Jiggady Jig

November 22, 2015

Home again, Home again! … We don’t want to go home again!


Bright and early we all packed ourselves onto our ‘tour bus’ and headed to the airport.  

  Goodbyes were not easy to make. But we had a long journey ahead of us. Those of us who aren’t great at sleeping on planes, knew we would be up for around 26 hours. So when we got to the airport, it was time for a breakfast sandwich and a drink! What a great adventure. Performing in Avellino- doing Death for Five Voices on such a huge stage! And in the castle where Carlo lived? What a crazy thing to do. I know I will always treasure this experience. 


26 hours later. New York City. Pouring rain. Landed.

We were exhausted. Pulling luggage down to exit the plane was a great excuse to stretch your spine after a long sit. But then there is the zombie like cattle run that is; RE-ENTRY.  Customs is always just the longest line–It’s like Trader Joes to the 10th.

Once we got our luggage we had to say goodbye. Hugs that were more like people leaning on each other for support ensued.

Tina, Peter and I almost ended up in a cab to Queens before we realized we were just really tired—and that none of us lived in Queens.

We all said our final goodbyes knowing we were at most a few blocks apart in some cases.

I paid the cab driver as he pulled up to my door- the rain had just stopped as I got out and began to climb the five story walk-up. The last moments of adventure are fingers scurrying about trying to figure out where we put the keys. Exit SL. 


Day 13: Exhale

November 18, 2015

We did it! 2 shows in 2 weeks! Such a great feeling to have the stress off! Time to enjoy Gesualdo! We get to be tourists today–More so! So here are some moments from the day, or that you may not have seen yet!

Raphaele, our host at Zembalo B&B treated us to the best time while we were in Gesualdo. Here, he, me and Wilson have a laugh over the valley below Gesualdo.


This dog became quite the celebrity to us. His name is Bart. He is so excited to see us every time we walk to the castle. We give him the title of “best dog in Gesualdo”.


On our way to lunch today we stopped off to see a few things, and take some pictures. Below is one of the many piazzas in Gesualdo. This one happens to be particularly nice.


We stopped off for a group photo. Not quite the Bradys… But definitely a bunch.


We had our last lunch at San Vincenzo, which was one of the two places that agreed to feed us lunch every day. The food was always delicious and the wine was amazing. 12249793_10100705431331979_6939418886254683068_n

Group photo after lunch! 12274560_10153130810096286_7313193610092716949_n

After lunch it was time to head to the castle to do exit interviews. The sun just happened to be setting, creating some great backdrops for the cast. 12239580_10100705511411499_874107689357025328_n

Cara got a pretty amazing background! Did I mention how incredibly beautiful Gesualdo is?12250052_10153130820936286_3455708090392883821_n12234906_10100705511576169_4503224167981193420_n12278644_10100705431411819_6308730223638447951_n12278720_10153130818891286_3146661588784842005_n12246956_10100705621251379_7221600183279157346_n12239515_10100705511720879_3326689032731386915_n12278807_10100705620907069_2025486039716512819_n

After our interviews it was time for some shopping and dinner. We went to DaPeppino’s for the last time. It was sad to know we would be leaving in the morning. Everyone treated us like family, and we felt so welcomed in this little town. I want to thank everyone who helped us with this adventure. None of us knew exactly what we were getting into, but everyone was excited to take the journey together. 11215117_10153118624356971_3877751193338222139_n

Tomorrow it is back to New York. It will be a long day, so we are tucking in!

See you then!


We open in Avellino! 

November 18, 2015

Hey guys!

Ryan Bauer-Walsh here for Prospect Theater Company!

We arrived in Avellino bright and early- but not as bright and early as Cara and Kat. There was so much work to be done. We were about to tech an entire show in 4 hours.  So once we got to the theatre, it was time to make camp. We found our dressing rooms, and started going through the space shift immediately. IMG_4811


Below is Maurizio, our fantastic Italian interpreter. Its nice to see him taking the directors seat! None of this could have happened without him.12241532_10153115161246971_6661810791296348400_n

Here is our stage– they haven’t put the screen up yet for supertitles. But it will be a pretty large rectangle over the bed when it is complete.

