18 April, 2010

Capturing the Zeitgeist, Part Four: One Last Hurrah

I feel inclined, on Ms DePalma's final day of performance, to share with you one last Sophie Hurrah. She will be missed, but clearly she shall continue to live on... perhaps in her very own Vegas show... you never know... her off stage persona gets a lot of air time... clearly...

Future possibility:

Sophie DePalma: A Road Trip with Sharon
     [includes preliminary scenes composed yesterday with Laquita that go roughly like this:


Sophie: Hi Sharon, um... I heard you live in Ohio and I live in Michigan so maybe we could roadtrip it back together after the semester is over...? I have a car, pop some Rossini in the tape-deck and ride into the Midwest together? ...

Sharon: [pause] No.


Sophie: Hi there Sharon

Sharon: [silence]

Sophie: Okay. Well sooooooo sorry to bother you about this but could I borrow your Norma score? I'm working on Teneri figli and was studying in the bath and whoops! dropped it in and I have a coaching in an hour and.. you know... it would be soooo great if you would lend me yours and I'll give it right back safe and sound I promise! [smiles]

Sharon: [eyes wide, not blinking, stares at her in total whyareyoueventalkingtome astonishment] No.

[she walk away, and just before she turns a corner--] and girl, you should stop studying in the bath!

After these scenes Sharon's flight is cancelled due to apocalyptic winter weather and she concedes to go with Sophie on the road trip in order to make it back to Ohio in time for Christmas... with hilaaaaaarious consequences! Thoughts?

And other possibilities include:

Sophie DePalma and the Lost Umbrella 

Sophie DePalma: Down Under

Sophie on the Roof

Sophie DePalma's SCHOOL OF ROCK

Sophie Knows What You Did Last Summer 

Sophie at the Bat

Are you there God? It's me Sophie.

Sophie DePalma  Explains it All For You

Basically, Sophie DePalma is the gift that keeps on giving...


And a final word from Genius and Director Stephen Wadsworth [pictured left]:

"Sophie takes out full-page advertisement in New York Times (paid for by her Russian mafia sabrillionaire boyfriend): SOPHIE DE PALMA, STUDENT OF MARIA CALLAS, NOW OFFERING VOICE LESIONS.

Only after it goes to press does someone bring her attention to the fact that it says lesions and not lessons.

She is however contacted by several late-career singers looking for a way to wind down.  She succeeds in giving them vocal lesions through the same exercises she used for vocal lessons, they file for workman's compensation on their last job, her husband pays their legal bills, and she becomes quite famous for destroying voices on a tight schedule.  Late in life, after her trial in the Hague on charges of genocide, she tells the Washington Post, "There are so many teachers out there building voices, I thought it would be good to help people destroy them.  I mean, what are you going to do with a great big voice if you're just going to end up in a little room in an old people's home?  Where are you going to put it.  Do you really think the family is going to STORE it?"


Farewell Sophie DePalma: You were not only a lovely, well-meaning, sensitive girl capable of such depth and feeling... you were also a hell of a hoot. Don't be a stranger.

Over and out.

16 April, 2010

I've Been

faking it-- Operatically speaking

hanging with the Puritani Quartet in the Greenroom, 1835

getting Sophie DePalma’s score signed by Maestro Bellini himself

 (...in fact, making up an entire life for lil' miss Sophie DePalma and sharing it with you...and with Stephen Wadsworth... and with the entire company... and with Terrence himself... and... and...and...)

dining with legends

engaging in the spirit of the Terrance McNally Triptych by drinking vodka and sharing tales laaaaaate into the night with Manu and Roe— one of us from each play. Magic.

making some serious new friends.

…And enjoying my love for/of the old ones (up to and including living with Alex & Oliver, visits to DC from Alley, Maro, Santino, Steinmans, Bergen, Mannings, Jessica…)

struggling with solitude
... and with several Achilles heels

achieving incredible new understanding

discovering Honey. Roasted. Peanut. Butter (= WHOA...)

enjoying the epic beauty of the DC cherry blossoms in the most glorious and romantic way possible. "...The blossoms are just comin' down by thereselves..."

(…and, in that light, I suppose realizing I am far further along than I previously thought...)

going for long runs on the Washington Mall (Memorials Lincoln to Washington to Capitol to Vietnam and back to Kennedy… how boring…)

 feeling patriotic

making it up as I go along with Tyne


surviving with Laquita.

