What I like about playwriting is everything is research.
Thanksgiving with a bunch of Europeans. Each one claiming, “This is the best thanksgiving ever!” as I serve my Italian specialty, in lieu of cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Gobbling up the “turkey” that we note tastes surprisingly similar to two roast chickens from the nearby grocery store. I made a playlist of “American” songs – whatever that means – so we listened to a lot of stuff about chicken too (and cold beer on a Friday night, and a pair of jeans that fit just right – thank you, Zac Brown Band). We even began going around saying what we were grateful for, since that’s what the American movies have made famous.
Spending a weekend in Firenze – Florence – with a Greek/Swiss/Italian family. The CD stops playing; the father asks his daughter to put on more music. A few seconds later he’s on his feet, swaying, eyes closed and head up – unable to resist the Greek music emanating from the stereo. I look at his daughter and ask if she played this music on purpose. She grins. A few bites of potato and oil so slippery it’s hardly there. Then the whole family – father, mother and daughter – are dancing together, smiling, somehow all moving together in a sort of slow motion can-can gone Greek.
Waking up at 5:30 AM every Tuesday to go to class on the island of San Servolo, an island off of Venezia. Sitting on the vaporetto that goes to the island every 40 minutes – Venetian public transport is known for efficiency, right? – full of other art students. Glued to a computer screen, learning very specific techniques of FinalCut Pro. In Italian. At lunch, I explain to a group of music-oriented Italians that “Turboslut” probably actually isn’t a really cool name for a band.
Wondering if these two Danish guys are the nicest people I’ve ever met, or if maybe that’s a Danish thing. A home-cooked meal, complete with tiramisu. Conversations about being an honorary Erasmus student. Surprising everyone with the fact that at most colleges in the US, you’re actually required to live on campus. Pasta with salmon and broccoli. I have never eaten tiramisu so slowly. Each bite too good.
The man working at the café on Giudecca now knows my order by heart. He gives me an espresso with a little pitcher of hot water – “caffé Americano” – and guesses that I want a brioche too (correct). I always order the same; the price is always different, oscillating around 2 euros. I wonder if there is any system for how much coffee and a brioche costs, or if they just make it up as they go.
Drinking fizzy water in Campo San Margherita, devouring my 573rd slice of pizza. Comparing stories with my friends – Swedish and French. For some reason carrying a little stuffed animal sheep – we love Fresh Prince – the whole time. Finding out my “last” Italian class was inexplicably cancelled, and deciding to watch “Abre Los Ojos” dubbed in Italian instead (for credit!).
Taking the train home. Thinking about before, about right now, about what I want to do when I’m home, when I grow up, thinking, thinking, thinking. Back in Pordenone.
Somehow this will all eventually make the most epic play of all time.