This weekend Because We Can Can-Can debuts in Gaeta – a small coastal Lazio town which has become my home away from home (and Rome!).
The amateur musical production is set to premiere today at the town’s Ariston Theatre ahead of opening night on Monday 16 March.
I met the organisers, Sopra Le Righe through special friends of mine and they have taken a very special place in my heart.
Gaeta locals, Valeria Martone and Sergio Locascio started the dance project in 2004 working with young and aspiring dancers, singers and production crew to offer entertainment to the residents of Gaeta and surrounds.
They recently staged the successful The Show Must Go On (inspired by the musical We Will Rock You) which played to sold-out audiences in the region.
Because We Can Can-Can The Musical, directed by Valeria and Sergio, features a cast of 15 dancers and 10 singers and actors. Set in Paris of the early 1900s and inspired by the recent commercial productions showcasing the Moulin Rouge, it promotes the bohemian principles of beauty, truth, freedom and love.
But Sopra Le Righe is more than just a dance company.
In fact, upon meeting the group, what really struck a chord with me was their commitment and enthusiasm. Through projects such as musical production and dance, they are providing an opportunity for the youth of Gaeta (a town of approximately 20,000 residents) to partake in meaningful social activity on a regular basis. Initiatives such as these – especially in the bureaucratic mess that is Italy – often go overlooked by government agencies and funding bodies because they lack the resources and capacity to promote themselves on a large scale. But what they are providing is a great service to their community and one which should be applauded and supported.
While to date, they haven’t received any recognition by their local council, what they do have is the support of their community (through sponsors, partners – including for instance, La Trucheria: a new beauty salon who partnered with the group to provide in-kind sponsorship in the form of make-up lessons for the cast).
For me, the Sopra Le Righe story has been inspiring and is community strengthening in the truest of forms. In a period of uncertainty and economic crisis, these – among many others – are the unsung heroes of Italy that I believe will one day encourage a movement to engender a renewed sense of national pride and dignity
The love, positive energy and determination they embody as a group is contagious and I’m certain that it will take them a long way!
(Oh and importantly, they have inspired me to finally pursue my long life dream of singing! I enrolled in singing lessons this week – so here goes I guess!)
Signing off from Trastevere (daydreaming of becoming the next Sopra Le Righe sensation :-))
Opening Night: Monday 16 March, 2015 (further shows to be announced)
Tickets cost €10 and can be purchased through Ariston Theatre by phoning (local): 0771 463067
Production and Cast: All of the participants are from the local area with staging production by Gianfranco Ortenzi and Stefano Di Ciaccio; costume design by Valentina Di Santo and Anna Andreozzi, cast includes Pamela Passalacqua, Ugo Moroni, Sergio Locascio, Pierluigi Cova, Francesco Di Vanni, Ivano Salipante, Francesco Acquaviva, Ambra Cancelliere, Lorena Locascio, Fulvia Martone, Anna Andreozzi, Ilaria Colangelo; supporting dancers include Dafne Agresti, Luana Cardillo, Nathalie Di Milla, Chiara Locascio, Lorena Locascio, Fulvia Martone, Giorgia Scipione, Nicoletta Siniscalco, Roberta Sorabella, Paola Spiriti, Rossella Tabacchini, Christian Catanzano, Gabriele Tabacchini, Roberto Pensiero; musical and production assistants: Rita Forcina e Daniele Fasano, Roberto Moroni, Claudio Leccese e Arianna De Meo.