Sunday I was already feeling better thanks to Larisa’s teas, onion soup and evening ice cream. After a nice breakfast at Larisa’s place I left Milano for Rimini. Beatrice got me a ride on blablacar.com and in less than 3 hours I was in this beautiful town by the sea on the Eastern coast of Italy. Beatrice is a 20 year old model who wants to start an acting career. She posed for artsy photographers in Italy, did commercial jobs as a model and starred in a music video as the main actress. She helped me organize an acting workshop in Rimini that will be held there for a week. We will do exercises that let imagination grow, focus on creativity and freedom of expressing emotions. She welcomed me with the warmest and happiest smile someone can receive. And every minute in Rimini so far was like that smile, warm and full of happiness. I was offered my own room at her place, we had a nice evening meal and then we had a nice walk on the beach with Chris, one of her best friends who helped her pick me up with his car from the highway and bring me to Rimini. Meeting Chris was like meeting one of my early struggles, choosing between being a programmer or an actor. I told him that when I had to make a decision I removed money from the equation and chose with my heart. But look where it got me, travelling across Europe without any money in my pocket. Not really a programmer’s midsummer night dream.
Monday was the first day of workshop. Three of the six participants could not come, so it was just me, Beatrice, Livia and Filippo. It was a rainy day so instead of staying in park we went to hide in the perfect place for our workshop, Caffe Teatro. We talked about different methods of teaching acting, what they focus on and what instruments they develop for an actor. We discussed Meisner’s ping-pong, Adler’s focus on imagination and Strasberg’s affective memory. Livia and Filippo are both musicians and their experience in music is making our discussions about acting simpler and more interesting. We did a couple of exercises based on image memory and another one that develops attention that were fun and did not attract too much attention from the other customers.
Tuesday we were joined at the workshop by Beatrice’s brother, Francesco, a very funny and smart guy who is studying to get his PhD in economy. We were still missing two participants, but we had a big beautiful park to ourselves and we started having fun. We moved, we improvised, we talked, we sang. We did exercises that brought them closer as a team and I was happy to see them starting to communicate better between them. It’s a beautiful feeling to see people trusting each other and opening themselves without fear in front of the others. I was surprised by their way of dealing with ideas and concepts in improvisation exercises. Instead of opting to do a truthful or lifelike action, they sometimes chose to do a symbolic one, that was so precise that everyone could understand its meaning. It’s a thing that misses from Romanian theater. Obsessed with the truth on stage, we rarely have any space for other types of creativity. Maybe working with concepts and ideas can harm the truthfulness of an interpretation or the emotional transfer between actor and audience, but I was surprised to see that on an intellectual level the message is sent clearly and concisely. Probably the magic is in sending a message that can also trigger emotion after being received.
As the day was ending and a pizza was being digested in my stomach, I felt thankful to Beatrice for organizing this workshop. I was with nice and creative people, I was learning new things and I could feel that my workshop was making them feel free and playful.