The Girl About Town

singing around the piano with Malcolm Getts (and Manu Narayan, and Marc Kudish…)

drinking pomegranate champagne
...with Doris Roberts

getting the last bit of it out of my system
     (…and feeling pretty damn proud/excited/great about that)

contacting all my ex-boyfriends… in a single day…

preparing for Chapter 3

eating Oliver's gorgeous, homemade, organic, locally sourced food every single flipping day! (NnnnnnDelicious!)

re-connecting with family. what a joy.

falling in totally love with every. single. cast member. of the lisbon traviata (…and weeping when they leave!)

reuniting with The Alexandra Sisters

experiencing Act 2 solitude (-- the joys and sorrows of

singing at Terrence McNally & Tom Kirdhay’s wedding. Unbelievable.

languishing in the true joy of the season: the reese's peanut butter egg. now also in mini sizes... daaaaaaamn...

Predicting other people’s pregnancies

flashing black finger nails
…and burgundy
…and red…ooo…

falling in love with trains

14 April, 2010

Capturing the Zeitgeist, Part Three: More from Sophie DePalma

Inspired by the genius of a certain director, Mr. Stephen Wadsworth...
more titles from Sophie DePalma.

* * *


[Captions: The Pap, Night Vision, Under the tarmac,
 Hiding in the brush, a clever DISGUISE"AHA! Up THERE!",
SquishedDon't freakin' MESS with me... Dusting for prints...]





11 April, 2010

Capturing the Zeitgeist, Part Two: The Puritani Quartet

Golden Age explores the night of January 24, 1835, opening night of Vincenzo Bellini's final opera I Puritani (The Puritans), starring the four most celebrated singers in Europe known as The Puritani Quartet. As the audience, we have a backstage peek at the world behind the scenes on an opening night, exploring not only the ins and outs of being in the theatre, but the ins and outs of being of the theatre. Bellini himself is dying of consumption, but the necessity for creation drives him forward.

We share a Greenroom with them.
The 1970's meets 1835.
It's pretty weird. 

* * *

So. There they are in the Greenroom shared by 1970's New York City and 1835 Paris.
A coffee machine.
A few dozen puzzles.
A spades game in the corner.
Theatrical posters along the walls from present day to days of yore.
The day was inevitable.
The day was today:

Sophie DePalma meets her idol, soprano Giulia Grissi...in the company of her fellow Puritani Quartet members-- baritone Tamburini, bass LaBlanche and tenor Rubini.

[excited face!!!]


[Sophie gathers herself as best she can, pulls up her knee socks, and appraoches Grissi, perhaps including herself in Grissi's personal space juuuuuuust a touch...]

Sophie: ...Omygodyour Adalgisa in Maestro Bellini's Norma was leeeeeeeeegendary...

Giulia: Haha! [coy light laughter complete with theatrical head-shaking and hand flicking] ...Yes.

Sophie: May I touch your necklace?


Giulia: Um. [she blinks] Certainly...

[she removes it]

Sophie: ...and would you sign my score?!

Grissi: eh?

Tamburini: What's that magic flashing box?

Rubini: [aside] perhaps she will not see me stealing her jewels while the magic box flashes...

* * *


Sophie: Ooooooooh...

[Giulia's left hand pulls the jewels iiiiimperceptibly away...]

Giulia: Careful Sophie! Careful now my dear! These were given to me by Rossini.

Sophie: they WERE?!

Giulia: Oh yes, after my performance of Semiramide in Paris. Gioachino has wonderful taste in jewels.

Sophie: --what about the one you are wearing?

Giulia: my good luck necklace from my stage debut as Emma in Rossini's Zelmira in Bologna in 1828. From my sisters.

Sophie: and the earrings?

[she moves to touch them]

Giulia: Ah-Ah-AH! No touching! NO. TOUCHING. NO TOUCH! [she gathers herself: a deep breath before,] They were a gift from an admirer in Milan after the premiere of Norma.

Sophie: and what about your tiara...?

[pause. deadpan.]

Giulia: It's mine. We must dress for the job we want my darling-- haven't you ever heard that phrase...?

[she examines Sophie briefly...]

...perhaps you haven't...


07 April, 2010

Let's Talk Live

Yesterday's Washington DC morning show broadcast Let's Talk Live discussing Terrence McNally's Master Class at The Kennedy Center, Maria Callas herself, and this very blog with Doug Mckelway.

06 April, 2010

He loves and He loves...

Love. Oh Love.

Here is how it went down. (Talk about shotgun wedding...)

T&T: "So...we're getting married tomorrow morning and it would be nnnnnnnnnnnnDelish if you could join us.  We'll meet at the stage door at 10:45am and walk over to the river.  The ceremony will be brief.  No pressure...just know we'd love to have you join us.
xoxox Tom
PS Do you have a number for Tyne? We discussed the ceremony briefly but I don't know how to reach her."


Al: "OH my word I would be so honored to be there. I have to move an interview around but it is HAPPENING. So much love to you both.
“What a day what a day”
A xx"


T&T: "We'll be done by no later than 11:45am.  NO PRESSURE...we fully understand if you can't...but know we'd love to have you there if you can join us.  Tyne, Malcolm, Glover and you.

