Meredith Webster in Trezzo, Italy

We are done with two shows and two programs in two days in Trezzo Sull’Adda now, and we are still standing, even without our shepherd Selby Poppins! The town is beautiful, and tiny. The river that runs through it and past our theater is silky and swift, and the ruins of the medieval castle are stoic and sentinel.

There have been a few challenges here to deal with. First of all, the jet-lag monster (see Corey’s March 8th entry). Also, our theater was beautiful- situated right on the edge of the Adda, with tons of cyclists, crew boats, and some swans to keep us company on breaks. However, the stage was a temporary structure built inside of the hydroelectric plant, so the technical capabilities were minimal. We’re used to that. But for some reason, the theme here was “flexible”- the stage itself had quite a lot of motion to it. If you were sitting or standing on the stage, any movement by someone else on the stage moved the floor below you, kinda like trying to dance on a trampoline that someone else is jumping on. Once you were moving too it didn’t seem quite as bad, but the light booms in the wings were shaking around like a 8.0 earthquake, so I am gonna go ahead and blame my lack of being “on my leg” on that.

The barres we warmed up with were also completely flexible in the middle, so it was quite obvious when we were using them for help because they would bow down like a rubber band. The “walls” in our dressing rooms were quite flexible as well, seeing as how they were tents erected right outside the building. The lighting was less than ideal for putting on makeup, and the girls were a little worried we’d go onstage looking like drag queens.

All of these issues pale in comparison though, to my real problems with this place:

1) There is a gelato shop outside the hotel, and EVERY flavor looks good. How is a girl supposed to decide? It doesn’t help when the first one you try (yogurt amarena- black cherry swirls in a slightly sour yogurt-flavored gelato) is the best gelato you’ve ever had. Now you have the compounded problem of whether to change the next time, and then if you DO decide to change, how could you possibly know which one to choose? They have everything from watermelon to lavender to cinnamon to your standard nocciola. This is how I learn my food words in Italian-go to the gelato shop and try one you don’t know to find out what the word means.

2) Fig trees grow like weeds in Italy, and apparently especially here in Trezzo, where they line the alleys and riverbanks. This is by far my biggest problem because fresh figs are perhaps my favorite food. FREE fresh figs right off the tree are definitely my favorite food. But ALL off the fig trees are here to tease me, since they are all loaded with figs, but there is not a ripe one anywhere to be found. We always seem to come to Italy at exactly this time of year when the trees are laden with puffy, but still hard, figs, and picking one before it’s ripe is a bit of a sacrilege and quite disappointing. So I am frustrated, and will still be the first one in line for fresh, not-free figs when the time is right in California.

Somehow, despite all these issues I seem to be able to enjoy myself in Italy. This could have something to do with the friendly people and welcoming language, the fresh, beautiful food, cheap wine, excited audiences, or the bicycle ride I took along the sun-spotted riverside path on our day off. Who knows how I handle it.

Tomorrow we go to Israel! My first time, as I think it is for everyone. Hopefully Israel won’t be so problematic.

Written by Meredith Webster.