Author Archives: Michael Pauley

Follow Our Current Work!

Our adventure creating Midsummer was such an exciting experience, but Hyperion is back in action right now working on our next show- That Funny Mask Show 6. You can check out our blog for that show as well-
http://thatfunnymaskshow6.wordpress.com/

And we are also working on the next journey into Shakespeare as well- look for more updates soon on when we will be bringing Midsummer back along with another one of the Bard’s plays.

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My Closing Thoughts…..

Thank you- Thank you- Thank you-

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this project.

Before I begin to dive into all of the people that I would like to thank I want to take a moment to reflect on my five weeks in Italy. Myself and Derick are the last two of our group remaining here in Milan. It’s monday afternoon- we leave for New York Weds morning, so I have one last day here in Milan to take in Gelato, pizza, pasta; one last walk past the Duomo and through the park; one last bottle of wine–

So some parting words from Shakespeare as we began to close our 2011 season in Italy-

“I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was… the eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was.”

I am changed by this experience. Nina sent me an email last week- “I have to say that this was probably the most incredible experience I’ve had in my professional career, and maybe in my life!”

I have walked upon some of the oldest roads that exist in the world. I have touched the walls of the Collesium, looked upon the columns of the senate where Julius Caesar walked; Entered into the pantheon built by Agrippa- swam in the mediterranean, stood upon the Rialto Bridge, traversed the fair streets of verona, broken bread with Romans, Milenese; drank beer beneath the columns of San Lorenzo- walked to the top of St. Peters- performed a shakespeare play in an olive grove— spent several weeks sharing in this experience with an amazing group of people. Did everything go perfectly according to plan- of course not. Like any family there were times of frustrations and aggravations- but the scales of our time in Italy are over balanced by the love, the laughter, the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood forged here over these past few weeks. As I have said many times that though we strive for the utmost excellence in ourselves and our work, I believe that in our humanity, we often find perfection in our imperfections.

For me what was my most perfect night in Italy? It would have to be our first night in Rome- the Trestevere Four- now I will preface by saying that I love everyone who came on this trip very much. In Rome, Celeste, Laura Frye, Tristan, and I were housed in a part of Rome called Trestevere- it was the farthest housing possible from transportation, so the four of us decided to take it on ourselves. While getting to and from the theater and downtown Rome was a little bit harder for us, we got the opportunity to explore Trestevere, a wonderful little section of Rome. Our first night, after everyone was settled into their apartments, the four of us put on our nicest, allbeit winkled, clothing and set out to explore our home for the week. The cobble stone streets wind about in patterns my brain never really understood. I was always lost in Trestevere. We found our way to a little restaurant and had the perfect dinner. A couple bottles of wine, some pasta. All of the stresses of the tour went away for a few hours and we laughed and had a dinner that I don’t think any of us will forget. It was the perfect Italian dining experience. We made our way through the winding streets to what we named The American Bar. (mind you we had been in Italy for a few weeks by this time, and were ready for a little American culture). They had Happy Days playing on the TV- bottles of Bud and shots of Jager and Jameson. We made our way back to the American Bar a few times during our week in Rome. In our drunkeness we managed to stumble back to our apartment and up the long steps- I don’t remember walking up the steps that night- I’m not sure if my partners in crime that night do either. There of course was more drunkeness to follow. Pictures from that evening have been locked away in the company vault never to see the light of day except by the Trestevere Four. The days and nights that followed in Rome were great, but that first night was perfect. Coming into this trip, I did not realize how much the bonds of our friendship would deepen. I could also spend some time writing about our first week in Milan- the bottles of wine Nina, Derick, Celeste and I drank while sitting on our terrace on Eustachi breathing our first breaths of Italian air. I could write about the amazing meal Celeste’s parents took us to in Pietro Santa- I could write about how it felt to finally perform this show on the stage of Teatro Franco Parenti in front of 300 people for the first time- I could write about a lot of things– what matters most to me now as I begin to pack my bags and bid farewell is how fortunate I feel to be coming home having forged much stronger bonds of love and friendship- and a sense of pride in the quality of the work we presented here.

With any luck and hope- we will be starting a blog for the 2012 season soon- fingers crossed that we are able to set up a second season.