I spoke with Tyne. She's reading a sonnet.  Wanna sing snippet of a song? Any song? Geeezz...we're really throwing this together here.  Oy!


Al: "I want to sing!!!
I can't believe you are asking me to sing. Give me 10 minutes I'll come up with options and you can pick??
A capella of course just checking--- because if there was a piano... by a river.... Malcolm could totally play it... but I'm realizing it's by the river and I'll stop typing now and look for a capella songs. okay! brb"


T&T: "Yup, it's by the river so a capella. But please know there is NO pressure
(Btw the thought of Malcolm playing while you sing is a total dream.)
Going to bed now...
Love you! Xo


And so we did. We gathered at the stage door and made our way to a glorious tree on the banks of the Potomac. Tyne wore blue. She recited a sonnet and handed out flowers from our set. Glover wore a t-shirt that proclaimed Love Conquers Hate. Malcolm brought sunflowers that reminded him "of Harold and Maud." There was laughter. Tears. Here's to love.

...Musical duties were executed by Callas’ first student “victim,” Alexandra Silber. “She sang ‘He Loves, and He Loves,’” said McNally, “but don’t tell the Gershwin estate.”

04 April, 2010

Capturing the Zeitgeist, Part One: Maestro Bellini

So what happens when Sophie DePalma of Terrance McNally's Master Class meets Bel Canto composer Vincenzo Bellini of Terrance McNally's Golden Age? A world of fun.

Here at The Kennedy Center Nights at the Opera festival, we are exploring three of McNally's plays only all about the world of opera. But the connections between the pieces are not tenuous-- there are even some lines throughout the three plays that are early identical. The connections are beautiful, touching, delightful.

Golden Age explores the night of January 24, 1835, opening night of Vincenzo Bellini's final opera I Puritani (The Puritans). We follow Bellini himself throughout the evening.

The Lisbon Traviata explores the world of opera fanatics, the two we meet: Mendy and Stephen are particularly taken with their passion for Maria Callas.

And of course, Master Class is about Callas herself.

All are about art and authenticity. It is a beautiful triptych and I wish you could all be a part of it.


What is one little actress, passionate about her part of this festival and only in Act 1 supposed to do about it all? Um... capture the zeitgeist of the triptych in photographic form of course!

Sophie DePalma, the disastrous wreck of of Master Class, studying at Julliard and working on Amina's famous Ah non credea mirarti from Bellini's La Sonnombula, comes across composer Vincenzo Bellini himself in the hallway! What a coincidence! She is beyond thrilled and, armed with her admittedly beaten up score, cannot help herself: she must ask for his autograph.

[FYI: Things you need to know about the pieces in order to appreciate the following fully:

- Bellini suggests a haircut with the wigmaster to distract himself from the pain of being backstage.
- Sophie is asked by Calls if she is Italian, she responds she is Greek/Italian. (It accounts for her "fiery-ness"...hm...)
- Sophie famously forgets to bring her pencil in a very big way...
- Callas asks the audience about a good beauty parlor for she can't get a good "wash and set in this city"
- and at the end of the act poor Sophie doesn't even know how to get off the stage...

So. without further ado, here is the dialogue I imagine:

* * *

Sophie: MAESTRO BELLINI! MAESTRSO BELLINI I am a HUGE fan. Ohmygoodness. Um, So. My name is Sophie. Sophie DePalma and I am singing Amina's aria from your Sonnombula right now at school and...and know that my score is a little...um, worse for wear--I sort of dropped it in the tub by accident BUT! That was only because I find your work SO AMAAAAAAZING and was studying in the bath...blaaaah so. Anyway... WOULD YOU SIGN MY SCORE?! I would be SO. HONORED.

Bellini: Um... of course my dear. To whom shall I make it out again?

Sophie: Oh! Sophie. Sophie DePalma.

Bellini: Italian?

Sophie: Greek/Italian. You know I get asked that a lot!

Bellini: Lovley. [he takes up her VERY. SHARP. READYTOGO. PENCIL. and begins to sign]

Sophie: [watching a liiiiittle too close...] ...You can add "darling" if you want.

Bellini: Alright...


[Pause. He stares at her. Puzzled.]

Bellini: Okay.

[he returns to the score]

Sophie: .....and could you sign it Vincenzo? I've always liked your first name.

Bellini: ... [voice pinched now, eyes not still on the page] With pleasure. [finishes signature with flourish] There you are Sophie DePalma, now off you go. I must run I have a haircut with the wigmaster. I can't get a good cut in this city. I wish you luck.

Sophie: Oh, thank you Maestro! Thank you.

[Bellini straightens his coattails and exits]

Now how do I get off the stage?


* * *

Yes. This is what I get up to in Act 2...


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