A true stage

Adopted by an Italian theatre company

Emily Elliott
September 12, 2013

Most students who come to Florence hope to acquaint themselves with the culture and the people. I was one of the lucky individuals whose experience turned into a full immersion. A student at the Florence University of the Arts, I interned for six weeks with an Italian theater company, Nexus Studio, on its production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We worked at the villa in Sesto Fiorentino, just outside of Florence, where Carlo Collodi, the writer who created Pinocchio, supposedly got his inspiration for the story.

 

Nexus Studio originally began as a troupe of actors who specialized in commedia dell’arte, a form of theatre characterized by masked ‘types’ that began in Italy in the early sixteenth century and improvised performances based on set characters. Not only did I work with actors in a cultural context devoid of tourism, but I also performed in the show as a member of the cast.

 

The director, Rosario Campisi, who also played the Oberon character, wanted to weave some type of music into the show to create a magical feeling to accompany the story of fairies and magic flowers that cause mischief. That’s where I came in: cast as an additional fairy as part of the musical ensemble that represented the magic of the forest and the story, I sang a cappella at different points throughout the show.

 

In addition to artistic side of performing, I also experienced the backstage in terms of theatre marketing. I created a Twitter account for the studio and tweeted regularly in English, while translations were emitted in Italian.

 

Being a part of a show is always wonderful, but doing this in a different country was certainly challenging at times and truly extraordinary. I experienced working with other artists outside of my comfort zone and learned many things about people and the art of theatre itself. The friendly theatre environment I have already experienced in the United States is the same in Italy.

 

The cast and crew here were so welcoming, kind, and accepting of my presence from the moment I arrived. Every interaction, frequent or occasional, was always positive. I created strong bonds with the actors despite language blocks.

 

Professionally speaking, I come away from this experience with a more evolved idea of communication, teamwork, dedication through difficult times and a better understanding of becoming a part of a professional cast. On a personal level, the experience taught me that people are people no matter where we go.

 

Indeed, this experience of collaborating with Nexus Studio is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and integrate into my professional career as something that truly made me learn and grow as an artist and, more importantly, as a person.

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