Once we were able to start spacing through the show and adjust to our new entrances and exists- we went pretty quickly through the show creating light cues and lightning speed. Kat West is pretty amazing and getting it done!

When all was said and done at tech, we went to get a nice dinner at a restaurant that had opened just for us. But we were in the middle of the marathon and there was no way a huge meal was going to get us to the end of the race!

We headed back to the theatre to see an ever growing audience assembling to see what this troupe of New York actors had to say about their town history. It seems like they liked it- we were even reviewed in several Italian publications! And just like that– we were bowing. For all the chaos of the day, it felt so strange to suddenly just be done.

Those of us who had their adrenaline surpassed by exhaustion slept on the bus ride home– those of us who didn’t, spent their time telling new jokes and hysterically laughing.

It was a perfect day with lots of challenges. Check back tomorrow to see our last Hurrah in Gesualdo before heading home to NYC.

Till then!


Hey Friends! Ryan Bauer-Walsh here for Prospect Theater Company!

We had the day off for an adventure! A group of us rented cars and drove the beautiful drive to Pompeii to see the ruins of the city beneath Vesuvius. Now, most of us know a good bit about Pompeii and the tragedy that occurred there. What I don’t think any of us understood, was how incredibly MASSIVE Pompeii was and is– or how nearly perfectly preserved this 2000 year old site is today. It is so massive that they haven’t uncovered it all and Archaeologists have been uncovering the town since the 1500’s — more properly since the 1850s.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, a good drive from where we are in Gesualdo. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 feet of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD– preserving the city in amazing condition.  By the time of its destruction, its population was estimated at 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium, and a port.

The eruption of the volcano destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash.

An account of the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens.

Pompeii has been a tourist destination for around 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year. Today we got to be some of those tourists! Check out a few of our photos!

Below is the main piazza where the temple of Jupiter was. The center of politics, religion and social society in the city. 

This was one of the avenues leading to the large Arena and athletic training centers. The trees are epic…

The theater! It could hold 5,000! And it was under a facade reconstruction and the time of the eruption.

Here…. below… we see some folks engaged in some hanky panky. The Lumpinares were the brothels of Pompeii- and the art- and graffiti are nearly perfectly in tact.


There had to be over 100 archaeologists working on site while we were there. There may have been more of them in certain areas than there were of us tourists!

Inside this are the actual remains of some of the victims of the day Pompeii was buried beneath the ash of Vesuvius. Do not continue scrolling if it makes you uncomfortable to see human remains.

Archaeologists discovered these empty air pockets with bones in them and discovered that if they filled them with plaster they could make an exact mold of the person who used to occupy that space. The terror of that day is so very present in their body language. It was very upsetting to look at.

Below is the courtyard of a family home. The artwork is incredible. The entire town is just beautifully painted. To have lived here must have been truly wonderful. Mountain surround the entire city and create a gorgeous view in any direction.


After 4 hours (which truly isn’t enough time) we had to head back. But not before we got some snacks for the car!

Group photo on our way out!12227043_10153121912926286_5850029287249274165_n

Cara in a 2000 year old Theatre.12243274_10153130807881286_765653467618096591_n

Pete and Cara outside the ancient arena that houses the pyramid of casts. 12279027_10153130807081286_1265317903275844741_nTomorrow we head to Avellino to do our last performance on this trip in Italy. It will be a long day, so I’m signing off for now!

See you tomorrow!



November 16, 2015

Hey Guys! Ryan Bauer-Walsh here for Prospect Theater Company! Well, we did it! In about a week we put up a production of Death For Five Voices in the town of Gesualdo, Italy. Performing this material in the setting where a large majority of it occurred, was amazing.

The cast of D45V:

Getting this thing on it’s feet was quite an adventure. There is no backstage– there is a courtyard and a staircase that leads to an abandoned section of the castle– and no green room– but a reinvented kitchen from just before electricity became mainstream. The history of this place is incredible– It has been a strong hold in Gesualdo since 1009.

A group of school kids came to watch us rehearse during day. They are from the local music school. They had great questions and thought Wilson looked like Malfoy from Harry Potter or Justin Timberlake.