And now my final Thank You’s—

Thank you to my partners in production- Thank you to Celeste for your endless hours of work, the early morning phone calles to the visa office, booking flights, trains, buses, bicycles, apartments, venues, the multitide of logistics required to move a 14 person company from New York to Milan to Forte dei Marmi to Rome back to Milan and back home to New York, and thank you for the million other things you have done that have gone unmentioned till now.

Thank you to Nina- what an incredible celebration of our first five years of collaboration as business partners in Hyperion this has been. How incredible it is to reflect on what we have acomplished in the past five seasons, and how exciting it is to look forward at what amazing things we will accomplish in the coming years. To succeed in this monomental task so early in the development of our company foreshadows incredible successes yet to come.

Thank you to Derick- sometimes our stage manager, sometimes our counselor, always a dear friend. Thank you for your hours behind the drivers wheel from New York to Chicago to the autostradas of Italia. Thank you for always having a roll of brown electrical tape in your pocket. And we laughed, and we laughed, and we laughed….

Thank you to all of our actors- Laura Montes, Laura Frye, Tristan Colton, Michael Pauley, Nina Ashe, Lamar Lewis, Steve Watts, Celeste Moratti, Joe Discher, Nannette Deasy, Kevin Gilligan, Loren Dunn, Andrew Kimler, Robert Baumgardner…. thank you for your hearts, for your souls, for your gifts of talent-

To Danillo- Thank you Thank you Thank you for joining our company when we arrived in Rome and for lighting our way- I wish I knew more Italian so I could have spoken with you more. You are simply amazing!

To Roberto and Leslie- Thank you for opening your home and your hearts to us in Forte dei Marmi- Thank you for welcoming us into your home and onto your beach– Thank you for doing so much to help and support our efforts this year- You were our productions guardian angels that we never even knew that we were going to have–

To the Moratti Family- Millie, Massimo, Carlotta, Mao, Maria, Gigio- Thank you so much for your hospitality- for welcoming us into your homes and your hearts for these weeks and for showing us all the beauty of Italy-

Fanni, Jean Carlo, Angela, Enzo, Luca- thank you so much for all that you did to help support us- driving us, cooking us meals- you are all too amazing for words

Thank you to Dario and Allessandro for hosting us in Rome and giving us the opportunity to perform in your beautiful space-

Thank you to Andrea and Frederico for hosting us in Milan- Teatro Franco Parenti is too beautiful for words-

Thank you to our audiences for coming and sharing in this experience- from Queens to an olive grove in Forte, to Rome and Milan- thank you for being the vital part of this experience without which we would not exist.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog…

Dal mio cuore, addio fino ala prossima volta
(from my heart, farewell till next time)

Ciao,

Mike

Pizza and San Lorenzo

One final night here in milano before the cast arrives. Derick had some more prep work to do before they all get here. As i write this they are flying over the atlantic on their way here.

Nina and i went with celeste to get some pizza. Tonight we are staying at celeste’s brother’s house- gigio. He lives in an apartment near the duomo pretty much near the center of the city, right next to the univeristy of milan. Right around the corner is a very old church. During the 1600’s there was a plague in milano, and the bones of the dead where used to make an alter in that church which still is there to this day.

Milano is fantastico at night. There arent alot of street lights and so the city is very dim at night. We walked along a narrow street with the road made up of smooth round stones. Celeste said to me, “you know that these roads are thousands of years old, darling…”.

It wasnt long before we found the small restaurant that celeste wanted to take us to. We started with an insalata pomodora. Cherry tomoatoes sliced and tossed in virgin olive oil. This was followed with a margharita pizza for me and for celeste. Nina ordered hers with fungi. It was perfecto. Of course i accompanied my pizza with a coca cola.

After we finished we took a walk over to celeste’s parents home to look at some of her instruments which we might want to add into the show. Celeste’s dad was fantastic, and told us he was looking forward to seeing us in forte dei marmi this week. As we headed out into the courtyard of her family apartment, celeste pointed out some paintings on the walls. She told us that they were painted by the students of leonardo davinci. We looked up into the night sky. Today milano is filled with too much smog to see much starlight, but celeste tells us that when she was young she would come out here and be awed by the flames of light in the nighttime sky… Candles burning out there in the universe. Celeste tells us that the sku of forte dei marmi will still hold this wonder at night.

