(edited notes I sent the actors before we started rehearsals)
It ought to be easy, it ought to be simple enough:
Man meets woman and they fall in love.
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
You’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above
If you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love
— I believe that seeing humanity (warts and all) allows us tochoose paths toward being our best selves. The Sopranos, Oedipus Rex, Pulp Fiction, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Scarface, The Duchess of Malfi are (at least in part) twisted tales that reveal the nasty, ugly, darkness of the soul. With a few laughs along the way.
— We need art that explores the dark sides of humanity because that darkness is part of the human experience.
— We need to see the things we DON’T want to be to help us know what we DO want to be.
— ‘Tis Pity is worth doing because it is a shocking exploration of these darker parts of humanity, because these characters and their journeys are remarkably “modern,” because of the multiple hopeless love stories intertwined with bad luck, villainy, and a rotting society are too fascinating not to watch with an on-the-edge-of-your-seat horror and with the hope for redemption and that something will happen to “make everything turn out all right.”
— What is love?
— What is sin?
— What is marriage?
— What should marriage be?
— The incest at the center of the play is not glorified or glamorized, but it is explored and dissected and judged.
— Giovanni pursues Annabella like Romeo goes after Juliet; she later repents, but it’s a big hot mess from beginning to end.
— This play starts like it could be Romeo and Juliet; except for the fact that this star-crossed couple is a brother and his sister.
— The secret love/consummation of the Giovanni/Annabella relationship implodes and splatters body parts all over the place.
— Each of the stories within the story are framed by a society that blasphemes the sacred and feeds the profane in ways only hinted at by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet.
— (spoiler alert for those who don’t want to know that “Rosebud” is the sled) The buddy relationship of Bergetto and Poggio combined with the love of Philotis and the death of Bergetto should be funny, beautiful, and heartbreaking.
— Hippolita’s attempted revenge, Soranzo’s outrage, Richardetto’s secret voyeurism, and Vasques as the in-the-shadows puppetmaster wannabe are all amazing pieces of this masterful play filled with complex characters, relationships, twists, and turns.
— AND, there’s some darn funny stuff in this play too. The tragedy is deepened by the lightness (one of Shakespeare’s favorite secret weapons). Bergetto’s death should matter more because the banter between Bergetto and Poggio makes us fall in love with them. That banter should make us fall in love with them because their appearances in the play often provide a great relief/release from the suffocating tragedies unfolding in front of us.
— But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough as we pray for love to save the day.
I’m here without a name
In the palace of my shame
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me
Love rescue me
ASC Artistic Director and Co-Founder
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