Here is a shot of the stage during the show. It was quite a spectacular night!11221702_10153112057681971_4512072510060349298_n

After the show we had a quick breakdown to prepare the show to be transported to Avellino. 12122955_10153113217901971_5505981065284456627_n

Pete and Cara enjoying the moment!12241568_10153113218331971_2127668812359356671_n

To now be a part of that history… is something I can’t quite grasp yet. But I am so thrilled to have had this opportunity. It was a long day– so this is a short blog. But tomorrow…. we have adventure time! Off to Pompeii!

See you then!


Day 9: Dressing them up! 

November 16, 2015

Day 8: Sitzprobe! 

November 13, 2015


Aaaaaaand we are staged! FULLY! Tomorrow we have our sitz/wanderprobe with out amazing pit on our NEW deck in the castle! Check out a few pics from our fight choreography rehearsal with Fight Captain, Peter Saide. 

Here is a little text to give you a feeling for the scene…. It gets intense pretty quickly!

But today was a great day. After having spent a luxurious day in Naples, it was really fantastic to get back to work with a fresh mind on things. Everyone seemed ready to get down to it as we are getting down to it time wise. The piano arrived today as well, which is a big relief– and most of the set pieces are now here. In addition to set pieces— our set designer Anne is here!  She was thrilled to experience the wonderful hospitality we have all been treated to here in Gesualdo. So tomorrow is a big day, and hopefully it will be the day that feels like the glue that creates a show for opening night on Sunday! Talk to you tomorrow!


On the 6th day… We rested .

November 11, 2015

Welcome to Naples!

For our day off we were treated to a day-trip to the famous Italian city of Naples. Located in southern Italy, Naples is a major port city in the centre of the ancient Mediterranean region. Its origins go back to its foundation as Parthenope or Palaepolis in the 9th century B.C., subsequently re-established as Neapolis (New City) in 470 B.C. It is therefore one of the most ancient cities in Europe, whose current urban fabric preserves a selection of outstanding elements of its long and eventful history, as expressed in its street pattern, wealth of historic buildings and parks, the continuation of many of its urban and social traditions, its wonderful setting on the Bay of Naples and the continuity of its historical stratification.
Naples was among the foremost cities of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the integration of Greek culture to Roman society. It eventually became a major cultural centre in the Roman Republic, civitas foederata. Sections of the Greek town walls excavated since World War II and the excavated remains of a Roman theatre, cemeteries and catacombs testify to this history.

In the 6th century A.D., Naples was conquered by the Byzantine Empire, becoming an autonomous Duchy, later associated with the Normans, Swabians, and the Sicilian reign. Evidence of this period includes the churches of San Gennaro extra moenia, San Giorgio Maggiore, and San Giovanni Maggiore which is featured in our show Death for Five Voices– with surviving elements of 4th and 5th century architecture.
With the Angevin dynasty (1265-1442), Naples became the living symbol of the prestige, dignity, and power of the dynasty. The city expanded to include suburbs and neighbouring villages. The Angevin also initiated an influential relationship with Western art and architecture, particularly French Gothic, integrated with the earlier Greek and Arab elements. The convents of Santa Chiara and San Lorenzo Maggiore and the churches of Donna Regina and I’lncoronata, San Lorenzo Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore and the new Cathedral across from San Severo where Carlo Gesualdo made his Napoli home, date from this period.
As we skip ahead to 1734, under the government of the Bourbons, Naples emerged, together with Paris and London, as one of the major capital cities of Europe.

The architectural heritage of Naples from this period was widely influential, and is expressed particularly in the interior design of the royal palaces and associated noble residences that were part of the territorial system extending far beyond the city itself. Important palaces of the 18th century include the large palace Albergo dei Poveri, the National Archaeological Museum -which you will see below, the Certosa of Suor Orsola Benincasa on the hill of San Martino, and the Villa Pignatelli. These remarkable buildings are in constant states of repair and disrepair. There is this magical feeling that the whole city is constantly melting and being glued back together– but you will see the real glue of this city is tradition, art, religion and of course; Food.

Below is the most important cathedral in Naples, the Duomo di Napoli.

