The title, Bloody, Filthy Shakespeare! (BFS) suggests lots of lust, gore and more -- and the performance delivers: Blood. Sex. Murder. Lust. Revenge. But for Susan and Ron Scot Fry, producing an original "Shakespeare" show in Florence, Italy was more along the lines of joyful, fascinating and delightful.
After seeing Ron's outreach work last summer in Tuscany, FESTA (Florence English Speaking Theatre Artists) commissioned Optimist Theatre to coproduce an original play. The production focused on the universal concepts of murder and death...Shakespeare's plays having no shortage of wrack and ruin!
Ron shared the stage with the talented Elia Nichols. Originally from Louisiana, Elia is an ex-pat living in Florence and one of FESTA's cofounders. Elia played The Boy, who enthusiastically aided in Shakespeare's exploration of art vs. popular entertainment. Although the violent bits were broadly drawn, the dialogue was in earnest. The Boy was also obviously a woman -- obvious, that is, to everyone but Will, until the end of the play. Let your imagination run wild on those breadcrumbs.
BFS was performed on March 28 & 29, 2014 at Teatro Goldoni in Florence. According to Ron, here's the recipe: a grand total of 48 hours face-to-face rehearsal time--GO! Start with 1 show featuring 2 actors playing 36 characters in 18 scenes from 20 plays with 3 fights involving 10 weapons and 9 blood packs. Sneak in 1 puppet with removable bloody tongue and hands and 1 severed hand. Interweave 34 costume pieces, 10 props and 3 poems. Corral 6 audience members on-stage, perform 2 magic tricks. Set up all of the above in a picturesque Florentine venue and the result: 3 encores from a lovely and generous audience and a happy, exhausted Susan and Ron.
The Frys are the first to admit how bloody filthy lucky they are -- to have the opportunity to do what they love together, in Florence, the hotbed of Renaissance creativity. It was magnifico!
There are plans afoot for BFS to return to Italy in August. Will we see BFS in MKE? "Stay tuned," Susan teased. And so we will....