Casa Firenzi Story2

Casa Firenzi Story – Episode 2

Script/Scenario for A Story Told By Video

Setting: The Rose Garden at Casa Firenzi
Characters: Manus the Rose Master and Sophia the Tutor

Setup/Argument: Sophia and Manus have fallen in love on the journey to Florence. They are working for the Marchese and Marchesa Firenzi and are stealing private moments in the rose garden at Casa Firenzi. Sophia is tutoring the family’s children. Manus is managing the gardens and building new gardens at Casa Firenzi.

Possible settings for recording video:

Manus is working in the rose garden. Sophia comes in to discuss something urgent. Manus is interested in exchanging a rose for a kiss.

Sophia’s students, the children of the Marchese and Marchesa Firenzi, are practicing three different styles of piva, an Italian dance step famous for having many variations.
She’s instructed the musicians to play 10 minutes straight of Petite Vrien so the children can practice their piva.

Sophia tells Manus that this morning the Marchesa asked her to accompany her at a dinner party tonight.
The other guests will be mothers and wives of a few other merchant families in Florence.
The Medici are not among the guests.

Sophia and Manus are excited but nervous because the last party Sophia attended with the Marchesa was not a simple dinner party.
The Marchesa asked Sophia to be especially attentive to listening to conversations. At home, the Marchesa quizzed Sophia on what she heard.
The Marchesa was pleased and told Sophia she wanted her to begin learning the art of observation.

Manus recounts being at dinners when visiting the University of Leiden when he heard a great many conversations he was not actually in if he just stood quietly.
They agree that survival in Florence often relied on who had information and the Marchesa may be grooming Sophia to assist in the family’s efforts to gather information.

Sophia and Manus discuss upcoming appointments with other tutors which may allow them to gather more information.
One of those tutors is Fabrizio who is working with a group of actors to produce a comedy play. They hope to bring that play to
the Casa Firenzi. If Fabrizio knows the art of observation, his troupe of actors might be a good addition to the artists supported by Casa Firenzi.

Sophia and Manus discuss the dangerous nature of spying and where their protection and risks lie.
They end with a kiss.

Casa Firenzi Story – Episode 1

The Casa Firenzi Story and origin of i Firenzi, the Commedia dell’ Arte Troupe – Episode 1 – A letter to my sister

London, England, March 3, 1590

My dearest sister Lucia,
Today is my final day in London. Tomorrow I begin my journey to meet you in Florence. I cannot believe my good fortune! I hope this letter reaches you before I do!

Please express to your dear friend, the Marchesa Firenzi, my eternal gratitude for bringing me into her household. You have spoken so well of her and the family Firenzi for so long that I feel blessed to be included by her. After our parents went to God, I never dreamed we would be part of a large family again.

And how large! The Marchesa’s ten children simply must be overwhelming to keep up with. No wonder you need help with tutoring them. I promise I will provide them focused lessons in dance and music. I will naturally focus on the popular Caroso style, but I hope the Marchesa doesn’t mind some English style dance from the Inns of Court to ensure her children are well rounded. Don’t worry, I won’t mention that man, Arbeau. And your secret fencing lessons for the girls are our precious secret. Maybe you could teach me some fencing when I arrive?

To be part of one of the most powerful families in Florence is a little intimidating. Everyone knows the Medici, Sforzas, Gonzagas, Firenzi, and other powerful Italian families are always at each other’s throats. I pray we don’t get pulled into any political adventures. It’s far too easy to find oneself dead or missing in a country full of assassins. Of course Elizabeth’s England is not much better. At least in Florence I will live with the protection of a powerful household.

Speaking of protection, please send thanks to the Marquess Firenzi for sending the kind gentleman to escort me all the way to Florence. I never thought such an act of chivalry would focus on me, but I am grateful for the company. Traveling on my own terrified me.

My escort is an enchanting and well educated man. He was apparently meeting academic colleagues at the University of Leiden when he got orders from the Marchese to travel through London on his way home. He has collected me and we will travel together home to Casa Firenzi in Florence. I’m certain the conversation will continue to be interesting. He is a brilliant naturalist with a deep facination with roses. He worked with the Master Clusius on building that famous garden in Vienna a few years ago for the Holy Roman Emperor, Maxamillian II. But I’m sure you know that already since he’s been part of the Firenzi household for 5 years by now, and he’s a talkative fellow. He’s extremely proud of the garden he’s built for the Marchesa. I just hope the travel conversation may cover more topics than the many varieties of roses he’s grown. Roses all look the same to me, but the differences between rose varieties is extremely important to him. I wonder if he knows anything about tulips? At least he’s handsome, so if the conversation gets boring, the scenery is pleasant.