Here Jaime poses with his character, Alfonso– who is buried in this very crypt behind them.

Alfonso’s tomb. It is fascinating to be able to visit the people we portray! Though a few are lost to history, the major players are accounted for and certainly preserved for the duration of the city.

Light was so important to the cathedrals of Naples. It was capable of evoking the fantastic celestial experience needed to draw people to the wonder of religion. You walk into these buildings and feel like you understand what heaven can be- art, music, and a sense of peace wash over you as the light pours through the leaded windows allows the landscape of naples to be framed like the art housed in these massive properties.

But Naples isn’t all politics and religion. There is also a very cheerful tradition of craft. Specifically wood working. Below is a master puppeteers shop showcasing some of the finest example of traditional marionettes. You may recognize one of them…

And check out this little guy in the mask above! Pulcinella, often called Punch or Punchinello in English, Polichinelle in French, originated in the commedia dell’arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry.
A plausible theory derives his name from the diminutive of Italian pulcino (chick), on account of his long beaklike nose, as theorized by music historian Francesco Saverio Quadrio, or due to the squeaky nasal voice and “timorous impotence” in its demeanor. You can hear men walking around Naples in these masks making bird like noises.

According to another version, Pulcinella derived from the name of Puccio d’Aniello, a peasant of Acerra, who was portrayed in a famous picture attributed to Annibale Carracci, and indeed characterized by a long nose. It has also been suggested that the figure is a caricature of a sufferer of acromegaly. (eek)
Always dressed in white with a black mask (hence conciliating the opposites of life and death), he stands out thanks to his peculiar voice, whose sharp and vibrant qualities produced with a tool called a swazzle.  Pulcinella often carries around macaroni and a wooden spoon. Much like me during a long tech process.

According to Pierre-Louis Duchartre, his traditional temperament is to be mean, vicious, and crafty and his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what’s going on.

Also, like me during a long tech process…..kidding..kidding…
Many regional variants of Pulcinella were developed as the character diffused across Europe. In Germany, Pulcinella came to be known as Kasper. In the Netherlands he is known as Jan Klaassen. In Denmark he is Mester Jakel. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky composed two different ballets entitled Pulcinella and Petrushka, inspired by him. Stravinsky seems to be quite the fan of Carlo Gesualdo as well– as he visited the Castello Gesualdo to see where one of his major compositional influences lived.  This little masked man may be most familiar to you as PUNCH- from Punch and Judy– Celebrated comic characters from the United Kingdom.

Oh– and those little peppers? Or… red ghosty tails?… Well… those.. umm.. they used to be umm.- ahem… Phallic luck charms. But the Catholic church made them lose the.. uh…spherical bits. So now they are peppers and they bring you great luck! Hurray!

Below is San Severo- the home of Carlo Gesualdo on San Maggiore Square. This palace is also where the murders of Donna Maria D’Avalos and Fabrizio Caraffa were committed. Though it is now apartments- we were able to enter the courtyard and take a few photos of the main entrance.

This is San Maggiore square- where Pietro and Carlo waited by the church for Fabrizzio to enter San Severo and visit the wife of Carlo Gesualdo-ultimately sealing his fate.

The church at San Maggiore. 

Inside this church there is a beautiful painting that has a portrait of Maria D’avalos. She is the gentle lady reading a book on the right.

Spoiler alert: Unfortunately for the lovers– their love was not to last.

Maria D’Avalos and Fabrizio Carafa met at a dance– Carafa, not inclined to marital fidelity, took quickly to the beautiful Maria and soon, after a few “casual” meetings at parties, the relationship between the two began to turn into a bit more…. They then arranged for a secret meeting–It isn’t brilliant by any means, but apparently worked out ok? (kidding?) Maria feigned an illness while walking in on Chiaia street, where she just HAPPENED to find a welcoming friends house… that just HAPPENED to have Fabrizio waiting inside. (Nice work, Maria). Romantic things ensued.. etc.

This was followed by other meetings, and passion and love took over the initial caution of the two lovers. Whoops.