We headed back to gigios place and celeste left us. I thought my evening was over when mino popped into our room. Mino is a friend of gigios who is also living here. We enjoyed dinner with gigio and several of his friends a few nights ago. Mino asked if i was interested in grabbing a quick beer with him and a group of friends at the columns of san lorenzo. I figured, why not. We jumped onto a vespa and cruised down the streets of milano.

We arrived a few minutes later at the columns of san lorenzo. They are from the time of caesar… Sixteen columns in front of the church of san lorenzo. There is a large square there and it is filled with young people in their early to mid twenties. Vendors stand with a cooler selling bottles of beer, and groups gather to sit in small circles playing cards, drinking beer, smoking, laughing. Mino tells me that there is something amazing about the columns of san lorenzo. They were put in place centuries ago for people to gather, to discuss, to do business, to meet one another. Today that tradition is carried on every thursday, friday, and saturday night. You can feel that this is a place of tradition and celebration.

We quickly found minos friends and sat down to enjoy some beer and conversation. One of minos friends, marcus, had just returned to milano from a trip to the americas, where he visited new york, montreal, toronto, las vegas, and san fransisco. The guys quickly got started talking in italian, and i sat back and enjoyed the energy of the place. Parlo un poko italiano, so i wasnt able to participate much. A few friends left, a few new ones came. One of the girls asked me where i was from, and she was very excited to hear i was from new york. After i told her i was here to do a show, she asked if i could do a scene for her. Mino, acting as a translator, laughed at this one he told me, but i was happy to oblige and give her a few lines of romeos from the balcony scene. I told her she had to come to the show in june, and i have set mino with the task of making sure she gets the invitation. After another short vespa ride we got back to gigios place. I am looking back on what has been a very surreal night. Tonight i walked along roads that are thousands of years old, i saw paintings drawn by the hand of leonardo davincis students, and only an hour ago i was soeaking shakespeare to a beautiful girl who hardly speaks english beneath the ancient columns of san lorenzo… It has been a good night in italy.

A trip to Venice and the cast is on the way….

Yesterday the production team took an official day off from work, really our first day off since we got here. Nina and Derick slept in, went for a run, and spent the evening with some friends here in Milan. Celeste and I headed out for a nice day trip to venice.

I woke up around 8am and spent a couple of hours continuing to work on some of my Italian vocal. Sta incora imporando. (I’m still learning).

Celeste came over around ten and we headed over to the statzione centrale and bought our tickets to Venice. The train didn’t leave till 11:30, so we headed to a cafe in the train station for a cappuchino and a discussion of how italia changed over from the lira to the euro around the year 2000. It is interesting to learn that this change was economically very difficult on many Italians. Around 1,000 lira was equal to about 1 dollar. A cappuchino used to cost around 500 lira. When the system changed to the euro, prices did not change proportionally. That cup of cappuchino now costs 2 euro. Mind you one euro equals about 1.4 dollars, so you can see that overnight much of the products here doubled in price in order to change to the new system, but pay did not translate this way. People continued to get paid about the same amount, I.e. If they got 10,000 lira an hour, they got 10 euro an hour, about the same amount of money.

We headed over and got on our train. It is a lovely ride across the north of italia. We traveled through many of the towns where Shakespeare set his plays. We passed through the padua of taming of the shrew and the Verona of Romeo and Juliet, before arriving upon othello and shylock’s city of Venice.

Everyone has seen pictures of Venice and knows how beautiful it is. But there is no way that you can explain it in real life, even with all of the amazing picture I took. Walking down the narrow paths and breathing the Venetian air is something that everyone shod experience at some point and time in their life.

Venice has become a city centered on tourism, and so at times it looses a sense of authenticity. This is the first place I have been in Italy where the shopkeepers say hello to you in English as soon as you walk throug the door. Venice is an expensive city to maintain. Everything is build on floating wood pieces which are in a constant state of decay from the water and need continual repair. The same goes for the electrical system. The city was built to receive shipments from boats, but in our modern world this is no longer needed with improved methods of transportation, and the cit survives now through tourism. Venice also tends to be a humid place. It is very gray, almost always cloudy.