Once I get to Florence, the first thing I want to do is see the Italian comic actors! It’s been very hard for me to see them when they occasionally come to a London house. I never seem to be invited to the right dinners. I’ve heard wonderful stories of their high energy comedy. And they include women in their troupes! I would just die of joy if I were ever allowed to perform with a troupe of men and women who get paid to enchant their patrons with humor! I have heard that these troupes of actors actually earn a living. Just like The Queen Elizabeth’s Men, but with women and high energy comedy!

You know I love that incredible new writer, William Shakespeare, but there is no possibility I would be allowed to perform his works being a woman in Elizabeth’s England. At least not anywhere respectable.

Dear sister, my new life in Florence will have everything I’ve ever wanted! I will live under the same roof with you again. I will see comedy in the streets. I will teach young people the beauty of music and dance. I will be part of a large family with reliable protection. And I might even catch the eye of the handsome rose master. Don’t tell him I said that.

With deep love and great excitement,
Your eternally loving sister,
Sophia

 

International Commedia dell’ Arte Day 2022 – Three shows!

This past month was a whirlwind of amazing Commedia rehearsals and prep leading up to February 25 – International Commedia dell’ Arte Day!

The Italian Cultural Association (“SAT” in Italian), is officially recognized by UNESCO as an NGO active in the field of Intangible Heritage. Every year, they host an online catalog of Commedia activities throughout the world on their website here.  SAT’s annual celebration is known as International Commedia dell’ Arte Day!

Since 2014, i Firenzi has annually performed a show as an approved part of this international catalog. In 2021, we hosted two online discussion panels due to COVID restrictions (First Panel, Second Panel)

THIS YEAR, i Firenzi performed a live in-person performance of “The Dog Servant”, a scenario written in the 16th century Italian commedia style by my good friend Michael McAfee.

i Firenzi "The Dog Servant"
But wait, there’s more! I also produced another show and played in another…

My Commedia All Stars Online troupe performed a livestream with Kal’s Korner of a scenario I wrote and directed titled “The People of Ravenna in Quarantine – Episode 2”


AND
I played the role of Franceschina in the i Sebastiani production online of “The Faithful Friend” an adaptation of a Scala scenario, written and directed by my dear friend Catherine Crow!

The recording of the i Firenzi performance of “The Dog Servant” can be seen on our You Tube Channel here when we’re done processing it. You can currently see our first performance of the scenario from November 2021.

The recording of the Commedia All Stars livestream can be seen on Kalbardr’s Korner’s You Tube Channel here  The host, Richard “Kal” Harris, was an amazing livestream host for us!

The recording of the i Sebastiani production of “The Faithful Friend” is here.

You may notice that the three shows have very different styles.

  • The i Sebastiani production was an attempt to keep very closely to a style of Commedia as was done in the 16th century. They work hard at not using modern slang, using period authentic costumes, and keeping to the original scenario by Scala but adapted to a modern audience.
  • The i Firenzi production trades off some of the historic accuracy for more laughs. We also have more new actors since i Firenzi includes a mission of teaching Commedia.
  • The Commedia All Stars Online doesn’t completely throw historic accuracy out the window, we keep the tropes and characters, but we include “magic” that allows us to put the story in a modern context of people using Zoom and internet resources – for laughs.

Each performance has different styles, and they’re all Commedia with plenty of laughs!

In a completely separate event, some of my beloved teachers were part of a group interview that happened on the same day Commedia All Stars did our livestream:

World Commedia Day 2022 interviews from Bill and Barry’s Mini Commedia Fest online
https://youtu.be/x6GBojV6zYo
You’ll see here:
1) My online commedia coach, Fabrizio Paladin
2) Barry Grantham who taught me Commedia at the UK Chalamie Easter School for Historic Performing Arts in 2019
3) Bill Tuck who came with his wife Barbara Segal to teach dance and music at the Known World Dance and Music Symposium in 2017 hosted by the Kingdom of Atlantia
4) and i Sebastiani!

For more information about Commedia, a starter kit for learning on your own, and more videos, see my troupe website:  https://ifirenzi.com

Whose Cause Is It Anyway?

This group of friends gathered to support causes we believe in by producing livestreamed comedy improv shows! We produce shows at least once a month streamed to You Tube with links in the comments to a particular cause we support including ActBlue.com links to politicians we support, personal PayPal links to personal fundraising causes, and charity organizations we believe in. We perform under the name “Whose Cause Is It Anyway” and also “Whose Election Is It Anyway” and “Whose Virus Is It Anyway?”