Now their love story was pretty well known to the citizens of Naples—subtle allusions in the noble salons were made and gossip spread the flames of their liaisons straight back to Carlo.
These meetings were increasingly bold and occurred even in the Palace of the Gesualdo Family. Carlo- being deeply in love with his wife, did not want to believe what was being reported.

However he concocted a ruse to see if what was said was true. He pretended to organize a hunting party to Astroni — he told Maria that the hunting party would spend the night at an inn near the forest of Astroni– which was quite far from San Severo.
That afternoon they set off for the hunt, but instead of going in the resort of Astroni, Carlo and Pietro hid in a friend’s house, near Palazzo San Severo.

Meanwhile, with the help of her maid Sylvia– Maria received her lover in his room, Sylvia was to stand guard in the next room.. but whoops– Sylvia fell asleep.

Carlo Gesualdo headed to the palace around midnight. Before entering he met Pietro ‘Bardotti’ Marzialle- who had already been put on notice by the Prince; they arrived armed with a blunderbuss and halberd– and entered the building without being heard— directly going to the room of Maria D’Avalos who was surprised to be found together in bed with Fabrizio Carafa.

The Prince, blinded by jealousy, shot his wife’s lover who was overwhelmed by Pietro’s strikes with a large pike. Then he killed his wife with a dagger and halberd. Well, not just killed.. but horrifically stabbed over and over… and over.
Soon after they began looking for Sylvia to get rid of any witnesses, but she was hidden under the bed of the little son of the Prince, Emanule. Pietro concerned about the child waking to the scene of horror advised they not search too thoroughly— partly because he harbored some sympathy for Sylvia.

The morning after the Vice Regal Prosecutor arrived for an investigation of the scene, where the Prince explained his return as not premeditated, but due to a mishap while hunting, and thus the crime was listed as honor killing. So the V.R.P decided against starting legal proceedings against the Prince.

In the days following — Carlo displayed the naked bodies of the two lovers on the staircase to  the palace, where the public could see the consequences of messing with a Prince.
Carlo Gesualdo, fearful of the revenge of Giulio Carafa, nephew to Fabrizio Carafa, took refuge in his castle at Gesualdo, near Avellino– where we will perform Death for Five Voices! A musical based on this hideously fascinating story. Cool, huh? Oh.. and check this out– Kat West and Jaime Valles eatin some fish! Yep. Flipped that one over, eh?

For lunch–We went to one of the most famous pizzerias in Naples, where we devoured their famous thin crust pizzas.  Om nom.

Then it was off to the Museum of archaeology. I couldn’t resist creating a little art while I was there….

You practically had to drag us away!

Butt…. it was eventually time to go! (ba dum ching)

Naples– you are awesome. We are better for having met you! And our show will benefit for all that we learned, and experienced! Hope to see you again soon!

Check back with us tomorrow to see if we managed to get all the way through the show! Fingers crossed we will be blocked and ready for a full run by Friday! This time is flying by!!! Stick with me as we head into dress rehearsals and to learn more about our time in Italy!

Till soon,


Today our wonderful music director Max Mammon and our stage manager of wonder, Kat West set forth to meet our musicians from the conservatirio statale di musica d cimarosa. They are professors of their instruments and fantastically capable of performing in the baroque style that is demanded by Pete Mill’s luscious score and Carlo Gesualdo’s intrepidness. They sound absolutely stunning.  


 Back at the castle, staging for act II was underway.   

And tomorrow our cast heads to Naples to see where some of the events in our play took place! While we are away, our stage will be constructed over the rough hewn and aged cobblestone courtyard that has been torturing our actor ankles this last few days. Here’s hoping it doesn’t squeak while we sing! On our way out of the castle I stopped off in one of the grand halls in the castle and as I headed out for the evening I was greeted by the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. 
     I don’t know if this color has ever been made by man! It was the most gorgeous way to end a good day of work. 

Back at Zem-Below rehearsal continued a bit and then it was off to Da Peppino for sausage and roasted cauliflower. Butter lettuce and bread— and of course the obligatory and delightful casks of local wine. 

We are all pretty exhausted, and it is getting closer and closer to performance time! So check back tomorrow to see our adventures as tourists in Naples! 

Till soon! -Ryan