The streets are lined with carts selling Venetian masks, fans, umbrellas, hats. Seafood is a major staple of the restaurants. The walkways are more narrow then you could ever imagine. You can let your imagination wonder and begin to see a world from 500 years ago, renaissance fisherman unloading their catch, dark and dangerous ally ways, a cold moon casting it’s light at night upon this enchanting city.

Celeste and I made our way to the Rialto, the famous bridge which stands as the best vantage point to see Venice. It overlooks one of the major rivers. Gondolas pass beneath the bridge while tourists from around the world snap pictures of this scene, freezing a moment for eternity.

We then made our way over to San Marco, the cathedral of Venice. Simply amazing. I told Celeste that from a distance, it almost seems like a painting on the horizon, too beautiful to be real. The symbol of San Marco and Venice is a winged lion, which stands on a pillar guarding the plaza of San Marco. Next to the cathedral stands a tall tower which has been a prison in years passed, and what once was the home to the dukes of Venice. Standing in San Marco one feels a sense of history. How many millions of eyes have gazed on this square? How many kings and queens, princes, dukes, how many…

We started to make our way back to the train. Along the way we picked up some gifts for people back home, and since Celeste and I are both doing the merchant of Venice this summer for the adirondack Shakespeare festival, we grabbed a few items for us to use in the show, a special treat for Tara bradway.

We also ducked into one of the mask shops. How could I visit Venice and not get a mask or too? I ended up buying two masks, one to hang on the wall, and one that is an authentic commedia Dell arte mask. This is one of the few places in the world where you can get a real leather mask made exactly the way that they used to make them in the 1300s. It cost 40 euros, but I think it was well worth it, and hopefully I will be back next year and can get another and get my collection of leather masks growing!

Celeste and I then ducked down a quite alleyway and we pulled out our merchant of Venice script. Maybe it is corny but we both took a little time and read some of our lines from the show.

A few minutes later we were back on the train to Milano.

Today we are preparing to depart Milano for forte die marmi and the arrival of the acting company, who should all be getting ready to leave their houses and should be well on their way to the airport by now. Celeste needs to vote first thing in e morning in the Milano elections. Then we will be off to settle into our first performance venue in forte die marmi. More on that soon, and as soon as I am able I will get pictures up from our trip to Venice.

Ciao, mike.

It’s AWESOME here!

Okay, so we are here to set things up for our tour, but should I feel guilty that I have also been relaxing and having an amazing time?  This country is so beautiful and I can’t wait until the rest of the cast gets here so we can get to work.  We’re gonna tear this show up!  Get your butts here so we can drink some wine and do some Shake-a -speare!  It’s going to be a lot of work… but Oh My God… the payoff!  Ciao!

Nina

Visit with our amazing host company in Milano- Teatro Franco Parenti

It’s almost 1am-  and this is the second time that i am writing this post-  i wrote this post at 9pm but the computer froze and so now, a couple of hours later,  i am once again posting about today.

We have been enjoying some fantastic vino and formaggio while discussing and planning out the itinerary for our three week tour here in Italy.  Much of this had been planned before we arrived,  but as is the case in planning an international tour, some elements needed to be re-worked and updated.

I will make a confession-  today I woke up at around 1:45pm-  Yes,  I slept in later then I think I have slept in for the past six years.  My body needed to recover from the lack of sleep it incurred over the past week while finishing my time at Gotham, packing, sending the set to Italy,  flying here,  traveling to and from Rome, etc.  But I woke up fully rested and ready to tackle the day!

Celeste came to our apartment at 2:00 and we set off to get to the train and to visit with our host company here in Milano-  Teatro Franco Parenti.  The trains in Milano are fantastico.  A bit nicer then the ones in Roma.

   

 

We got out of the subway and it was a short walk to the theater.  It is in a great part of town.  Teatro Franco Parenti is one of the premier performances venues in Milano,  Italia,  and all of Europe.  It has been in operation since the early 1970’s,  having hosted a number of important events and many stars of Italia as well as many international stars.  A few years ago the space was vacated for needed renovations,  and was just recently reopened.  Last night was actually the new dedication celebration.  The lobby of the theater still has some of last nights celebrations left over-  there are bags of white stones hanging from the ceiling.  The guests last night were each to take three stones-  one represents Franco Parenti’s past,  one it’s present,  and one it’s future.  All of the guests were then set to find a place to put their stones in the theater.  There are little white rocks all over the theater right now.