Whose Cause Is It Anyway GIF for May show

Causes we have supported include:

  1. Act Blue Fundraising for many candidates and issues we believe in: https://secure.actblue.com/
  2. The Trevor Project in support of LGBTQ+ Youth https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  3. Personal fundraising for a friend fighting cancer: PayPal via Mr.Wednesday1066 AT gmail DOT com
  4. Stacey Abrams Fair Fight Initiative https://secure.actblue.com/donate/comedyfairfight
  5. Fredericksburg, VA Regional Food Bank https://fredfood.org

Our playlist of recorded shows is on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9aorWZlo-mYrH0Wu3rFZFjZgVKW3NLen

Troupe Members ebb and flow but informally include:

  • Amanda Catherine Mulder
  • Andrew Harasty
  • Bill “Dai” Sutton
  • Crystal Welch
  • Emilly Miller
  • Erica Harrah
  • Laura J. Parker
  • Mary Pruitt
  • Ben Coffee
  • Michael Greenstein
  • Romni Rossi
  • Thomas TJ Carani
  • And I, Lara Coutinho-Dean, produce, livestream, direct the troupe.

If you would like to ask for us to support a cause you believe in, please leave a comment here with an email address where we can reach you. Please also include the URL for people to use for sending in money and the reasons why you believe in this cause.

 

Atlantia Twelfth Night Event 2021

Atlantia Twelfth Night Event, January 9, 2021 in 4 parts:

  1. The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker
  2. The new Award of the Narwal
  3. Shakespeare at the Spanish Twelfth Night
  4. Atlantia’s Royal Bard competition

The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri and Lady Sonya

1) The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker

I had the true joy of helping two dear friends, Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker, to create and livestream a beautiful ceremony marking their choice to begin a formal relationship as Laurel and Apprentice. They both spent a great deal of time discussing how to begin and structure their relationship as well as how to express it to our larger SCA community.

I helped them translate their vision into an online public ceremony including social time in private on Zoom afterwards with their chosen family. Here is the recording of their ceremony which I believe is an excellent example to share with others. They have granted permission for this video to be published publicly for all to see.  https://youtu.be/Jv3DLok2Y5k

 

If any folks out there would like assistance in creating and livestreaming their ceremony, of any kind, please let me know if you would like my help. I am enjoying this opportunity to use my theater and technical skills to help our community stay connected through these joyous ceremonies.

Much like our beloved Baron Bardolf, Baroness Machteld and others who serve with photography in the SCA, I charge no fee but would ask for the permission to edit and publish publicly the final recording I help create.

 

2) The new Award of the Narwal

A new award in the Kingdom of Atlantia for special, innovative service during the time of COVID.

Their most noble Majesties of Atlantia created a new award yesterday with an Augmentation of Arms called The Narwal (a swordfish type whale). This award is for recognizing the special service many SCAdians have devoted during the time of COVID to keep their SCA communities running.

I sincerely appreciate this action from our Crowns because the life changing of 2020 required creative problem solving to keep the SCA alive. The people included in this first round of recognition included 50 Atlantians, of which I am one. <3

 

My deepest gratitude is sent to Their Majesties for including me in this very special group of people. I am thrilled and humbled to be included in this group of innovators. I have seen the work of most of these folks as innovative, creative, groundbreaking, and dedicated to keeping our community alive. I am grateful Their Majesties noted that much of this work was very different from what these folks would be doing at in-person events. A special, separate recognition is a heartwarming way to say thank you.

 

No one knew we needed the things this group created when COVID hit in March 2020.  Their contributions to the new playbook of “How to SCA Online” is nothing short of magic.  It’s very different work to create new stuff when there is no manual, no Peer in “COVID LIFE” to ask for advice, and we’re all improvising during a global crisis. 

 

That walk in the dark is a challenge these folks all stepped up to.

I am thrilled to be included in this group of out-of-the-box thinkers and creators.

Link to Court’s recording (Narwhal portion starts at minute 9) https://youtu.be/YLScYP7-l9w

 

Atlantia's Twelfth Night Shakespeare Players

A troupe of Shakespeare players travels from London every year to wherever the Atlantian Royalty celebrates the holidays. Many great performances are done, money is made, and shenanigans abound!

3) Shakespeare at the Spanish Twelfth Night

Shakespeare appeared again at this year’s Atlantia Twelfth Night event! This year the theme was Spanish as the location of our virtual event was the Castell de Cordona. Our daring troupe of Shakepearian actors from London again braved the risks of international travel to bring the works of Shakespeare to new locations!

