparing for our new closing night performance. i was also surprised by just how sad i was. i cried. i tried to keep it in, you know, save some for the performance, but tears leaked out just the same.

the good news is ej's mom, hanna, and her boyfriend, piergiorgio, came to the show. thank goodness they weren't planning on coming saturday night. the audience was smaller than the last couple of nights, but appreciative. unfortunately, the noise from the bar was there from beginning to end and it was frustrating and distracting. i remember being there in the show, trying to send support to whichever particular castmate was having their scene, trying to tell them to forge through, forget the noise we all hear, or better yet, use that anger in the scene. neighbors from the loft complex came too, and it wasn't until after the show that i discovered that one of them is a vj for mtv here in italy. i knew that the vj guy had popped his head into one of our early rehearsals, and i had met and chatted with marco our neighbor and his lovely family on a few occasions, but i didn't put it together that marco is the vj. sometimes, i'm just quick like that. anyway, i think considering the distractions, the show went well.

friday began innocently enough. it was the third day in a row that we started with coffee and a baked good at our local pasticceria. this time, deardog joined us al fresco.

he was feeling ambitious and climbed to the top of mt. lavazza.

from there, we headed into the city for salame sandwiches, and darnit, this time we were going to The Best Sandwich Place in Milan if it killed us. on the way, we stopped at "the last supper" on the off chance that there might be a cancellation for the day. there was not. i think i'm going to have to let go of the idea of seeing it in person on this trip. here are pink reproductions next to the ticket counter where they turned us away for the second time.

and then it was off to de santis for a different kind of art: the salame sandwich. it was crowded with suits for the lunch rush, and after surveying the very large menu of sandwiches, we placed our orders and wriggled our way through the crowd to a little table to wait with anticipation.

in the meantime, we watched and learned.

and our trio arrived. so beautiful! just the right bread to salame ratio. warm and toasty. brie melty. buonissimo!

this one's for my dad.

precious moments.

basking in the afterglow of my sandwich.

they both had another round of sandwiches. complete contentment. (honestly, there is no going back to other sandwiches. i'll eat them, but they'll always be compared, most likely unfavorably, to the salame heaven i tasted at de santis.)

friday night was the only night that i didn't eat before the performance, so i was starving by the time we finished. and since we all needed a little comfort for closing the play early, matteo was kind enough to drive us across town to the best gelato place in milano: rigoletto's. i had panna cotta and strawberry. divina!

we may have been sad about the play closing early, but at least it hasn't affected the quality of our food.

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