     

When we got to the theater we went directly into the back offices to meet with Frederico,  the director of programming.  He wanted to go over some details about dates.  We have decided to add a performance on Tuesday night (which was supposed to be a tech/dress/run) in order to help with continued promotions for the show.  The Tuesday night performance will be a big invitational night,  when Franco Parenti will try to bring in media and other prominent members of the theatre community in Milano to help generate a buzz about out show.  In addition we had the pleasure of meeting the rest of the team at Franco Parenti.  They have a large marketing department hard at work promoting all shows at the theatre.  There are seven people set to work on our show right now!  We got to see the proofs for the posters for our show which will be hung on the marquee of the theater and around Milano.  They have ordered over 5,000 postcards which will be passed out to members of their postal mailing list,  and they are preparing to begin an internet campaign,  sending emails to the 20,000 people on their emailing list.  They even have one person at the theater dedicated specifically to using facebook as a marketing tool-  he looked at our facebook fan page for the Midsummer show and suggested we get more people to LIKE it to help generate more buzz-  so if you have not become a fan of the show on facebook yet-  please do so now!  One of the things that is really exciting is that the marketing plan for our show has not even begun yet-  and we all ready have over 100 pre-sold tickets from word of mouth and early press work done by Celeste!

     

After talking with the marketing team it was off to see where we will be performing the show.  Frederico took us on a tour and let me say that this space is amazing!  I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to bring our show here.  We are performing on the main stage-  a 500 seat theater,  state of the art with everything an artist could hope to have.  It is simply amazing.

  

  

After seeing our space we toured the entire theater complex-  it’s second stage which seats 200 and several smaller black box spaces that seat anywhere from 20-100 people.  We also got to look at their 10 dressing rooms.  And Frederico showed us one last thing-  it’s not ready yet- it is the final part of the renovation,  but they are still working on getting it ready-  behind the theater is a huge swimming pool,  fountain, and outdoor performance space that is part of the future of Teatro Franco Parenti-  how exciting!

We said grazie and ciao to Frederico and headed off.  At this point I told Celeste ho fame e ho sete,  and she said she was too-  so we decided to go find some food and drink.  We started to walk around looking for a cafe and stumbled past the University of Milano,  where Celeste got her degree.  It is a beautiful school!

     

Then it was time to sit down at a cafe and have some pasta and a cappuchino.  We discussed our excitement for the arrival of the company and some thoughts about possible future seasons here in Milano if this year goes well.  But for now, let’s just focus on Midsummer…

  

We paid and headed out the door and realized we were down the street from the Duomo,  so we headed over to take in the sight.  The Duomo is a large cathedral located at the heart of most major cities in Italia.  The Duomo in Milano is an especially important one because it was the first, and set the standard for the other cities.  The Duomo in Milano was started around the year 800BC and was “completed” in the 1800’s,  though it continues to have structural work done non-stop to this day.  Also,  many of the early elements of the structure require a great deal of care to maintain.  When the Duomo was started,  the windows were painted with primitive methods including Cherry Juice for paint.

     

  

Celeste left us at this time and headed off to get some publicity pictures from her home for Teatro Franco Parenti.  Nina and I could see the Castle of Milan down the street, and decided to take a quick walk down to check it out.  Along the way, Nina stopped and picked up a bottle of Italian Nail Polish.  The Castle of Milan is an awesome sight to take in as well!  We each bought a coca-cola and sat down on the benches as the foot of the castle walls and enjoyed the setting of the sun over the city of Milan.

     

Nina and I got onto the subway and made our way back to the apartment.  We stopped at the Super Markato along the way to replenish our supply of wine and cheese,  and then I sat down to do my first attempt at this blog.  When it failed I called Celeste over and we worked out the schedule for the next three weeks,  and then I sat back down to re-wright this post.

Night has fallen on the city of Milan.  Our open terrace doors is letting the cool night air fill the halls of our apartment,  and the sound of the Vespas makes it’s way up from the boulevard below us.  The city is at peace,  and it is time to rest.  Buona notte everyone-

Mike

Aside

Early morning today.  Celeste and I headed out to catch the train to Roma at 7:30 this morning.  It is a lovely train ride through Bologna,  Florence,  and the beautiful country side along the way.  We arrived in Rome in … Continue reading