 

Unfortunately, one of our members gave away all our travel money in a fit of Christmas spirit, and now we have to busk in the street or find a new gig to make money to travel home to London!    (We usually pass the hat for our favorite organization, The Trevor Project which supports LGBTQ Youth, but this year we’re just asking folks to donate on their own at this link:  https://give.thetrevorproject.org/campaign/fundraise-for-trevor/c24399 )

 

Thankfully, our business contacts, Capitano Spavento and his wife Katarina, know many rich and noble patrons of the arts and will certainly help us find a well paying gig. Here is the link to the raw footage https://youtu.be/nnWb3sQ7saI  I will tweak it to include written credits later…

My deepest gratitude to the troupe of talented players from many Kingdoms for their inspiring performances:

  • Lady Meriorie Matheson
  • milord Joshua
  • Mistress Rhonwen glyn Conwy
  • Meister Frydherik Eysenkopf, called Fritz
  • Tiarna Donnchadh mac Eoin
  • Lady Catarina Caravello
  • THL Cael O’Conaill the Leafy Greene
  • Lady Edekyn O Fierhie
  • Lady Celia le Fleur
  • Lord Owyn De Wolfe
  • Baroness Sophia the Orange
  • Baron Manus MacDhai

Viewers may also notice the mentions made of many supportive patrons of the arts found in Atlantia:

  • Their Majesties Anton and Luned and their puppies
  • Their Graces Lynette and Ragnar
  • Mestra Esperanza Susanna Flecha
  • Duchess Seonaid
  • Maistreas Cellach
  • Mistress Ceridwen ferch Owain

We are very sorry that Capitano Spavento could not make connection with you on that very busy day, so we will keep in touch for later! 😉

4) Atlantia’s Royal Bard competition

For the second time ever, I entered the Atlantia Royal Bard competition. I usually don’t enter because so many other amazing performers compete for the job, but this year I felt my additional virtual skills could be useful if I were chosen.

Singing is not my strong suit, although I can carry a tune in a bucket and not embarrass myself if singing is needed. I am beginning to work on Storytelling as an artform. Although my favorite performing styles of improvisation and Commedia dell’Arte just don’t fit in traditional SCA bardic circles, this competition using video submissions inspired me to try. They asked for 1) A piece that inspires 2) A piece new-to-you 3) A period piece.

  1. For me, inspiration flows from my sister, so with her permission I sang one of the few songs I can carry in that bucket we just talked about: “Only.”
  2. My period piece was a speech from Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1 “Once More Unto The Breach” where Henry is inspiring his troops to take the city of Harfleur.
  3. My new-to-you piece was a story I’ve known about for many years but never thought to put it into a “Storytelling” format: “The Legend of Inanna” This story is very special to me for a thousand reasons: Sisterhood, my work in women’s support groups, the power of empathy to heal, and many more. I expect to keep developing this piece.

I would genuinely appreciate feedback if given gently, privately, and with a focus on helping me improve my performance. 

Out of the 6 competitors, I was not chosen as one of the 4 finalists nor 2 of the Royal Bards for the year.

That is absolutely no problem for me because there is no shame in coming in behind the other great performers who competed. Truly beautiful pieces were created by the other 5 competitors, and I am thrilled our Kingdom has two magnificent new Royal Bards!

 

The 6 competitors were:

  1. Me
  2. Lord Ciaran mac Breandain – an excellent vocalist/guitarist who runs global bardic circles,  teaches music theory, notation, songwriting and recently produced his first CD!
  3. Lord Ishmael Stedfast Reed – an amazing poet and storyteller whose performances were captivating to me.
  4. Lady Kame Gusukuma – a lovely performer who brought to us impressive performances from her newly discovered interests in Japanese music.
  5. and our new Rose Bard in service to the Atlantia Queen: Lady Nezhka Orshinaia who is already well known for her beautiful voice and excellent online bardic production
  6. and our new Crown Bard in service to the Atlantia King: Lord Hákon hábrok who brings together his love of music, poetry, and warfighting like the best of Renaissance Men!

I had a lot of fun producing my submission which you can see here: https://youtu.be/1XarOhEj6M0  

Mountains of thanks to Efenwealt, Pippin, and my amazing husband Manus for their help providing accompaniment music and video recording assistance.  Making this video was a fun project to do with you! <3

 

The Atlantia Twelfth Night event was a wonderful time of connection for me – so much so that I missed out on the lovely virtual ball where my friend Lady Nicolosa organized a TON of great dancers and music to let people connect through dancing in their homes!  And I missed all the bardic.  I just passed out on the sofa.  I am grateful to Duchess Seonaid and her staff for a truly lovely virtual event!

