Tea time with Shakespeare

Ladies and Gentlemen
Welcome to the Globe Theatre
Today I have the honour
To present to you
The major masterpiece
By William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet
Let the show begin!
Here come the Lord’s Chamberlain Men

On the other side of a little curtain, the great Elizabethan theatre stands: fanfares, drums, thunderous applauses are warning the performance is about to begin.

This is a huge red dot on Mary’s agenda, you know? Right so! She is Mr Charles Goodwin’s seamstress `jackie` of all trades, and — it was about time!, she, too, will wear a costume and enter the stage! Sure, her face will not be visible, she will only be allowed to assume the role of a silent friar. Hooded head to toes her `job` will be to settle a little tree in order for the audience to understand the set has shifted into a forest. That’s already a lot, though, isn’t it? Everyone knows women cannot act. Devil’s business! The Puritans are super-strict.

She is fine as so, though. On this side of Sir William Shakespeare’s great theatre she is the minor queen of a kingdom of imagination and `action` and a great deal must be done: stage dress, do hair, make up, for the greatest young actor ever seen under Queen Elizabeth’s `theatrical` reign; and tonight he will be interpreting the role of Juliet. Sure, quite a sad story this one, but Master Shakespeare, it’s known, he is unpredictable! As when he invented the story of the donkey, or the one of the skull. She has fun Mary — silly girl!, in her minor realm. She preserves of it the chaotic order, and can find anything in there: wigs, little shoes, trinkets, mannequins, swords, face powder. Even tea pot and cups!

She imagines having tea with the Queen herself — it is said it takes hours to make her white, that is to cover smallpox marks, and the greatest playwright of England, what now? — silly girl!, of the whole world. That’s right! She imagines an encounter for tea between Elizabeth and `Willy` — that is how Mr Goodwin calls him. Thus, all of a sudden, she is the one who becomes a playwright, and a doll maker too, of a couple of images at the core of a child-friendly Elizabethan theatre storytelling. Condensed information, superbly investigated yet essential, forever to be cherished — thanks to the power of narration, into the memory of small and big generations.

This is one adorable fresco, Shakespeare a merenda (2016), signed, directed, and interpreted by Elena Russo Arman, and splendidly portrayed in a gallery of tableaux vivants, complete with feather duster, sceptre of a minor queen who is much informed of all the folds registered in a history that lives itself in the art of theatre. Precise, yet creative, La Vie en Rose lives in her creativeness with the `mille capinere` song, and she accurately tells the truth about theatre as better one couldn’t: `A magnificent fiction exhibiting a reality truer than truth, whilst the effects on the audience are surprising`. This is the beauty of it!

Mr Goodwin always says so — in Francesco Gagliardi recorded voice:

Mary! Silly girl!
Remember! This is The Globe
The biggest theatre in London
There are no old shows here
Only new audiences

She dreams, Mary, in Mr Goodwin’s dressing room, and she keeps herself busy while she awaits for the signal, a fanfare, and when it comes, rapid she slides on the other side of the little curtain…

© Laila Pozzo


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