 

 

Laugh and Donate for Georgia Senate Races!

Whose Election Is It Anyway – Georgia Edition!

We are again producing improv comedy shows to help support the Democrats running for Senate seats – this time in Georgia!

The two US Senate seats for Georgia will be determined in special elections on January 5. The Democrat candidates we are supporting for those seats are Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock:

Jon Ossoff: https://ballotpedia.org/Jon_Ossoff 

Raphael Warnock: https://ballotpedia.org/Raphael_Warnock

These two US Senate seats for Georgia will determine the power structure of the US Senate for the next two years. If you wish to support the side of the Democrats, you can donate at the fundraising link below:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/georgiacomedy

Please read up on this special election and think carefully about how you vote if you’re a resident of Georgia:  https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_runoff_elections_in_Georgia_(January_5,_2021)

LAST SHOW!   https://youtu.be/_UKHu69p5Ss   8:00pm DEC 26! TONIGHT!

Join us for improv comedy and fundraising for Georgia’s Senate Races on the side of #OssoffAndWarnock!
This will be our sixth and final show in this series supporting Georgia Democrats running for Senate. If they win these two senate seats, the democrats will run the US Senate and Mitch McConnell will be done with his turn at the helm. If you’ve ever had any complaint about Mitch McConnell, you are in good company with us! Join us for laughs and fundraising!
Mountains of thanks to our amazing cast of comic improvisors!!
Andrew Harasty
Bill Dai Sutton
Emily Miller
Erica Harrah
Laura J. Parker
Liam Pippin Vaughan
Mary Collette
Mathias Blackett
Michael Greenstein
Thomas TJ Carani
And eternal inspiration from Romni Rossi!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

 

Commedia Movement Class Resources

Fabrizio Paladin

Capitano video: https://youtu.be/Iasc3nvVtU4 

More Fabrizio videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/fabriziopaladin/videos

Theater Classes Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Fab.Paladin/

 

Barry Grantham

Barry at Chalemie School: http://www.chalemie.co.uk/Grantham.htm

Review of Barry Grantham’s book “Playing Commedia” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/254685.Playing_Commedia

 

 

 

Laugh and Donate

I am just one person, and this is one thing I can do to fight against the bad things I see happening!

I am organizing comedy shows online to support fundraising efforts for three key US Senate races in 2020:

Amy McGrath to beat Mitch McConnell for KY Senate
Jaime Harrison to beat Lindsey Graham for SC Senate
Cal Cunningham to beat Thom Tillis for NC Senate

Here is ONE LINK to supporting our efforts for these three on ActBlue.com – a reliable grassroots fundraising organization supporting the democratic party nationwide:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/comedy4dems

(one link to rule them all and in the darkness bind them….)

Search on Facebook for my public feed under “Lara Coutinho” to see our comedy improv shows all through October! We will be running 2-3 comedy shows streaming live on Facebook each week through October! Share the link to this blog post, or the Facebook invites, or the ActBlue fundraising links!

 

SHARE EVERYTHING! FIGHT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE! NEVER GIVE UP!

Videos of Classes taught at eRUM – Royal University of the Midrealm

Thanks again to Andres and Oswyn and the rest of the staff of the Midrealm’s education branch for moving such great content online!

Here are the links to the classes I’ve taught for the online version of Royal University of the Midrealm (eRUM):

  • How to use Google Resources To Mimic A Website For Your SCA Hobby, 15 JUNE 20, https://youtu.be/DhIEDywRu88 
  • Commedia dell’ Arte for the Audience, 11 MAY 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/esEYXy-RjxI
  • Conflict Resolution for People (Not Heraldry), 11 MAY 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/gQ_K9cxc1tQ
  • Making Commedia dell’ Arte Happen in the SCA, 1 JUN 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/0W6a6ezR7Ag
  • Taking the Teeth out of Stagefright, 8 JUN 20, Sophie and Lucia, https://youtu.be/bqeLd7MucN4
    • Second session of this class taught on OCT 11 – link to video TBA
  • My sister’s class “How To Create A Class From What You Already Know” was a class I was deeply involved in co-creating with her, she taught at Atlantia University on September 12 and at Royal University of the Midrealm on September 21. Here’s the link to the Midrealm class recording: https://youtu.be/acG2GQtWbKo 

More will come!

–Sophie

 

PS: I just have to add these links for other AMAZING classes taught and recorded at eRUM: